IF you plan to buy property this year, put Parramatta high on your list.
"The older two bedrooms are hot — I can't list enough of them," Just-Think Real Estate Parramatta principal Edwin Almeida said.
"We sell them within a week, a week-and-a-half.
"The rental return is at $420 to $430 for a $370,000 [older] unit."
Arpan Dandothkar recognised the earning potential of homes at Parramatta in 2012 — and promptly acted on it.
"I've been living in the Parramatta area for eight years now and I think it's very convenient for everything — commuting, shopping — and it's obviously multicultural," Mr Dandothkar, 39, said.
The Indian-born IT professional from Harris Park purchased a two-bedroom investment property in Parramatta in December for $375,000.
"The majority of buyers in Parramatta are professional two-income earners [who] work in Parramatta," Mr Almeida observed.
Tim McKibbin, the chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of NSW, said: "If you can get onto a train system and get to your place of work quickly, then clearly that has a value too."
Parramatta was named the 46th fastest-growing suburb nationally in the Real Estate Investar report for December 1, 2012 — for one-bedroom units, that is.
Investar put the median listing price of a one-bedder at $340,000, worked out "using live on the market sales listing data", although Mr Almeida wondered about this.
"One bedroom units are just not moving in the last 12 months," he said.
Mr McKibbin said: "There's been no movement in Parramatta for 12 months. The [median listing] price is still $370,000."
In the quarter ended September 2012 there were 664 units and 1805 properties sold in Parramatta.
"The median price [for properties] has come off 1.8 per cent for the year," Mr McKibbin said.
"The market is extremely flat out there [but] I think we will start to see improvements in 2013.
"The green shoots I'm predicting are actually visible in the data I'm seeing here."
Mr Almeida said: "New units are especially struggling and no wonder when they start at $480,000 [for one bedroom].
"The litmus test for whether the prices hold will be when settlement starts occurring in February-March.
"I'm of the opinion prices will start to go backwards.
"You can buy older [roughly 10 year old] two-bedders for $450,000 to $470,000 with all the bells and whistles, so why would you get into a one-bedroom?
"Or, stretch yourself across the river and buy an older terrace or duplex for $480,000.
"You can save yourself $50,000 by buying an older two-bedroom unit in North Parramatta [which] is only a five minute walk into the CBD."