The same distance from the city does not guarantee you the same type of house, prices, amenities or public transport options.
Some are heavily-contested first home buyer hotspots, while others are long-standing blue chip havens favoured by the very wealthy.
Each postcode has its own identity, attracting buyers at all stages of life, for various reasons. This how five suburbs, equal distance to the city, measure up.
North west of the CBD and nestled in between Ashgrove, Newmarket, Grange and Enoggera is Alderley, one of Brisbane’s older suburbs that boasts excellent transport links thanks to the local train station and a host of parks, playgrounds and new amenities like shopping centres. It’s about a 13-minute drive to the CBD outside of peak hour.
The highest house sale ever recorded in Alderley is for its most revered property, “Farrington”, a heritage-listed circa 1880s house at the top of the hill at David Street, which changed hands in 2003 for $3.15 million. Typically, many Alderley houses are character timber homes, although the subdivision of large blocks is seeing more contemporary homes built in recent years.
It has a median house price of $800,000 after experiencing excellent growth over the past two years – over the last 12 months it’s grown by 6.3 per cent and last year it grew by 10.4 per cent.
“Because it’s along the train line, buyers are expecting that capital growth,” he says. “It’s a really cool suburb in the sense that there’s a real mix of buyers and I’d say there’s currently a big push from first home buyers and investors wanting to get into the next boom suburb … but entry level Alderley is snapped up immediately.”
Mr Jeffries recently sold a house at 14 Denman Street Alderley, the first weekend it opened, for $660,000.
“Young couples and families are attracted to the area and once they secure the location, are happy to sit on these properties for a number of years, knowing they can renovate or extend them years later,” he says.
Many of the original Queenslanders on large blocks have been subdivided, so the suburb is now a mix of older character homes, large contemporary houses and boutique townhouse developments, he says.
Arguably Brisbane’s premier suburb, Ascot has long been lauded as the home of blue chip real estate in Brisbane. With a median house price of $1.52 million, it’s no entry-level starter suburb for most buyers – but one look at its wide, tree-lined streets and the swathe of sprawling estates and it’s no wonder why this north eastern suburb is on so many wishlists.
Amongst the grand character properties, such as the $7.6 million beauty at 26 Mayfield Street dubbed “Brisbane’s most beautiful Queenslander”, there are properties like the 28 Crosby Road, which made headlines around the world for its secret “Batman tunnel”. Although its sale price is still shrouded in secrecy, it’s rumoured to be up to $10.2 million, which would make it Ascot’s highest sale of 2017.
Ascot is a favourite with white collar professionals, particularly doctors, politicians and lawyers but it’s also a tight-knit community where homes are held in the family for generations, local Ray White agent Damon Warat says.
“People buy these houses and live in them for a lifetime. A lot of the people who have grown up in the area come back to the suburb with their own families,” he says.
“There’s no doubt there’s a lot of professionals and high disposable incomes here who aspire and work very hard to buy their home but it’s a very family orientated area where you can walk down Racecourse Road and know every second person. It has that wonderful vibe about it.”
Growth in Ascot has been extremely healthy over the past 12 months, with the median price increasing by 12.6 per cent. But not every house in Ascot is a mansion. The cheapest house sold there this year so far went for a relatively paltry $593,000.
It’s about a 15-minute drive to the CBD by car and there’s a local train station as well as buses. Ascot also has easy access to the Gateway Bridge and airport via Kingsford Smith Drive.
Places at Ascot State School are hotly contested by parents who camp out overnight to secure a spot, as is the local private girls’ school, St Margaret’s Anglican College.
While Ascot is teaming with grand character houses, there are various smaller brick properties dotted throughout the suburb. However, they tend to get removed and replaced with new trophy homes, Mr Warat says. He cited a house at 44 Bennison Street, listed at late $2 millions, which he believes is likely to get purchased and then bulldozed to make way for something brand new.
East of the CBD, Carina sits just past one of Brisbane’s best-performing suburbs this year, Camp Hill, which has risen by a staggering 14.8 per cent over the past 12 months and recently overtook Coorparoo in median house price, despite the fact it’s further from the city. Camp Hill’s median house price is $916,000, while Coorparoo’s is $860,000.
As buyers get priced out of Camp Hill, they’re looking to the next suburb out: Carina.
Scott Hay of Place Coorparoo has just sold a renovated family home at Allambie Street, across the road from local primary school St Martin’s, and says two out of the four offers he received on the weekend were from buyers who had never considered Carina before.
“We get a real mix of buyers here – first home buyers, young families and older people – but the most important thing is the perception from them that they’re getting a better house for their money,” he says.
“You can get a much larger house in Carina than you can in Camp Hill for the same money – and Camp Hill is literally two minutes away. It’s a really well-serviced suburb with great access to the CBD.”
And while neighbouring Camp Hill has grown by 14.8 per cent over the past 12 months, Carina has risen by only 1.6 per cent. Its median house price, at $660,000, is more than $250,000 cheaper.
Carina’s not on a train line but it’s well serviced by buses with nearby Westfield Carindale one of Brisbane’s biggest bus interchanges. It takes 19 minutes by car to get to the CBD and is well serviced by local shops, parks and local schools.
The original tram tracks still run down the centre of Old Cleveland Road, denoting Carina’s history as an important suburban network. While the majority of the homes are post war houses, sections of Carina are home to modern brick homes and as the larger blocks get subdivided, infill developments with new houses are becoming more common.
Holland Park West may not have a train station but it when it comes to buses, it’s king of transport. The nearby southeast busway can have you in the city in 10 minutes but if you would prefer to drive, it’s only 12 minutes by car on the freeway. It’s also got easy access to the Gold Coast via the M1, as well as the northern suburbs via the Clem7.
Holland Park West is a more affordable option than some of the other suburbs listed here, with a median house price of $685,000, which Price Finder data shows is a 2.0 per cent drop over the past 12 months.
“For families looking for that upgraded or second home over $800,000 that have brought equity with them, there’s incredible value,” she says.
“The difference between that $100,000 is often a bigger house, a full renovation and sometimes a pool. It’s a price segment of the market where there’s less demand and I really feel that buyers with this sort of budget can get so much value here right now.”
Holland Park West has a mix of early 20th century character homes and war-service homes ripe for renovation. Ms Harrison-Taylor says the demographic of the suburb has undergone a massive shift in the past five years as a generation of lifetime elderly residents moved out.
“Five years ago when a lot of the elderly residents were moving out there was a lot more entry-level stock on the market but I’m finding that most of the young people who replaced them are not leaving,” she says.
“They love the suburb, the local community and the incredible access that Holland Park West has to everywhere in Brisbane, so they’re not leaving. Instead, they’re putting their money into extending their properties and staying long-term.
“I feel like Holland Park West is one of those suburbs that still has a lot of value left in it.”
Located in the leafy western suburbs, Indooroopilly is a happy mix of well-heeled families, students from the nearby University of Queensland and everything in between.
Well-serviced by public transport, it has a local train station, excellent bus links from Westfield Indooroopilly and, traffic aside, takes about 15 minutes to get to the CBD by car.
Price Finder data shows the median house price has fallen by 2.8 per cent over the past 12 months to $841,000, although local agents are quick to point out that certain pockets of Indooroopilly have had huge growth this year.
Schools are a major drawcard for people moving to Indooroopilly. Home to some of Queensland’s best-performing primary and secondary schools, like Indooroopilly State High School, Ironside State School and St Peter’s Lutheran College, local agents say buyers will pay top dollar to snag a home within these catchments.
Alex Jordan of McGrath Paddington says the “Long Pocket” precinct in and around the river and Indooroopilly golf course, has a median value closer to $1.8 million. With a population of about 400 houses, he says it has its own micro market driven mainly by buyers wanting to be close to St Peter’s.
“A trend I have noticed is we’re getting a lot of Chinese buyers moving from Sunnybank or Stretton to this part of Indooroopilly so they can be close to the school,” he says.
“I would say the main driver of the market are the schools. The majority of the buyers have a link to some form of education, whether it’s the schools or university. That’s why that one section of Indooroopilly – also known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ – is outperforming other parts of the suburb.”
Whilst some of Indooroopilly’s real estate fronting the river or the golf course regularly fetches prices in the millions, there are also plenty of modest little post war homes and mid-century brick houses, as well as a healthy dose of units occupied mainly by students from nearby University of Queensland. The cheapest house sold this year so far was snapped up for $495,000.