Paul Wrilgey of Ray White Toronto comments on the Hottest Spots to Buy in 2011. An atricle released from realestate.com.au and RP Data highlights the hot spots to buy.

Newcastle, which will flow outwards to the Hunter region and Lake Macquarie, was mentioned as a growth suburb.

RP Data research shows solid growth in suburbs 10km outside capital cities, where real estate is more affordable, and middle-ring suburbs along major transport spines top its list of strong performers, indicating that buyers are rating both the price and commuting time high in their priorities.

Property analysts are also bullish on large regional towns where state governments have poured money into transport and infrastructure to try to decentralise population growth.

And while chatter about a housing bubble in 2011 has grown louder recently, experts say a property slump is over-emphasised.

Australia Property Monitors senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson forecasts activity will be restrained in most markets early on but demand and price growth should resume by mid-year.

He said mining activity, strong employment, rising wages and a serious housing shortage that will get worse in 2011 will offset rising interest rates and declining affordability.

He also nominated Perth and Sydney as his capital city hotspots and the Illawarra coastal precinct in New South Wales as his regional pick.

“The Illawarra is investing in a lot of new coal mines given the problems that have occurred with the Queensland mines so we see it as a potential growth region for real estate,” Dr Wilson explained.

“Perth is a definite hot spot – there are always mining projects in the pipeline and the city has been flat for a couple of years. It tends to be a volatile market so the fact that it has flattened indicates it’s ready to gather the momentum it had in 2006 and 2007.

“Perth should be back to levels of 8 to 10 per cent by the middle of the year.”

Not surprisingly Dr Wilson said the flood crisis would deter buyers from Queensland.

“The floods will definitely impede on demand in Queensland and re-emphasise negative consumer sentiment nationally for a few months.

“However, I don’t think real estate fundamentals will be affected and the market should start to develop some momentum by April.

“Obviously there will be an extreme shortage of rental properties in Brisbane, particularly houses, and that will put upward pressure on property prices not only in Brisbane but the Gold Coast and the Sunshine coast which are within commuting distance,” Dr Watson explained.

RP DATA is also optimistic that the flood crisis won’t have a major impact on real estate prices in Brisbane, long term.

But the property research firm predicts that over the next five years homes further away from the river in low lying areas could lose as much as 10 per cent of their value.

For now RP Data expects that the floods will keep sellers on the sidelines as the clean-up becomes the focus.

New South Wales

In keeping with the buzz over middle-ring suburbs (10km or more from capital cities), RP DATA has picked Strathfield, Sydenham and Berala in Sydney’s west as its bargain hunter gold mines.
Berala, 17km west of Sydney’s CBD, tops the list. Median house prices are a relatively modest $460,000 and residents enjoy easy access to public transport. Further afield, real estate experts also list the manufacturing hub of Newcastle and the coastal region of Illawarra as NSW’s places to buy.

Queensland

It’s a brave person who attempts to predict the future of Queensland’s property market in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods. However, long term, both APM and RP DATA forecast that the crisis won’t have a major impact on price.

RP DATA predicts medium to long-term hotspots will be Brisbane’s middle-ring suburbs. Pundits are also bullish about Townsville as the Queensland government is endeavouring to make it the state’s “second capital”. What’s more, it has the strongest regional economy in Australia and an already solid property market.

South Australia

RP DATA nominates Richmond, 4km from the CBD, as its South Australian hotspot. Median house prices are a relatively affordable $438,000 and the suburb boasts “post-war properties with renovation potential on large blocks”.

The South Australian economy has performed well in recent years in part to the mining boom, placing regional towns such as Whyalla in a good stead.

Victoria

Given Melbourne’s booming house prices over the past two years, with annual growth running at 20 per cent in some areas, new hotspots are well outside the city. Houses in the western suburbs of Laverton and units in the eastern suburb of Box Hill where median prices are under $400,000 are APM’s top picks.

RP DATA is bullish on Mentone and predicts it will be one of Australia’s top real estate performers in 2011. The bayside suburb is 21km from Melbourne and is appealing for investors due to its waterfront location, easy access to the capital, and amenities. Although, with a median house price of $690,000, the precinct won’t be within everyone’s budget. 

Western Australia

It hasn’t popped up as a property hotspot for some time but Perth is expected to be one of the nation’s star performers this year. The suburbs of Wellard, Tapping and Bertram have produced annualised growth of almost 30 per cent over the past five years and remain relatively affordable. RP Data ranks Ashfield, 8km from CBD, as one of the city’s most affordable suburbs and expects it to be one of the nation’s top property performers in 2011.

ACT

Canberra is the national standout for rental growth so while experts say it’s difficult to pick a hot spot given the city’s uniformity, it’s a relatively safe property option.

Suburbs just outside central Canberra where median house prices are around $400,000 and affordability remains reasonable are likely to be solid performers in 2011. Buzz suburbs include Watson, Holt and Richardson, according to RP DATA

Northern Territory

Darwin is still the obvious NT hotspot due to its housing shortage – it’s the most expensive city in Australia to rent a property. If experts are correct, it’s time to snap up units and houses in suburbs on the outskirts of Darwin including Driver, Malak and Anula where prices are rising sharply.

Tasmania

Most real estate experts are not bullish about Tasmania but say inner-city Hobart and Launceston provide opportunities for capital growth as the state’s residents embrace cosmopolitan living assisted by developments of CBD apartments – a feature once lacking from these markets.

National rental market

The extremely tight rental market will influence price growth, giving investors further encouragement to shift from the often-volatile share market to the relative safety of bricks and mortar. Sydney, Canberra and Darwin are currently the most expensive capitals for rental properties.

Canberra’s rental market is the national standout for rental price growth, as significant supply shortages and solid income growth put upward pressure on prices. While Darwin remains the most expensive city to rent houses, with asking median rents remaining unchanged for the quarter at $550 per week.

Sydney rental prices were also unchanged at $480 for houses and $440 for units for the last quarter of 2010.