The crafty workarounds would-be buyers use to get into the market
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The crafty workarounds would-be buyers use to get into the market

First time buyers determined to enter the Australian property market are taking creative approaches as interest rates steady

By Bronwyn Allen
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 11:49amGrey Clock 2 min

Aspiring first home buyers are increasingly pooling their resources, adopting new strategies and making compromises to get themselves onto the property ladder, according to research from Westpac. About 56 percent of buyers surveyed are planning to buy their first property jointly with their partner compared to 40 percent three years ago. Three in four buyers say they are willing to compromise on location, up nine percent from three years ago, and 47 percent are willing to pay lenders mortgage insurance to buy their first home sooner.

Additionally, one in two first home hopefuls are considering ‘rentvesting’, whereby they purchase an investment property first ahead of a home for themselves. In this scenario, buyers typically continue renting in expensive lifestyle locations where they want to live and buy an investment property in more affordable locations, often on the outskirts of major cities or in regional areas.

The 2024 Westpac Home Ownership Report, released this month, is based on a survey of 2,015 Australians conducted in January. The report revealed increasing intentions to buy among all types of buyers, with 44 percent intending to buy in the next five years, up from 35 percent in July 2023. This may reflect expectations that interest rates have peaked, with the Reserve Bank keeping rates on hold since December.

Among first home buyers specifically, there was a slight decline in purchasing intention over the next five years, with 86 percent delaying buying a home due to cost-of-living pressures. The survey also found that more people are planning to buy an investment property, which is reflected in recent finance data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing a 20 percent increase in the value of investor loans issued over the past year. Additionally, more people are planning to upsize their homes or renovate their existing homes.

Westpac managing director of mortgages Damien MacRae said first home buyers “are becoming more ruthless with their goals”. “They understand it’s a big task, but they are determined to break into the market and are willing to compromise to get there,” Mr MacRae said.

Buyers still prefer houses, but there has been a five percent decline in this preference since 2021 and a seven percent increase for apartments. Preference for a townhouse, or house and land packages, has increased markedly. “Buyers are casting their expectations wider, willing to compromise on location and are forgoing everyday luxuries like food delivery. They are also more inclined to relocate and move to apartment living.”

The latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index released this week shows the ‘time to buy a dwelling’ index rose 4.9 percent to 77.8 out of 100 this month, which is a 15-month high, but still relatively weak overall. Buyer sentiment is notably stronger in Victoria at 84.3, with Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan pointing to softening home values over the past four months.

In contrast, the NSW index is at 73.3 out of 100, likely reflecting affordability challenges in Australia’s most expensive market. “Nearly 70 percent of consumers expect housing prices to continue rising in the year ahead,” Mr Hassan added.

 



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Australia’s top 10 most affordable regional property markets investors should watch

Whether you prefer the country or the coast, there are plenty of east coast options for cashed up buyers

By Bronwyn Allen
Fri, Apr 19, 2024 3 min

There are 10 local council areas scattered along the East Coast of Australia that offer both affordability and solid fundamentals for sustainable future growth, according to the research team at residential property network, PRD. The areas have been selected based on five criterion. They are affordability – defined as a median house price below $600,000, rising house values, strong rental yields to encourage investment, a strong pipeline of residential, commercial and infrastructure projects to facilitate local economic development, and low unemployment.

Here are Australia’s 10 most affordable regional property markets with great future potential.

Mackay, QLD

Mackay is a tropical coastal area located in north Queensland. It’s known for its closeconnection to the Great Barrier Reef. The median house price is $462,750, up 8.9 percent in 2023. Mackay attracts a lot of interstate migrants and is home to more than 120,000 people. It has a healthy economy with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent and $1.7 billion worth of projects due to commence this year.

Toowoomba, QLD

The Toowoomba median house price was up 10.9 percent in 2023.

Toowoomba is located west of Brisbane and is known for its Victorian buildings, street artand surrounding national parks. The median house price is $560,000, up 10.9 percent in 2023. The city has a population of more than 180,000. The unemployment rate is 4 percentand there is $6.1 billion in projects commencing in 2024.

Townsville, QLD

Townsville is a coastal city in north-eastern Queensland. The median house price is $420,000, up 5 percent in 2023. It is home to more than 200,000 people. Unemployment is very low at 2.5 percent and there is $3.2 billion of projects commencing this year.

Dubbo, NSW

Dubbo is located west of Newcastle in the Orana Region and is home to the Western Plains Zoo. The median house price is $530,000, up 11.6 percent in 2023. The population has exploded in recent years to more than 56,000 people. The unemployment rate is just 2.2percent and the economy is thriving. There is a pipeline of $4.7 billion in projects commencing this year.

Tamworth, NSW

Located in north-east NSW, Tamworth is known for its popular annual Country Music Festival. It’s also the largest retail centre for the New England and Northwest Slopes regions. The median house price is $490,000, up 14 percent in 2023. With a population of more than 65,000 people, the economy is strong with unemployment of just 2 percent and $112.4million worth of projects commencing this year.

Griffith, NSW

Located west of Sydney and northwest of Canberra, Griffith is known for its prime produce production and wine cultivation. The median house price is $531,000, up 2.1 percent in 2023. Griffith’s population is about 27,000 people. The city boasts high economic resilience with a 2 percent unemployment rate and $258.7 million in projects in the pipeline.

Ballarat, VIC

Ballarat, Victoria

Ballarat is a 1.5hour drive west of Melbourne. It’s popular with city commuters who move here for housing affordability and a relaxed lifestyle with easy access to the city via train. The median house price is $570,000, down 4.2 percent in 2023 but up 92.9 percent over the past decade. The city has the third highest population in Victoria at about 118,000. Ballarat has an unemployment rate of 3 percent and a total projects pipeline worth $2.3 billion for 2024.

Shepparton, VIC

Shepparton is a rural area about two hours north of Melbourne. It is popularly referred to as the food bowl of Australia. The median house price is $475,000, up 4.4 percent in 2023. The population is about 70,000. The unemployment rate is just 2 percent and there is $1.8 billion in projects for 2024.

Wodonga, VIC

Wodonga is located on the border of NSW on the southern side of the Murray River. It is approximately 320km from Melbourne and 345km from Canberra. The median house price is $567,250, up 4.7 percent in 2023. With a population of about 44,000, the city’s jobless rate is 3 percent and there is $388.2 million in development set to commence in 2024, primarily new infrastructure.

Burnie, TAS

Burnie is a bustling port city located in Emu Bay in Tasmania’s north-west. Overlooking beaches and parklands, the area is known for its rich agriculture and mining projects. The median house price is $435,000, up 3.6 percent. Despite a rising population, the unemployment rate is falling and is currently 5.6 percent. In 2024, Burnie’s project pipeline is valued at approximately $1.6 billion. A significant portion is commercial development, primarily renewable energy projects.

MOST POPULAR
35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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