South-western Sydney doesn’t get a lot of great property press. It’s more commonly known as a crime hot spot, The Sydney Morning Herald’s property editor Stephen Nicholls says.

But Australian Property Monitors senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson says parts of the region are becoming increasingly sought after because of how much bang you get for your buck.

Take Macquarie Fields, for example. It has an unemployment rate of 11 per cent – double the national average – and was the scene of riots in 2005.

Yet it was one of the strongest Sydney suburbs for price growth last year, with a 15 per cent jump in the median house price.

“It’s had both a high number of sales and high price growth,” Dr Wilson says.

Even with the growth, it’s relatively cheap, with its $312,000 median house price, keeping in mind Sydney’s overall median of $657,000.

“Macquarie Fields is very competitive, with 103 sales from 106 listings over the last 12 months … that’s basically one property for every buyer.”

Agents confirm that first home buyers are heading there looking for an affordable entry point into the Sydney market.

Agent Les Sakis says “buyers came from everywhere” to look at a three-bedroom home he has just sold for $330,000 at 14 Gentian Avenue, Macquarie Fields.

“We had people from Waterloo, Parramatta and out Penrith way,” Mr Sakis says. “You probably can’t get a studio for that sort of money in Waterloo, let alone a house. And no one’s mentioned the riots.”

In the same street at No 26, another three-bedder is still available for $324,950.

“We’ve had tons of interest,” says Wael Elmir of All Property People. “‘Macquarie Fields is nothing like what it used to be as we’re seeing a lot of people coming from outside the area.”

He says buyers include investors snapping up properties achieving high rents but are mainly first-home buyers trying to get a foothold in the Sydney market.

“It’s close to Glenfield station, which has minimal stops to the city, so you can be at Central in 40 minutes,” Mr Elmir says. “And it’s a lot cheaper than Glenfield, so buyers love that.”

APM data shows that the median house price in Glenfield is a whopping $86,500 more expensive, at $399,000. There have been 64 sales there over the past year from 89 listings, but no price growth.

Ingleburn is cheaper and more popular with its median house price of $347,750. There were 122 sales from 173 listings. Ingleburn house prices have jumped 6.8 per cent over the year.

Have you bought property in Macquarie Fields recently?

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