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Property Prices Across the Country

The property landscape continues to shift across Australia, with recent price drops in Sydney bringing a significant change to the top of the table. While the NSW capital has been the most expensive city in Australia for a long time, Sydney has lost its top ranking to the seaside paradise of Byron Bay. Property market firm Propertyology recently identified the top 40 most expensive cities in Australia, with some locations doing much better than others against a backdrop of sliding national prices.

According to data from Propertyology, Byron Bay is the most expensive city in Australia with a median price of $987,500. House price growth in Byron has expanded a lot over recent years, with sea-changers and an older demographic bringing 36.2 percent growth to the area over the last three years. Sydney dropped to second place on the list with a median house price of $950,000 and limited growth of just 10.5 percent over the last three years. Kiama was the third most expensive city at $910,000, followed by Surf Coast at $835,000, and Wingecarribee at $814,500.

Melbourne was the sixth most expensive city in Australia at $772,500, followed by Wollongong at $755,000, Noosa at $735,000, Ballina at $680,000, and Canberra at $657,250. Shoalhaven was the only city to record stronger growth that Byron Bay over three years at 37.8 percent, with this beautiful part of the world 19th on the list with a price of $565,000. According to Propertyology, an increasing number of retirees are relocating away from capital cities, with eight of the top ten cities seeing an increase in the median household age over the last five years.

While Byron Bay and other select markets are managing to buck the trend, the wider Australian market has plunged by $133 billion according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Capital city home prices dropped an average of 2.4 percent in the December quarter alone, with Sydney and Melbourne down 3.7 percent and 2.4 percent respectively. Property prices in Sydney fell 7.8 percent over 2018 and 16 percent since the last peak in June 2017. While this type of correction has been seen many times before, the current downturn has occurred at about twice the average rate.

According to Simon Pressley from Propertyology, the Byron bubble refuses to conform to national market trends: "Sydney's had two booms in 30 years, and they typically last between two and four years... So if we're having this discussion about any location other than Byron, I'd say [because] it's gone strong for five years, it must be really close to the end... But the median house price average annual increase over 20 years in Byron has been 10.1 per cent - so it's sort of defied all logic." There are many reasons for Byron's property success, with housing demand driven mostly by affluent middle-aged couples looking to escape the urban lifestyle.

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