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What does $500,000 buy?

John McGrath
23 November 2015

By John McGrath

Back in 2004, $500,000 was Sydney’s median house price. Today, it’s considered entry level buying at best – and we’re not talking houses, we’re talking mostly apartments. 

In our latest annual McGrath Report, we took on the challenge of working out where young buyers with a budget of $500,000 could afford to buy and what type of property this budget would allow them.  

We analysed sales and new listings data from this year only for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on realestate.com.au and we also referred to research published in the July 2015 Residential Report of independent property valuation firm, Herron Todd White.

In Sydney, half a million will buy a studio or one bedroom apartment if you know where to look in the inner and middle rings. In Brisbane, you can buy a three bedroom house in many areas close to the CBD. In Melbourne, $500,000 is enough for a two bedroom apartment or a smaller house in certain suburbs. 

No wonder more Sydneysiders are considering a move to the north or south capitals these days. 

Here are some examples of what $500,000 will buy you in each city.  


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