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Location might be everything in the property game, but timing must run a close second.

Just-released data tracking property prices in Australia over the past 30 years reveals how some homebuyers hit multi-million-dollar jackpots by virtue of when they bought.

Only three of Sydney’s five most expensive real estate suburbs in 1991 held their place, 30 years later, in 2021.
Australian house values increased by 414 per cent between 1991 - 2021, according to new data.
Australian house values increased by 414 per cent between 1991 – 2021, according to new data. (Nine / Janie Barrett)

The Rocks, an historic neighbourhood in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge, spiralled 173 places from second in 1991 to 175th, three decades later.

Although median values in The Rocks trebled in that time, other Sydney neighbourhoods – such as Bronte – increased nine-fold, the report found.

Clontarf, a well-heeled, harbourside suburb which looks south towards Sydney’s CBD, was also nudged from the top-five, dropping from fourth in 1991 to 7th in 2021.

The biggest climbers in Sydney over that 30-year period, according to The Aussie Progress Report, were Bronte and Dover Heights, both in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Bronte shot up from 81st to 5th, while Dover Heights rose into second from 12th.

The affluent harbour suburb of Vaucluse, where large family homes command prized views towards the city, stayed number one across the three decades.

Property in Vaucluse on average rose by more than 500 per cent between 1991 and 2021, with the median price of a dwelling today costing an eye-watering $8.6 million.

Across Australia, house values have increased by 414.6 per cent in the past 30 years, according to the report from mortgage company Aussie and data firm CoreLogic.

Vaucluse maintained top spot as the most expensive suburb in Sydney between 1991 and 2021, but The Rocks dropped 173 places.
Vaucluse maintained top spot as the most expensive suburb in Sydney between 1991 and 2021, but The Rocks dropped 173 places. (Aussie Progress Report, by Aussie / CoreLogic)

The report found nationally, between 1991 and 2021, there were seven periods of sustained value increases and seven periods of decline, but the good times have far outweighed the bad.

Growth cycles typically lasted 41 months, with properties values rising on average 34 per cent when the going was good.

The report found one of the longest periods of sustained value increases in the housing market was between September 1995 and January 2004.

Homebuyers who purchased early in that lucrative nine-year window saw the value of their property increase dramatically.

Conversely, downturns in the Aussie property market ran on average 12 months, with falls of 4.3 per cent.

“What is clear from the analysis is that property is a long game,” Brad Cramb, chief executive of distribution at property company Lendi Group, said.

“Trying to pick what the market will do in the short-term can be distracting for homebuyers.”

High-rise units in Sydney, Australia.
High-rise units in Sydney, Australia. (Nine / Dominic Lorrimer)

Homebuyers should not get caught up in short-term thinking, he said.

Data released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed Australia’s property market had recorded the biggest 12-month jump in its history, lifting the average price of residential dwellings to just shy of $1 million.

In the 12 months to December, residential property prices rose 23.7 per cent – the strongest annual growth ever recorded.

The mean price of residential dwellings in Australia is now $920,100, up from $876,100 in the September quarter.

Source: 9News

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