Beachside homes beat the market with record-high prices

Beachside homeowners see nice return after a third of coastline markets hold steady at their peak values during economic challenges. 

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
5 Min Read

Popular beachside properties are paying off for homeowners after a third of Australia’s coastline markets hold steady at their peak values despite economic challenges. 

Research from property research group CoreLogic has revealed that over one-third (35 per cent) of Australia’s regional coastal markets recorded record-high prices at the end of last year despite multiple rate rises, cost of living pressures and market uncertainty. 

The study, which analysed 368 coastal markets at least 50km from the nearest capital city CBD, found the beachside suburbs of outer metro Perth recorded the largest gains in value in 2023.

Western Australia dominated the list of top coastal suburbs with the highest annual capital gains, claiming more than half of the top 20 spots.

“The divergence between cities and regions was a defining trend of 2023 and coastal regions were no exception to the increasing gap between top and bottom performers,” CoreLogic Research Director Tim Lawless said.

“Markets that witnessed significant value growth last year were the beneficiaries of affordability challenges in other regions. 

“Buyers who found better value in regional areas of Western Australia and Queensland not only bought into the upswing but will have contributed to the resilience of these top-performing spots.”

According to Mr Lawless, most of the properties that saw the largest gains were actually outside of the glamorous hot spots that cashed up Aussies flocked to during the COVID pandemic. 

Every suburb on the top 20 list of highest growth markets last year had a median value well under $1 million, with Mulambin the most expensive on that list at $822,553, followed by Rosslyn’s $760,981 on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast.

“The past 12 months has seen markets that offer a combination of value and lifestyle attributes, such as commuting distance to a major city, great beaches, and quality housing at a more affordable price point, outperform more well-known areas,” Mr Lawless said.

“Suburbs in areas such as Western Australia and more northern regions of Queensland where it’s still possible to make a sea change for less than $1 million were the strongest performers last year. 

“Although home values in these regions are mostly at record highs, they remain relatively affordable for sea changers selling out of more expensive metro markets.”

Most expensive beachside markets

The prestigious Victorian coastal villages of Portsea, Flinders and Sorrento on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula dominated the top three most expensive coastal suburbs.

Portsea has a median dwelling value of $3.03 million, ahead of Flinders at $2.33 million and Sorrento at $2.05 million. Between March 2020 and their cyclical peak, Portsea values shot up 65.3 per cent, Sorrento increased 69.8 per cent and Flinders lifted 63.7 per cent.

“Melbournians fled to the Mornington Peninsula during the pandemic, if they could afford to, and the increase in activity and a lack of stock pushed up values significantly,” he said.

“Now internal migration from cities to regions is normalising, there’s less competition among buyers who also have the benefit of more listings and therefore the power to negotiate on asking prices.”

Other regions well represented in the top 20 list include Queensland’s Sunshine Coast with four suburbs, Richmond Tweed with three suburbs and Geelong and Illawarra, each with three suburbs.

The ‘affordable’ coastal gems

Outside of the mining and port regions, which tend to be less expensive, Mr Lawless said there were still some affordable ‘hidden gems’ for those priced out of other beachside markets.

“South Australia’s Ceduna is a prime example with a median dwelling value of just $245,275. It’s considered to be the oyster capital of Australia, has a regional airport and is close to major working nodes at the ports and various other industries,” he said.

“Wongaling Beach, a popular tourist spot on Queensland’s Cassowary Coast between North Mission Beach and South Mission Beach, is another good example with a median dwelling value of $295,632 and great white sandy beaches.”

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.