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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: dalekboy
2009-11-15 09:25 am (UTC)
Guessed you meant both of you.

I thought the place you were in was yours. Bugger!

I always get annoyed when the papers start saying prices will raise by 20% in the next couple of years. How?! Seriously, how would people be able to pay that much when so few can barely afford housing now?
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-11-15 09:29 am (UTC)
Well if they already own a house, then they've got the assets there to sell and buy upwards, as it were. If they don't already own a house, basically they're screwed.

I don't actively resent not owning my own home, but I do get very testy when people start lecturing me that I should buy a home, as if I'm not aware of the advantages, have never looked into it and am simply too dumb to buy one.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-11-15 09:46 am (UTC)
And while it's all very well to say to someone, "You should own your own home," with current prices, unless they are going to offer to give you the money, they should drink a big can of Shut-the-fuck-up!

We've got over $100K deposit, Sharon's on a good wage, and we've been looking since we moved here. Yes there's some we missed out on, and yes, maybe we could have looked harder, but realistically if we can't afford a place when we're starting out in such a good position, how are other people supposed to? Especially if they're already renting, given that rents are ridiculous as well.

The main reason we haven't bought is that the current prices create an unnacceptably high risk to our finances. We know our budget, and we look at how much we have to borrow, look at the current interest rate, then add 3%, because sooner or later it'll go up. And I'm sorry, but if we're paying $400K for a house, it shouldn't be a 'renovator's delight' and need another $40K spent on it to make it liveable.

Skullfuck that for a joke!
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-11-16 02:55 am (UTC)

Re: Equity

At the moment our rent is still less than most mortgages and we'e saving roughly $15-20K a year, so in that regard, we don't feel a great need to hurry. That said, it'd be nice to be in our own place where we can drill into walls and put up shelves, etc.

Not sure if it is a growth area, though with people buying even further out and working in Canberra, it probably is or has that potential.

Would also have to factor in the running costs of buying another car. We'd almost certainly want a second vehicle because if something goes wrong with the Belwood, Shaz has no way to get to work. Actually with Captain's Flat prices, we could probably buy her a new car with much better fuel efficiency. We don't have electric cars capable of 200km round trips yet, do we?
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[User Picture]From: wolflullaby
2009-11-16 06:41 am (UTC)
Wowee... I'm feeling incredibly lucky right now. Scott and I managed to get a nice 3x1 (powered workshop, bore, ducted evap aircon, nice garden etc) for $315,000. We got in just before they stopped doing the 100% loan, so we got it with zero deposit.

I think it was fairly cheap because it is in Gosnells, which has a fair amount of dodginess. We are lucky in that the street we live on is very quiet, and we've had no problems at all.

*sends positive house buying vibes in your direction*
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