Top 10 most competitive suburbs to buy property revealed

New research has revealed the most in-demand suburbs across the country where as many as 500 potential buyers battle for each property, with the lists dominated by Melbourne and Adelaide locations.

Panoramic view from Bulli Lookout to township and ocean.
The view from the Bulli lookout is far more serene than that of the queues of people trying to buy a unit in the regional town south of Sydney.. (Image source:

The top ten suburbs in Australia where competition for property is at its most fierce share at least one thing in common.

Whether its hundreds of people competing for a single house or unit, they are typically suburbs that are scenic and offer real lifestyle advantages.

PropTrack on Thursday (30 March) revealed the most in-demand suburbs across the country, where homes have as many as 500 potential buyers battling for each property.  

Adelaide and Melbourne suburbs dominate the separate unit and house top 10 lists, with nine of the 20 slots taken by locations in the South Australian capital and seven positions claimed by Melbourne, particularly its greenbelt north east and outer east.

Taking the top spot, with 536 potential buyers per house listing, was Upper Sturt in Adelaide’s Central and Hills region.

For units, the most competitive place in the nation to buy a property was coastal town Bulli, an hour’s drive south of Sydney, where buyers would be among 214 competing for a sale.

In comparison, the average number of potential buyers per listing across Australia is 66 for houses and 48 for units.

Where properties are most in demand

Suburb Region Potential buyers per listing
Upper Sturt Adelaide - Central and Hills 536
Kangaroo Ground Melbourne - North East 484
Medindie Adelaide - Central and Hills 477
Gruyere Melbourne - Outer East 376
Belgrave South Melbourne - Outer East 363
Chandler Brisbane - East 351
Mylor Adelaide - Central and Hills 333
Summertown Adelaide - Central and Hills 328
Warrandyte South Melbourne - Outer East 314
Eerwah Vale Sunshine Coast 313

Source: PropTrack

Suburb Region Potential buyers per listing
Bulli Illawarra 214
West Pennant Hills Sydney - Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury 186
Croydon South Melbourne - Outer East 184
North Plympton Adelaide - West 183
Seaholme Melbourne - West 177
South Brighton Adelaide - South 175
Semaphore Adelaide - West 171
Greenacres Adelaide - North 169
Albert Park Melbourne - Inner 168
Richmond Adelaide - West 166

Source: PropTrack

PropTrack Economist Anne Flaherty told API Magazine that the lists were dominated by suburbs that marry excellent lifestyle amenity without being too far away from their respective capital cities.

“Nationally, Greater Adelaide and Melbourne are seeing the most prospective buyers per listing, with scenic areas dominating,” she said.

Adelaide’s property market has levelled off but remained resilient while Melbourne, like much of the national real estate market, has given up the gains made during rapid growth throughout the pandemic years.

Asked why two cities with such differing recent property market performance had dominated the lists, Ms Flaherty said it boiled down to lifestyle and supply.

“While Melbourne and Adelaide have seen diverse performance over the past year, when it comes to the most in-demand suburbs, they share a few key traits.

“Typically, they are scenic suburbs, with Melbourne's outer east and Mornington Peninsula leading in Victoria, and the Adelaide Hills most popular in South Australia, where supply is particularly limited.”

In deciphering why Upper Sturt topped the list for houses, with nearby Mylor and Summertown also in the top 10, salesperson for Harris Real Estate in Adelaide, Josh Biggs, said their affordability compared to that of their nearby and larger urban centre, Stirling, made them attractive to buyers seeking a more relaxed lifestyle.

Upper Sturt: Queuing to get in but who already lives there?

Upper Sturt: Queuing to get in but who already lives there?

Source: Harris Real Estate

“The median price in those three suburbs is around $750,000 to $800,000, compared to just over $1 million for Stirling.

“Buyers can be 20 minutes from the city on 1,000 square metres of land, or can even buy a hobby farm on up to 20 hectares with that same sort of city access.”

Mr Biggs said 80 per cent of buyers were from outside the area.

“We have a lot of interstate buyers coming in now, as well as returning expats, and families who have outgrown more urban parts of Adelaide,” he said.

He added that the pent-up demand was driven by residents who held their properties tightly.

“Our biggest problem is a lack of stock, which is a common scenario around the country but particularly acute here.”

Regional town is tightest unit market

The town of Bulli in New South Wales, which topped the unit list with 214 potential buyers per listing, is very much a lifestyle town, dominated by its seaside location and an enormous 42 per cent of its total area comprising no fewer than 24 parks.

Along with Eerwah Vale on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, which rounded out the houses top ten list, Bulli was the only other regional town listed, albeit at the top of the charts.

Ms Flaherty said the appearance of just two regional locations did not necessarily reflect that post-pandemic those areas are in less demand.

“Outside the top ten, across the states many of the most in-demand suburbs are in regional areas. 

“Regional locations are continuing to see very strong buyer demand, particularly relative to the number of properties being listed for sale, which remains tight.

“Affordability is another factor here.

“Ten interest rate rises have curbed the average buyer’s borrowing capacity by around 30 per cent and this has priced more buyers out of more expensive areas and increased the proportion looking to the more affordable regions.”

Trever Molenaar, co-founder of Bulli-based real estate agents Molenaar and McNeice, said there were far fewer units for sale than houses in the town.

“First home buyers and downsizers are queuing up to get in the area, and while neighbouring Woonona has a lot of units Bulli has a lot less, creating disproportionately high demand for those that are.

“It’s just an hour to Sydney, and Covid fast-tracked the move of many people who would’ve headed down here eventually anyway, so demand has been consistently strong,” Mr Molenaar said.

He cited the example of a duplex in Bulli that was listed for $850,000 and sold for $975,000 within a week.

Does this buyer deluge equate to investment potential?

It might be expected that this level of buyer interest in properties would guarantee investor appeal and capital growth but that’s not necessarily transpiring in the market.

Different suburbs on the list had price trends that were varied. While Kangaroo Ground, near Eltham in outer north east Melbourne has been experiencing price growth since 2016, other Melbourne suburbs on the list such as Gruyere and Belgrave South, and houses and units alike in Bulli, had experienced rapid house price growth since 2015 but had slipped appreciably in the past year or 18 months. 

Asked if the properties for sale in these hotly contested top 10 locations were by necessity now deemed ‘investment hotspots’, commentators were somewhat ambivalent.

In the case of Upper Sturt, for example, Mr Biggs said it was difficult to see significant growth over the next two years but the market would be stable while other areas perhaps dropped in price due to factors such as higher interest rates.

Prices in most of the South Australia suburbs listed were still rising appreciably but whether that was sustainable in coming years was in doubt, he said.

Ms Flaherty said it comes down to the goal of the investor. 

“For investors with a stronger focus on capital gain rather than yield, suburbs where supply is limited and buyer demand is predicted to remain strong are likely a good bet.

“For investors looking to achieve a healthy and growing yield, suburbs in hot demand with tenants are appealing, particularly if supply is limited, as this creates conditions in which rents are more likely to grow.”

Article Q&A

Which property markets have the highest level of demand?

Adelaide and Melbourne suburbs dominate top 10 lists of suburbs with the greatest number of potential buyers per property listing.

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