Sydney’s spectacular skyline is home to some of Australia’s most expensive penthouses. Image: The Property Tribune; Henry Thai.
  • Australian prices do not appear in the Top 10 globally
  • Prestige property was expecting to take a hit
  • Cash rate rises may have taken heat out of the market

In July this year, The Property Tribune looked at the International Construction Market Survey (ICMS), which ranks metrics across 88 global cities.

No Australian cities featured in the top 10 for most expensive cities, with Perth ranking 36th, with an average cost of USD$2,822 per sqm (AUD$4,098.81), followed by Sydney (42nd) at USD$2,699 per sqm (AUD$3,920.16), Melbourne (44th) at $2,666 per sqm (AUD$3,872.23), Brisbane (46th) at $2,620.7 per sqm (AUD$3,806.44) and Adelaide (50) at $2,454.4 per sqm (AUD$3,564.89).

The most expensive place in the world was San Francisco, with an average cost of AUD$6,868.64 per square metre, followed by Tokyo and Osaka.

Australia’s million-dollar house club is also shrinking, recent CoreLogic data showed.

Data shows that only seven suburbs across Australia’s capitals and regions saw median house prices rise above $1 million, while 169 suburbs saw prices plummet below the million dollar mark.

Corelogic Research Director Tim Lawless said several outer suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne are no longer in the million-dollar club with more affordable suburbs declining in value.

“Many of these outer fringe suburbs that have fallen below the $1 million mark were previously showing median values that were only marginally over the seven-figure threshold, so in many cases, a small percentage drop in value has been enough to push values below $1 million,” he said.

Mr Lawless added that housing values in more expensive suburbs are falling faster than the more affordable suburbs, but pointed out that these suburbs would require a significant price decline to drop below the million-dollar threshold.

There are currently 836 suburbs in Australia’s exclusive million-dollar club, with 347 of these in Sydney and 117 in Melbourne.

Most expensive waterfront homes

The Property Tribune looked at how much a house would cost if it had sweeping ocean views, with nine out of the ten most expensive waterfront homes located in New South Wales.

Rank Suburb State Post
Beds Median Price (Current) Median Price (1 yr Ago) Growth 1 yr
1 Vaucluse NSW 2030 House 4 $7,000,000 $4,750,000 47.36%
2 Mosman NSW 2088 House 5 $6,000,000 $5,500,000 9.09%
3 Brighton VIC 3186 House 5 $5,100,000 $4,000,000 27.50%
4 Seaforth NSW 2092 House 5 $4,875,000 $3,775,000 29.13%
5 Mosman NSW 2088 House 4 $4,700,000 $3,700,000 27.02%
6 Darling Point NSW 2027 Unit 3 $4,500,000 $2,800,000 60.71%
7 North Bondi NSW 2026 House 4 $4,400,000 $3,000,000 46.66%
8 Manly NSW 2095 House 4 $4,400,000 $3,100,000 41.93%
9 Bronte NSW 2024 House 4 $4,050,000 $4,000,000 1.25%
10 South Coogee NSW 2034 House 4 $3,600,000 $2,500,000 44.00%

Source: Proptech Group

So how does that compare with the rest of Sydney?


[Select part of the chart to zoom in on various years, and ‘reset zoom’ button to return]

Weekly asking prices for houses in Sydney are still around the $1.7 million mark, with $740,000 the median for units, according to SQM Research.

This is also despite house prices continuing to fall in Sydney, according to CoreLogic.

20 most expensive suburbs in Sydney

So do the waterfront suburbs also feature on the list of Sydney’s most expensive suburbs overall? Absolutely!

  1. Point Piper
  2. Tamarama
  3. Vaucluse
  4. Bellevue Hill
  5. Watsons Bay
  6. Bronte
  7. Longueville
  8. Lavender Bay
  9. Northwood
  10. Potts Point
  11. Mosman
  12. Double Bay
  13. Rose Bay
  14. Woollahra
  15. Palm Beach
  16. Clovelly
  17. Rossmore
  18. Hunters Hill
  19. Northbridge
  20. Elizabeth Bay

We explored the suburbs in more detail earlier this week, with Point Piper taking line honours.

2027 (inc Point Piper, Darling Point, Edgecliff) 

[Select part of the chart to zoom in on various years, and ‘reset zoom’ button to return]

When talking about the prestige end of the market, of course mums the word, but two properties sold in one line took the Australian record at $140 million.

Last year, another apartment was acquired for $60 million.

Luxury property prices slump?

Lloyd Edge, of Aus Property Professionals, commented on why house prices are not crashing in an article in October this year:

“This is because it is really the high value houses that are being hit the hardest with the lower end of the market not seeing too much change. In this way, the higher value properties are absorbing the hit to the market.”

Lloyd Edge

Even earlier in the year, in January, luxury properties were doing exceptionally well, fueled by short supply and low interest rates.

As the year draws to a close, we may have a much clearer view of what has happened in the prestige property market.

Typically, prestige markets hold in trying times, with Ayre Real Estate’s Adrian Wilson and Craig Donohue explaining this is due to high net worth buyers having the capital to spend, combined with a general shortage of penthouses and oversized dwellings to satisfy demand.

“Over the past twelve months, according to CoreLogic data and our own sales, property prices in the heart of Sydney continued to increase, with the median value of 2- bedroom apartments now sitting at $1.48 million,”  said Mr Wilson.

“As new projects came to completion and with further developments due for delivery in 2023, we expect this upward trend to continue. There’s just nothing better than living in the vibrancy of The City of Sydney when you can afford it.”

Mr Wilson and Mr Donohue noted that supply has historically been the driver of property prices in the CBD, and despite heat taken out of the market following the consecutive rate rises across this year, the company’s sales results tell a different tale:

“Stock levels for prime property at the moment are extremely tight, this is largely due to the opening of borders and return to the office in Sydney’s CBD. Over the next 12 months to two years, we’re expecting the short supply trend to continue, mainly due to construction delays due to the covid backlog on projects across the city,” said Mr Wilson.

“A notable shift in our prestige clients preferences at the moment, is premium, move in ready apartments,” added Mr Donohue.

“Previously more of our buyers and investors were looking for apartments to update and make their own, but again due to covid challenges within the trades industry they are looking for new or renovated residences that are ready to enjoy.”

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