Tuesday 12 April 2011
If you’re looking to buy your first property in the next year or two, it would be easy to be feeling a little grumpy of late. According to recent reports, housing affordability has hit an all-time low in Australia.
But before you start conjuring up images of another decade of share-house living (or worse, living with your parents well into their golden years) never fear. Chances are you can still get into the property market—you just have to be smart about it.
How? By being realistic about what you can afford, starting small and thinking outside the box. It might mean saying goodbye to the dream of that nice designer warehouse apartment in the inner city as your first purchase, but there are still plenty of opportunities if you know where to look.
Three things to consider:
1. Know your limit. There’s no point aiming for a property that’s going to cost so much you’re pouring every cent into your mortgage or not sleeping at night worrying that interest rates are going to go up. Do your sums and work out what you can really afford, making sure you account for all the costs around buying property—like stamp duty, for starters. And of course, put your saving boots on.
2. Think outside the box. If you can’t afford your dream property in your dream suburb, think about all your other options. Are there any other suburbs you could see yourself living in the short term? Could you downsize? Could you save more by waiting another year to buy? Or would you consider buying an investment property somewhere, rather than a place to live in yourself?
3. Research like there’s no tomorrow. Gone are the days of picking up the paper on a Saturday morning then driving around all day visiting open houses. Websites like realestate.com.au and Domain make it super easy to search for property anywhere, in any price range. You could also check out mortgage comparison websites like Mozo or RateCity to help you find the best deal for you. Consider a mortgage broker if it all seems too hard, just make sure they disclose any commissions they may receive. A small difference in interest rate can make a massive difference to the amount you pay back over the life of your loan.
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