Property investors will never let the facts get in the way of an entrenched attitude.
Clinging to cherished beliefs, most of them based on myth and misinformation, is the hallmark of the typical Aussie wannabe investor - and the reason why most of them get ordinary results from buying at the wrong time in the wrong place.
Against that background, I find that the hardest sell in Australian real estate is trying to convince people that Adelaide is not only worth considering, but is one of the very best locations to target for a combination of affordability, value for money, good yields and potential for capital growth. And that regional South Australia has been one of the nation’s best performers in recent times.
I will, nevertheless, persist.
The standout consistency of Adelaide real estate is demonstrated by our latest (Winter 2020) survey of sales activity and prices. The city’s resistance to the forces of Covid-19 is shown by the number of suburbs with sales growth and the number with annual uplift in their median prices.
The Winter 2020 survey has identified 51 Adelaide suburbs with rising sales activity. This compares with just 32 in the much larger city of Melbourne.
In terms of price performance, almost two-thirds of Adelaide suburbs have recorded annual growth in their median house prices, almost identical to the result three months ago in our Autumn 2020 survey. Once again, Adelaide is delivering on its reputation for steadiness.
Here’s what I said about Adelaide in the Price Predictor Index published nine months ago: “Adelaide is the standout market in capital city Australia. Its consistency of sales performance is remarkable and two-thirds of its suburbs have had price growth in the past year, led by double-digit rises in top-end markets.
“Adelaide is undoubtedly Australia’s most under-rated market. It keeps delivering good sales activity and above-average results on house prices.
“In the five years Hotspotting has been conducting quarterly surveys of sales activity and price trends, Adelaide has never delivered a poor result. Most cities have had peaks and troughs in that time, but Adelaide just keeps on producing steady markets with consistent demand.”
Nothing has changed, despite the negative forces of Covid-19. Adelaide and South Australia have handled the pandemic better, in health terms, than any other state and its economy has showed resilience. This has been reflected in its real estate markets.
One of the strengths of the Adelaide market is that the prosperity is widely spread across the metropolitan area. There are 10 Local Government Areas with three or more suburbs with upwardly-mobile markets.
While sources such as CoreLogic and SQM Research often report annual growth of only 1-2% in Adelaide house prices, these generalised figures disguise individual areas which have done better. Our suburb-by-suburb analysis shows that over 60% of Adelaide suburbs have median house prices higher than a year ago.
Regional South Australia is the most surprising market in the nation. There is uplift in sales activity in most locations across the state and the vast majority of regional towns have recorded price growth in the past 12 months, with most up by more than 5%.
This market has been a consistently strong performer in recent years but is unlikely to ever receive any media recognition for it.
In the Spring 2019 edition of The Price Predictor Index nine months ago, we commented: “It would surprise many property observers to learn that three-quarters of the towns in Regional South Australia have recorded price growth in the past 12 months, including some which have achieved double-digit increases.”
In the Autumn 2020 edition three months ago we said: “Regional SA continues to perform, with significant increases in median house prices in many locations. And we now have steady upward trends in sales activity in areas that have not previously featured …”
And, notwithstanding the impacts of the pandemic period, Regional SA continues to deliver strong results. Of the 33 locations ranked in our survey, 17 are rated as rising markets, six are ranked as consistency markets and the other 10 are plateau markets.
Whyalla is continuing its recovery; Mount Gambier continues to be a growth market; and the Victor Harbor area has enhanced its status as a solid performer.
There has been a big revival in prices in Whyalla, which was previously mired in a significant downturn. In the past 12 months, growth in median prices has included 29% in Whyalla, 31% in both Whyalla Stuart and Whyalla Jenkins, 20% in Whyalla Playford and 12% in Whyalla Norrie.
To put this into perspective, these locations are rising from a very low base. Whyalla Stuart’s median house price has increased 31% in 12 months but remains at just $130,000. Whyalla Norrie’s median house price is just $145,000, despite an annual rise of 12%.
Nevertheless, prices are heading in the right direction, on the back of improved sales activity.
Other locations to record good median price growth over the past 12 months include Tanunda (12%), Naracoorte (10%), Kapunda (11%), Millicent (10%) and Mannum (10%). In the busy markets of the Alexandrina LGA, Middleton is up 10% and Hindmarsh Island has risen 16%.
Alexandrina, south-east of Adelaide, continues to be the individual star in terms of sales activity. Most of the main centres in this municipality – Goolwa, Goolwa South, Hindmarsh Island, Middleton and Strathalbyn – have been classified as rising markets in our latest survey.
The Victor Harbor area is the other standout. This LGA often features in our reports as the steadiest of performers. In this new survey, Hayborough, McCracken, Victor Harbor and Port Elliot are all classified as rising markets. Prices are rising moderately in this market, generally around 3-5% in the past year.
Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au