John McGrath's Best Suburb Selections for 2024: Where to Invest Next
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John McGrath’s Best Suburb Selections for 2024: Where to Invest Next

A new market cycle is commencing as prices rebound in almost every market this Spring

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Oct 24, 2023 10:36amGrey Clock 3 min

Australian property industry veteran, John McGrath says the next major market upswing is “just over the horizon” amid strong auction clearance rates this Spring and rebounding prices in many areas.

Mr McGrath says he expects greater market activity in 2024 as inflation continues to trend down, thereby bringing an end to the fastest interest rate hiking cycle in decades.

McGrath has just released its annual market report, in which Mr McGrath names his top suburb picks for 2024 across the East Coast of Australia and why these areas are poised for price growth.

Kanebridge News profiles 10 of Mr McGrath’s top suburb picks for 2024 below.

Fairfield, Sydney  

Fairfield is one of Australia’s most multicultural communities, making it an attractive place to settle for some of the 715,000 net migrants expected to arrive in Australia over the next two years.

Mr McGrath says the Western Sydney International Airport will create a new local jobs hub when it opens in 2026. He notes that significant medium-density development “has led to affordable homeownership opportunities” for younger buyers, with the median apartment price just $410,000.


Chifley, Sydney

Mr McGrath says Chifley offers a great outdoorsy lifestyle with close proximity to national parks and reserves, walking trails, sports fields, an equestrian club and several golf clubs.

“The neighbourhood has had a facelift in recent years, with young family buyers replacing original houses with new, contemporary residences,” he says. “There is also a much higher-than-average number of semis and townhouses in Chifley, providing more affordable options for buyers.”


Point Cook, Melbourne  

Point Cook is a well-established suburb that is packed with amenities and offers great value, with a median house price of $760,000, according to Mr McGrath.

“Prices have remained resilient during the recent downturn, and rents have grown strongly in the past year,” he said. “The suburb … has a good mix of housing stock and its proximity to the water is a big drawcard for residents.”


Spotswood, Melbourne  

Spotswood has flown under the radar in the shadow of neighbouring hotspots Seddon and Yarraville, says Mr McGrath.

He points out that Spotswood has a solid track record of price growth and “strong growth fundamentals” for the future, including an expanding dining scene and good road and rail links.


Mansfield, regional Victoria

Mansfield was an extremely popular treechange destination during the pandemic, when many people left Melbourne and moved to the regions because they were able to work remotely.

Mr McGrath says there is still room for Mansfield home values to grow further, pointing out that “price growth has not yet reached the heights of high country lifestyle locations like Bright”.


Clontarf, Brisbane 

Located at the southern end of the Redcliffe Peninsula, Mr McGrath says Clontarf was one of the top growth suburbs in the Moreton Bay region in 2023. He says the suburb is highly desirable among family buyers due to its transport links to Brisbane, sprawling beaches and waterfront parks.


Southport, Gold Coast  

Southport offers a more affordable price point but the same attractive lifestyle amenities as Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach. “The plethora of high rises here makes it an attractive option for those who like to live close to the action,” Mr McGrath says.


Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast

Mr McGrath says Coolum Beach is known for some of the most consistent waves for surfers on the coast. He says the suburb is popular with family buyers and couples and sits in a central location within an easy drive of Sunshine Coast Airport and only 20 minutes south of Noosa Heads.


Moonah, Hobart

About 5km north of Hobart’s city centre, Mr McGrath says Moonah is “an up-and-coming suburb where you can still find houses for less than $650,000.”

He adds: “Its affordability and wide quiet streets make it a magnet for young families, as well as those buying their first home. Another drawcard is its thriving food scene clustered around Main Road, with renowned restaurants like St Albi.”


Riverside, Launceston 

On the banks of the Tamar River about 4km from the CBD, Riverside is appealing to family buyers due to its proximity to the city and four local schools.

Mr McGrath says the Riverside market provides the opportunity to buy homes with water views, or homes on larger parcels of land a bit further out where many residents keep horses and chickens.



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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 


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