After 2020 saw regional property prices more than triple the growth of some capital city counterparts, PRD Real Estate analysed regional areas in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania to find where the most affordable locations were. 

The areas PRD found not only had median price affordability, but also strong indicators for property investment, local employment growth, and a sustainable economic future. 

The tropical North Queensland Whitsunday Local Government Area (LGA) area was one of three Queensland locations on the list, as well the Port Stephens LGA in New South Wales, the Greater Geelong LGA in Victoria, and Circular Head LGA in Tasmania. 

Related: The best and worst performing regional housing markets in 2020

Top 10 Affordable Regional Areas 2021


Median house price

Median unit price

Vacancy rate

House rental yield

Unit rental yield

Whitsunday LGA (QLD)






Mackay LGA (QLD)






Toowoomba LGA (QLD)






Port Stephens LGA (NSW)






Greater Hume Region (NSW)






Federation LGA (NSW)






Greater Bendigo City (VIC)






Greater Geelong LGA (VIC)






Warrnambool LGA (VIC)






Circular Head LGA (TAS)






Source: PRD Real Estate. Data as of December 2020. 

PRD chief economist Dr Diaswati Mardiasmo said as capital city house prices continued their upward trend this year, first-home buyers would flock to regional areas

"Housing affordability is now more than ever an issue, especially within metro capital cities," Dr Diaswati said.

"Regional areas have become the most attractive option in 2020 due to flexible remote working being introduced amidst COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

"Many regional markets have seen buyers capitalising on lower median property prices." 

Dr Diaswati said regional areas weren't just popular for first-home buyers, with many locations offering great returns for investors. 

"Regional areas have also become an attractive investment option over city capitals, as vacancy rates have been at record low levels, while also offering a higher rental return," she said. 

"With metro capital cities becoming increasingly unaffordable, now is an opportune time to identify key regional growth areas for those looking to purchase in a more affordable market." 

ANZ has forecast capital city property prices will rise 17% this year, while Westpac and CommBank have forecast 10% and 8% rises respectively.

Housing affordability concerns rise 

Dr Diaswati said for first home buyers and investors still wanting to buy in capital cities, finding a suitable place at an affordable price could be incredibly difficult. 

"This is especially true as the state average loan only makes up approximately half of the median house price in Sydney and Melbourne, at 53.3% and 53.8% respectively," she said.

"Those in Hobart and Brisbane can enjoy greater affordability, with the state average loan making up 63.3% and 76.9% respectively of each capital city’s median house price." 

PRD found with house prices booming and incomes not increasing anywhere near the same rate, affordability was crumbling. 

"In the December quarter of 2020, all capital cities saw a surge in price growth annually, with the weighted average Australian median house price increasing by 6.0% to $825,205," Dr Diaswati said.

"The national median family weekly income did grow by 1.8% over the same period, but was not on-par with median house price growth, resulting in the home affordability index decreasing by -1.8%."

Related: Housing boom weighs on consumer confidence

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Update resultsUpdate
LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.04% p.a.
6.06% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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6.14% p.a.
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Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of . View disclaimer.

Photo by David Maunsell on Unsplash 

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