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Houses [Nov. 15th, 2009|07:21 pm]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

As many of you are aware, we rent in Canberra at the moment, mainly because houses prices are insane. We've kept our eyes on the market and prices have come down somewhat, to the point where they are now nearing a level where we might be able to buy here.

Hopefully once the first homebuyer's grant has gone bye-byes, prices will settle down a bit. As is fairly common knowledge, when the grant was introduced, and increased, prices jumped up by a margin significantly larger than the grant. We're not expecting prices to drop by the same amounts they went up by, but hey, even a drop of $10K makes life that bit easier.

So, we're waiting around to see what prices are doing by the middle of next year. Oh if before then the perfect house pops up at a price that won't have us dreading when interest rates have inevitably increased by another three percent, we'll certainly go for it, but in the meantime we're just keeping an eye on the market, investigating the occasional place, etc.

The big issue is, of course, that we have four people who need housing, and we hope to have a fifth one at some point. We're not after a mansion, a decent sized three bedroom place would suit us. The problem is, at our upper limit, which is a smidge under $400K, it's rare to find decent sized houses. What we tend to find is three bedroom dogboxes, with no insulation, in need of work.

Occasionally a gem pops up, but they are rare, and by gee you have to be fast to even get a look in. One thing that gives us an advantage is that we don't care about ensuites, air conditioning, and all that other stuff that some people seem to feel they can't live without. But even then, it's really hard to find a worthwhile house.

So we've been looking at the other options.

Forty-five mintues from Civic is Captain's Flat. It's a small town of 550 people. It's also tantalisingly affordable. How affordable?

We can get the sort of three bedroom place we'd be happy to settle for in Canberra for close to $400K, for around $225K at Captain's Flat. At the other end of the scale, for $370K we could have four bedrooms, three bathrooms, garage with an extra room on top, and a national park literally at the back fence. For $420K we currently get four bedrooms, space for three cars, solar power(!), oh and 185 acres, a 150 of which is native bush.

Okay, we don't want or need three bathrooms, and neither do we need space for three cars, though if we moved out there we'd probably buy a second car as Sharon's work car. But y'know, a fourth bedroom would be handy. And of course I'd hate having natural bush on our property or at the back door.

Then there's also the option of buying land and building something that suits us. There's some quite reasonably priced blocks both in the town itself, and just outside it. Okay, building is a hassle on all sorts of levels, but it does give one the option of contructing a place that's eco-friendly from the start, rather than having to adapt an existing house.

At the same time, we really like living in Canberra itself. We have friends here. We like the feel of Canberra, the bike paths, and of course living in Canberra puts Sharon closer to her work.

But then again, shazgirl is the one who started looking at Goulburn as an option, which is even further away than Captain's Flat. People working in Canberra are starting to look at Goulburn for houses because it's affordable. I don't know if they've done the math on the costs of fuel and basic car maintenance with a daily 200km return trip and factored that in to the equations, but it's becoming common.

I'd prefer to stay here, I genuinely like Canberra, but I love the idea of Captain's Flat, too. Semi-rural, the possibility of natural bushland on or very near our property, and let's face it, it'd be really nice to have a mortgage that is at a reasonable level so we can afford to do the things we like to do - like eat.

So that's where we're at. Waiting, watching prices, and considering going bush if Canberra wants to be stupid about prices.

As always, we welcome the input and experience of our friends and loved ones.

[User Picture]From: purrdence
2009-11-15 08:35 am (UTC)
One of the reasons Drhoz and I ended up building is that we considered buying existing housing, found a lot overpriced and what was in our price range would have meant we would have had to have renovations done at some point. That would bump the overall cost up in the end.

Building from scratch meant we got the house we wanted from the begining, more or less. Admittedly, it limited potential places to live a bit (as we had to go where the land was), but we were incredibly lucky and got a decent size and location.

But we're also not planning on moving.. oh.. ever, ever again.


Is there not a train near Captain's Flat? What's the schools like?

Of course, you *could* move to Perth, but the houses here are even more expensive...
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-11-15 09:21 am (UTC)
Yeah, a chunk of the houses in Canberra would require at least money spent on insulation, not to mention any other jobs that needed it. At least if we buy in Captain's Flat, we'd have the spare cash to get work done.

Last train for Captain's flat ran in 1968. There's the tiny local primary school, and a bigger school a bit further away.
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[User Picture]From: purrdence
2009-11-15 11:43 am (UTC)
Bugger about the lack of train. :( Small primary school could be a good thing (thinking more individual attention).

You say 200 km round trip, but time-wise what would that mean? If it's 100 km/h most of the way, that wouldn't put it more than a hour's drive and I can think of lots of places that you have to commute for an hour and you're still in the metro area.

Y'know, if you got the place with the room over the garage, you could set up your base for world domination...

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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-11-15 10:30 pm (UTC)
My thinking on the school is the same. My main thoughts on the 200km round trip is actually the expense of fuel and maintenance of a vehicle that's doing nearly 50,000 kms a year. If you're moving somewhere to save money, that expense needs to be factored in, otherwise you may be dealing with a false economy.

I've already got my semi-underground lair, so I'm well on my way to world domination.
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