It has just one sealed road, a yacht club with no boats, and many of its original buildings are on stumps or dug into the side of a hill. But the small town of Andamooka has another standout feature.
With a median house price of just $20,000, the South Australian town – located approximately 600km north of Adelaide – is the cheapest place to buy a home in Australia.
According to CoreLogic, property prices dropped 42.2 per cent over the past year and a record 85.7 per cent in the past five years, when homes sold for an extra $119,860.
Recent home sales included a three-room shack-style home on 1884sqm which sold for just $10,000 in July, last year and a seventies dugout which sold last October for $16,000.
Meanwhile, the average Adelaide house costs $459,000, while units transact for around $324,000, according to CoreLogic.
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Originally established as an Opal mining settlement, Andamooka sales specialist Sonia Lawrie of Andrews Property said the town’s fortunes had followed the ups and downs of nearby Roxby Downs, which had also recorded a drop in prices due to the end of the mining boom.
“What happens in Roxby Downs effects Andamooka as many of the locals work out there,” she said.
“At the moment, house prices in Andamooka are quite low but they have been slowly going back up.
“The Roxby market is also still quite slow but last year, we did see an increase in value of about $40,000.
“It may not seem that much, considering how much prices dropped off when they announced the opal cutting wasn’t happening, but the positive thing is that prices are moving up for owners.
“There’s also a lot of positivity coming from BHP and things are happening in the community. But despite all that, many buyers have problems with finance due to current lending restrictions.”
Craig Sumsion of Raine & Horne Roxby Downs, who is selling one of Andamooka’s most iconic landmarks – The Long Bus – said the town offered a variety of homes to buyers seeking an escape from the rat race.
“Andamooka doesn’t have the kind of dugouts Cooper Pedy has but there are a few underground homes around, as well as a lot of older transportable homes,” he said.
“There are also some houses that have been built from old, local stones, two-room shacks and more modern four-bedroom, two bathroom homes. So all in all, the town does offer a variety of homes for bargain prices.”
Mr Sumsion said Andamooka currently had around 300 residents, many of which lived there infrequently.
“There are people who come up here a few months a year, usually during the cooler months, for opal mining,” he said.
“Most of them are retirees or the occasional farmer, as well as people who work at the mine sites at Roxby and don’t mind the commute.
“So they are the kinds of people that buy here. They want something cheap because they know they are only here temporarily.”
However, with work at Olympic Dam ramping up, Mr Sumsion said the town could see an increase in interest for property.
“The prognosis for the market is a lot better than what it has been,” he said.
“There are more talks of projects happening out at Olympic Dam which we hope will bring more people into town.
“After all, it’s only 30km from Roxby Downs and offers cheaper option for people looking to buy or rent.”
Australia’s top 10 cheapest places to buy a home.
1. Andamooka – South Australia
Median sale price: $20,000
2. Balgal Beach – North Queensland
Median sale price: $25,000
3. Curlwaa – New South Wales
Median sale price: $30,0000
4. Collarenbu – New South Wales
Median sale price: $35,000
5. Meekatharra – Western Australia
Median sale price: $50,0000
6. Dolphin Heads – Queensland
Median sale price: $51,0000
7. Leonorra – Western Australia
Median sale price: $51.5000
8. Cunnamulla – Queensland
Median sale price: $52,0000
9. Tingha – New South Wales
Median sale price: $52,5000
10. Norseman – Western Australia
Median sale price: $52,800