It’s no secret – properties in many parts of Australia aren’t cheap and, despite recent market fluctuations, it’s still hard for buyers to move up the property ladder.

However, if you take a drive a couple of hours outside Melbourne, the total cost of a property can be less than the deposit required to buy one in the city.

The cheapest towns in Victoria are mostly found across the North-West, where sheep and wheat production maintain small local populations. It’s in these tiny, rustic inland towns where the median house prices are years off hitting $200,000. So, if you’re looking to get into the market without breaking the bank, the following towns are well worth checking out:

1) Ouyen

How far from Melbourne? 440km

Median house price? $125,000

Bordered on all sides by silos and wheat fields, this tiny town in the heart of Mallee lies roughly 100km south of Mildura.

Put on the map by its huge tree root in the centre of town known as the Mallee stump, Ouyen saw its claim to fame with Guinness World Record officials when it was named as the world’s biggest. 

2) Donald

How far from Melbourne? 280km

Median house price? $135,000

In-between Melbourne and Mildura, Donald is a light, friendly country town. Historic 1860s buildings make up its charm along Woods Street, the town’s main shopping strip.

Only 29 houses have sold in Donald over the past year, according to recent real estate data.

3) Nhill

How far from Melbourne? 375km

Median house price? $146,500

Beautiful gardens and stunning, wide-set boulevards make the drive into Nhill a truly enjoyable experience. Embedded within the sheep-grazing district of Wimmera, Nhil is but a short drive from the area’s lakes and national parks.

Over the past 8 years, Nhill has successfully become home to over 160 refugees from Myanmar, with the settlers now accounting for 18% of the towns workforce. Subsequently, this quaint, remote town has found its place in the media spotlight.

4) Dimboola

How far from Melbourne? 335km

Median house price? $155,000

Drive 30 minutes North-West of Horsham and you’ll find Dimboola, a township with a population of 1730. With the Wimmera River running along the south side of this town, swimming, boating and fishing are popular activities for locals.

Dimboola is home to a wide variety of properties, with older stock selling for $150,000.

5) St Arnaud

How far from Melbourne? 240km

Median house price? $157,500

Home to 2000 residents, Arnaud was once renowned for its thriving gold trade. Take a drive through the town and you’ll be struck with period weatherboard and post-war brick homes, with prices starting at just $80,000. In this town, it’s highly unusual for a property to sell for over $250,000.

6) Warracknabeal

How far from Melbourne? 340km

Median house price? $167,500

Despite being the heart of Victoria’s wheat farming, recent censuses have shown that the majority of Waracknabeal’s inhabitants work within healthcare as opposed to agriculture.

Drive 20km South-East of Warracknabeal and you’ll come across the small township of Sheep Hills, an area where an ongoing street art project has transformed disused silos into incredible paintings.

7) Edenhope

How far from Melbourne? 395km

Median house price? $168,750

Sitting 30km from the South-Australian border, Edenhope is a quiet town home to some 1000 residents. Surrounded by swamps and wetlands, this town also boasts an attractive 18-hole golf course.

The majority of properties within Edenhope are more than 1000sqm, with one of the biggest – a brick three-bedroom house – recently selling for $262,000.

8) Mortlake

How far from Melbourne? 220km

Median house price? $168,900

Mortlake is the closest to the coast of our top 10 cheapest towns. Only 50km from Warrnambool and deeply rooted with geological history, Mortlake is built on the base of a dormant volcano.

While mortgage repayments in Mortlake average $893 a month, this affordable town has also seen some huge sales. Earlier in 2018, a four-bedroom bluestone house with 37 paddocks sold for $3,158,000.

9) Charlton

How far from Melbourne? 250km

Median house price? $170,000

Situated on the Calder Highway between Mildura and Melbourne is Charlton, a cosy riverside town.

Charlton has had a hard few decades, with farmers feeling the brunt of both droughts and floods. The streets of Charlton are dotted with Californian-style bungalows, with new-build family homes selling for over $300,000.

10) Wedderburn

How far from Melbourne? 220km

Median house price? $172,500

Wedderburn is one of the smallest towns on this list, with a population of just 660. Land packages in this town start at $270,000, with older cottages commanding lower prices of $170,000. As a result, it’s no surprise to hear that over half of the town’s residents own their homes outright.