In an uncertain year, some Australians may be looking around to pick up some good value real estate.
But with jobs and working hours curtailed, the budget might be pretty stretched.
With this paradox in mind, property valuation firm Herron White has asked its experts to pick out the best value residential properties that can be purchased for just $700,000.
Here are the answers:
Melbourne: best buys for $700,000
Downtown and inner city Melbourne are looking good for buyers at the moment.
"With current market conditions and in light of the recent events of Covid-19, a lazy $700,000 can go a long way in areas of Melbourne’s CBD and city fringe suburbs," read the Herron White report.
"Recent figures show that the median unit price for the CBD, Southbank and Docklands were $480,000, $575,000 and $609,000 respectively. It is truly a buyer’s and renter’s market for those looking in these areas."
This is because international students usually generate high demand for inner city tenancy – but with travel restrictions in place, vacancy rates are skyrocketing.
In the south-east of the city, Clyde and Berwick are the picks for finding $700,000 bargains.
"These suburbs offer plenty of choices for those looking to buy as there are many newer estates in these areas. A brand-new house and land package can range from $500,000 to $650,000."
The western suburbs can offer old-school big blocks and large McMansions for $700,000, if that's appealing to the buyer.
"Those looking for large blocks and new modern houses could consider Rockbank, Caroline Springs and Plumpton at a median price of $700,000, which is an attractive choice for first home buyers and families," the report read.
"Melbourne’s western area is spoilt for choice around the $700,000 mark compared to that of more expensive inner Melbourne suburbs, where purchasing a nice home in that range is simply not possible."
Brisbane: best buys for $700,000
The Queensland capital has been a favourite among investors the past few years, and it could hold that reputation through the Covid-19 downturn.
"The coronavirus crisis has not resulted in a measurable fall in property prices across the Brisbane market generally and $700,000 is a solid value band," Herron White reported.
"As such, don’t expect to score a bargain due to the pandemic. A lack of listings means buyer choice is limited. In addition, many properties are trading off-market."
The usual advice for Brisbane is to purchase as close to the city centre as possible, but with a $700,000 budget buying within 5km will prove difficult.
"Our initial thoughts at this price point would be a reasonable quality home in Carina or Wynnum. Something on a circa 600 square metre allotment with an older high-set dwelling to a good standard," read the report.
"Gordon Park, Stafford and Kedron and their detached dwellings on 405 square metre lots are good options too. This is a buoyant part of the market at the moment and has good potential to achieve capital growth."
Brisbane's rental returns are mouth-watering compared to its larger rivals in the southern states.
"$700,000 invested in Brisbane property will probably achieve a gross rental yield of around four to five per cent," stated Herron White.
"For example, detached houses and townhouses in Gordon Park, Stafford and Kedron achieve circa $550 per week."
Sydney: best buys for $700,000
While still expensive, Sydney is a large and diverse place that still comes up with some value in return for $700,000.
Almost-new two-bedroom and two-bathroom apartments are within reach in a well-established suburb like Parramatta and three-bedroom townhouses in Blacktown would also fit the budget.
For houses, one would need to settle for an older dwelling or travel further out from the city centre.
"18 Killarney Avenue, Blacktown, a mostly original, three-bedroom, one-bathroom home with 601 square metres of land sold for $670,000 in April and would provide ample opportunity for value adding.
"A house and granny flat, 21 & 21A Marsden Road, St Marys, which sold for $699,900 in April, has a potential rental income of $740 per week and yield of 5.5 per cent."
House and land packages in the new housing estates in the outer suburbs can be purchased for $700,000 but buyers will have to settle for a small 250 to 350 square metre block.
"Within the new estates you don’t need $700,000 to purchase land; for much less you can pick up a block to build your dream home."
While apartments are available close to the city centre within this budget, caution must be exercised.
"Within the inner suburbs of Sydney, buyers with a budget of $700,000 or less are limited to studio, one- or two-bedroom apartments.
"However, there is still a wide range of factors to consider such as location, size and quality of development, living area size, aspect and natural light, parking and many other fundamental aspects such as nearby infrastructure and potential oversupply issues within the immediate area."
Adelaide: best buys for $700,000
South Australia has managed the Covid-19 health situation as well as any state, recording only a few cases since April.
The city's median is still only $480,000, so a $700,000 budget could go a long way.
"This price point is considered to be representative of the middle and inner rings where suburban median house prices range between $600,000 and $800,000," the Herron White report stated.
"Owner-occupiers and cashed up investors are most active at this price point with low interest rates making a $700,000 purchase more accessible to the broad market."
The suburbs considered to have the best attributes for future price growth are Prospect in the north, Felixstow in the north-east, Cumberland Park in the south and Lockleys in the west.
Perth: best buys for $700,000
The report cites Western Australia's 11-quarter streak as the most affordable state to demonstrate how $700,000 could buy a pretty fetching home.
As an example, a luxury home in the outer suburb of The Vines sold in March for exactly $700,000.
"The 807 square metre allotment directly faces The Vines Golf Course and is improved with a circa 2007 home providing four-bedroom, two-bathroom accommodation with a double garage. Ancillary improvements include a pool and alfresco."
Closer into the city, a duplex or a villa could be picked up in a suburb like Como, which is just 8km south of the city centre.
One home on Ryrie Avenue sold in March for $735,000.
"It is a rear duplex unit constructed circa 1990, featuring three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double carport situated on a 616 square metre block," the report read.
"Internally, the dwelling provides 159 square metres of living area and has been renovated to a high specification with an open plan living area, marble flooring, high raked ceilings and updated bathroom and kitchen. Externally, the property has a spacious entertaining area with timber flooring, built in cabinetry and below ground pool."