News / Property

Brunswick house prices surge to new record levels

At current growth rates, the median house price in Brunswick will pass $1.5 million this year

Donna Staples and Matt Tito were on the verge of giving up when they secured their town house in the southern part of Brunswick.

Mark Phillips
Monday, January 31, 2022

HOUSE prices in Brunswick reached a record $1.4 million at the end of 2021, capping a year in which the suburb’s median price rose by 25%.

Units in Brunswick also rose strongly by 5.7% over the 12 months of 2021, touching a record high earlier in the year before dropping slightly in the December quarter to a median price of $596,000.

While prices fell across the board in the middle of 2020, they have since recovered to set new records in 2021 in all three of Brunswick, Brunswick West and Brunswick East.

In Brunswick West, median house prices finished the year at $1.36 million, recording growth over the 12 months of 7.9%. They reached a record high of $1.56 million in the June quarter. The median price for a unit in Brunswick West in December was $558,000, a slight fall over the 12 months.

By contrast, Brunswick East had negative price growth for houses over the whole of 2021. In December, the median price was $1.42 million, a fall of 14.9%, but earlier in the year they also set a record of $1.55 million in the June quarter. The median price for units in Brunswick East increased by 7.8% over 2021, finishing the year at a record $692,000.

In all three suburbs, the median price of a house is higher than the average across all of metropolitan Melbourne of $1.12 million.

Real estate agents say low interest rates, lifestyle choices and pent-up demand after the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 have all contributed to drive prices higher.

But while sellers have benefitted from price growth, it is threatening to push home ownership beyond the reach of first home buyers.

Femi Chou, a 27-year-old public servant, was forced to revise her budget upwards to secure a two bedroom house near Barkly Square at auction in October.

She ended up spending about $1.1 million, which has eaten into her budget for renovating the house’s bathroom and kitchen.

“I actually lost three other auctions in Brunswick before and I was pretty disappointed but was prepared to pay more and to compete with some other people,” she said.

“I would say investors are pushing up prices.

“It was pretty competitive and it’s a little bit above my budget, but I’m pretty happy.”

Matt Tito and Donna Staples had to compromise on their original plans but are delighted with the three bedroom town house near Royal Park that they bought for just under $1 million in spring and moved into not long before Christmas.

The couple had been saving together for about five years and wanted to find a property large enough to start a family and grow into. While they were unable to secure a fully detached house with a back yard, the triple storey town house they did buy meets their criteria.

“We were so thrilled when we got this place, we got so lucky,” said Mr Tito, 31, who works in human resources in the humanitarian sector.

“We kept pinching ourselves and wondering why we were so lucky with this place. We actually had two inspections teed up for the day we won the auction and we fully planned to miss out on this one.

“We were going to give it maybe another couple of weeks, and that was it for us. And I think we if we had [stopped looking] we probably would have missed out on what was our dream home.”

Ms Staples, 29, a speech pathologist for a public health service, said it was frustrating the number of times they viewed houses that were within their price range, only for a pre-auction offer to be made that was beyond their budget.

“Expect that it will take a little while but don’t give up,” she said. “We were very much on the edge, that’s why were about to stop looking because we were kind of feeling that maybe it wasn’t within reach anymore.”

Mr Tito said recent history in their block of six town houses told the story of how quickly prices have grown in Brunswick.

The block was subdivided and the six town houses built in the late-1990s, when they were sold for about $250,000 each. One town house subsequently sold for about $750,000 in 2018, another for $900,000 in 2020, and a third for $950,000 last year prior to their own purchase.

“It’s like almost every year it went up by another 50,000 for pretty much identical houses on the same lot,” he said.

Speaking to Brunswick Voice recently, Moreland Mayor Mark Riley said he was concerned that affordable housing was becoming more scarce in Brunswick.

He said housing both for rent and purchase in parts of Moreland was becoming unattainable for many, with state and federal government policies helping to fuel price growth.

“If we can’t keep people here to work and live here, if we can’t provide housing for all income levels, I think that’d be shameful, that would be a real loss to us,” Cr Riley said.