When you cruise down West Coast Highway, passing all those spectacular million-dollar-plus properties, it's easy to think a home in a beachside suburb is out of financial reach for a first-home buyer.
The good news is you don't have to be a millionaire to afford a coastal lifestyle in Perth - first-time buyers simply have to know where to look.
Value in Rockingham
For RE/MAX WA managing director Geoff Baldwin, he thinks first-home buyers should look south, to Mandurah and Rockingham.
"I believe that Rockingham is exceptional value at present being close to the coast, a 45-minute train ride from the CBD, prices starting from low to mid $200,000, well-built homes and excellent infrastructure, shops, medical, etc," Mr Baldwin said. "Rockingham also offers a good selection of quality properties that are positively to neutrally geared."
Real Estate Institute of WA president Hayden Groves agrees that Rockingham will perform well in coming years. "Rockingham is very cheaply valued at the moment," he said.
"You can get an apartment for around $300,000 and a house for under $400,000. Also look to the other suburbs around Rockingham, including Golden Bay, Port Kennedy, Waikiki and Falcon."
While first-home buyers could also find properties further north, around Quinns Rocks, the infrastructure and growth there wasn't as good as its southern counterparts, he said.
Domain listing: 206/1 Empress Corner, Rockingham WA 6168
Century 21 Coast Realty Mandurah sales manager John Phillips said the Mandurah region had a number of properties in beachside suburbs available from $300,000.
"Halls Head and Falcon are great family beachside suburbs with schools, shops and everything close by," he said. "Halls Head has had a huge market adjustment over the last few years but with two new shopping areas and no more land releases, this area will become highly exclusive and very sought after."
Mr Phillips said Secret Harbour was also a good pick, with its new shopping centre and modern homes. "Singleton offers value for money, good-sized blocks and is very quiet, and Madora Bay has quality homes and a very sought-after beach," he said.
Domain listing: Villa 11/16 Dolphin Drive, Mandurah WA 6210
For those wanting to search closer to the city, Peard Real Estate chief executive Peter Peard said Scarborough was definitely a hotspot that would jump in price over the next 10 years.
"If you are buying a little unit, look to Scarborough, with all the new developments and government initiatives like the new swimming pool and all the infrastructure going in there," he said.
"In Trigg, which is next door, the average house is well over a million dollars while Scarborough is only about $600,000. Because prices have dropped, you could buy a one-bedroom apartment that would have been about $350,000 and pick it up now for around $275,000."
Domain listing: Scarborough property
Try established areas
ACTON Real Estate chief executive Travis Coleman advised buyers to look at established areas that were undergoing zoning changes, which would allow for new developments on small green-title or survey-strata lots.
"Typically, people aspire to live near the ocean, which is why we have the north-south development span along the coast," he said.
In the north, Alkimos was seeing increased activity due to its affordability and the infrastructure being built around well-designed subdivisions.
More centrally, Hamilton Hill was an older suburb that was often overlooked, he said. "The Coolbellup-Hamilton Hill area is really going through a change and we have been seeing a number of unit developments. It's close to the beach, you are not that far from the city and you're near Fremantle."
Domain listing: 1/8 Keel Lane, Alkimos WA 6038
First Home Buyers Australia co-founder Taj Singh believes the northern coastal suburbs provide great opportunities for those chasing their first home.
"With a lot of the new housing estates currently being built on Perth's coastline, a lot of first-home buyers are being attracted by the beach lifestyle - with most of these estates being within walking distance to Perth's beaches," he said.
Justin O'Connell, of Century 21 Gold Key Realty, believes first-home buyers can do well in Mindarie, Quinns Rocks, Jindalee, Butler and Clarkson, with great beaches in the area and a wide variety of properties from apartments, villas and houses on cottage lots to five-bedroom homes.
"Affordability is still very good - the further north you go, the cheaper it gets," he said. "If the budget is under $400,000, you would probably be looking on the east side of Marmion Avenue. But it is a pretty narrow stretch through Quinns Rocks, Mindarie and Jindalee compared to other coastal suburbs in the south, so even if you are on the eastern side of Butler or Clarkson, it's still only 3 kilometres to the coast.
Mr O'Connell said the coastal suburb to watch was Alkimos, north of Jindalee. "There is a lot of infrastructure and development planned and as we see with these suburbs, as they develop more, the prices go up," he said.
Domain listing: 18 Alexandria View, Mindarie WA 6030
The story Perth's best coastal suburbs for first-home buyers first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.