Where can you still buy a family home for under $500k?

Have you been priced out of Australia’s fierce capital city markets? You’re not alone. If you’re one of those people who a) would love to own a house of your own someday, b) would like to get more for your money, or c) don’t have a million dollars to drop on a 2 bedroom inner-city investment, then you may find looking at markets outside of Sydney and Melbourne appealing.

There’s a mass of amazing real estate opportunities across Australia waiting for you to get your hands on. Look just outside the periphery of our most fierce capital city markets and it’s amazing what you can get for your hard earned coin. While Sydney and Melbourne do account for about 60% of Australia’s traded property market, it’s nice to remember that they aren’t all of it.

In fact, in most cities, there’s opportunity to drop $500,000, admittedly this amount might get you a studio on the outskirts, but in others if you look 50 to 100 kms out of a major centre, you may find yourself living it up in your very own mansion.

And that’s what we’re shining a light on: just where oh where can you purchase a family-sized home with a budget of $500,000?

At the very least, you might have some extra pocket money to enjoy your favourite glass of wine.

Look at these beachside beauties

$447,500: 34 Grantley Avenue, Victor Harbor SA 5211

Being sold by Joanne and Paul Dean of Raine and Horne Victor Harbor, SA.

victor harbor home

4 Bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 5 parking.

Just over an hour’s drive from Adelaide is this architecturally designed home in Victor Harbor. It boasts seaside views and is a short stroll to the beach. Not bad for $447,500.

$435,000: 22 Donostia Crescent, Bushland Beach QLD 4818

Being sold by Cameron Cole of RE/MAX Excellence.

bushland beach house outside qld

bushland beach house qld

4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 parking.

For $435,000 you can purchase a classic family home on a 757sqm block in coastal Queensland.

$385,000 - $399,000: 14 Oceanview Drive, Second Valley SA 5204

Being sold by Jeremy Parsons of Ray White Normanville

south australia beach house

south australia house

For between $385,000 and $399,000 you can get your own family-sized beach bungalow in Second Valley, South Australia. Roughly 1 hour’s drive from Adelaide, it’s still within commutable distance if you need to work in the city. The home could also suit retirees or families looking for a holiday home to escape to on the weekends.

Regional South Australia is affordable for now, with values remaining steady. When you take into account the entire state, prices are rising slightly. According to CoreLogic’s Head of Research, Tim Lawless, tighter labour markets will affect real estate markets in Western Australia and South Australia, with a trend towards full-time jobs, rather than part-time. With a firmer labour market we’ll see a rise in consumer confidence and mortgage serviceability.

For seasoned investors looking for a good buy in the state, according to Your Investment Property Mag, Cumberland Park in Adelaide is a growing suburb to watch. The growth rate isn’t massive, but it’s stable, where house prices have recorded 3% growth in the past year. If you’re on the hunt for a unit, you can get high returns with a rental yield of about 5% for these kinds of properties as of January 2018.

The ACT and surrounds

$489,000: 4A Cane Place, Jerrabomberra NSW 2619

Being sold by Greg Hedger of Luton Properties in Manuka.

canberra house

canberra house for sale

3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 1 car space.

For $489,000 you can purchase a renovated family home with a generous sized backyard, with Canberra being just a 25 minute drive up the road.

$500,000: 9 Tari Close, Ngunnawal ACT 2913

house and yard canberra

australian front yard

bedroom canberra home

Being sold by Hugo Mendez of LJ Hooker Gunghalin

3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 parking

For around the $500,000 mark you can purchase a renovated 3 bedroom home with a huge backyard and entertaining area. These homes aren’t a rarity either, because there are plenty of homes on the market in Canberra and its surrounds sitting at the $500,000 mark or under.


Other locations of interest include City, Manuka, Braddon, New Acton, Jerrabomberra, Belconnen, Gungahlin, Ngunnawal, and Wanniassa. For properties closer to Canberra’s city, you can expect them to hold and increase in value. Rental demands in these areas remain strong due to industry, proximity to culture and educational institutions.

In these areas, $500,000 won’t be able to crack the detached housing market, but investors would do well to purchase an apartment or unit.

Is the ACT a smart area to buy in?

According to CoreLogic, Canberra dwelling values edged 0.2% higher in December 2017 to be up 1.0% over the final quarter of the year and 4.9% higher throughout 2017. If you are in the market for a house, even better, with houses rising at more than double the rate of unit values. House values are up 5.8% over the year while unit values are only just beating inflating at 2.1%.

Escape to the country

$500,000: 77 Riverview Street, Murwillumbah NSW 2484

Being sold by Glen Spargo of Armstrong Real Estate

murwillumbah real estate

3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 parking

For around $500,000 you can purchase a stylish and elegant 3 bedroom home in Murwillumbah in far north-eastern NSW. At just 13 kms south of the Queensland border and about an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast, so a viable option for those who wouldn’t mind a commute.

$480,000: 17B Phillipps Street, Eden NSW 2551

Being sold by Glenn Brunette of Eden Realty

6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 6 parking

For $480,000 you can buy a 6 bedroom property with ocean views in Eden on the far south coast of NSW.

Eden is a hotspot for retirees and tourists, specifically during winter and towards the latter part of the year where the region becomes popular for whale watching. In fact, tourism currently contributes about $180 million to the local economy on an annual basis.

$450,000 - $500,000: 1 Hedley Court, Mount Luisa QLD 4814

Being sold by Shannon Miles from Harcourts Kingsberry Townsville

5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 parking

For $450,000 - $500,000 you can get this amazing three level, 5 bedroom home in Townsville with clear views of Magnetic Island and Castle Hill.

For owner-occupiers who need to be in close proximity to major capital cities, Townsville may not be on your agenda. However, for remote workers, those who are employed by local rural industry and investors, Townsville may be worth a second look.

According to the Townsville Bulletin, major planned infrastructure projects are planned in the region for the next year, which will fuel the local economy and increase jobs. An REIQ Market Monitor report from September 2017 also showed that Townsville’s rental vacancy rates had fallen from 7.1 percent to 4.3 percent, showing stronger rental demand.

So what's the catch?

While real estate enthusiasts with a $500,000 budget might not think half a million dollars will get them far, the reality is that for that amount of money, or even less, you can buy a beautiful family home, with 3 bedrooms or more, and maybe even a pool.

There’s a catch, of course. These areas might be 50 to 100 kilometres from a CBD, which means a big commute for those drawn to cities for work. Some homes may also be in regional areas which may seem a little ‘sleepy’ in comparison to a bustling capital city. 

But with the rise of remote working, or simply for those looking for a seachange or treechange, there are plenty of opportunities across Australia.

So when it comes to buying a property on a 500k budget, it pays to not make the mistake of limiting yourself to the fiercely competitive markets on everyone’s lips.

The key is to focus on quality and do your research. Whether your purchase is for an investment or for a seachange, you need to ensure that the property bring good ROI or is a good fit for your future lifestyle.

You can find out more about real estate investing on OpenAgent’s new real estate investor hub.

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