Champagne locations in Cairns are not really suburb based but are defined more in terms of their features. Upper end properties are generally located in elevated positions with views, beachfront or canal front locations, inner CBD quality apartment buildings and quality rural residential properties in Redlynch or the Northern Beaches.
Another market for champagne properties is Edge Hill/Whitfield. To purchase a cheap property in these locations requires compromise and as the attractiveness of the area is normally reflected in the underlying land value, the building is normally what you need to compromise on. You will need to look for something that undercapitalises the site or a house or unit that requires renovation or extension. Unfortunately, due to the flat market in Cairns, full renovations tend to add less than they cost, so often you are better buying an already renovated property instead of a renovator’s delight.
There is a real risk that buying something cheap in a good area is really just deferring expenses you will have to incur down the track. Although it may be a stretch, if it is your aim to live in a champagne location, it may be much wiser to purchase a completed project. Many renovators admit that they would never have spent the money they did if they were honest with themselves at the start. Your bank account and you marriage will probably thank you for it.