Despite house prices in many parts of Australia at record levels, with a bit of smart thinking it is still possible to beat the market.
House prices seemed to push ever upwards in 2015 with median house prices nationally surging by annual increase of 7.8 per cent in the year to December 2015, according to CoreLogic RP Data.
This tends to spook those looking for a new property. While we are starting to see some signs of a cooling property market, there are ways to avoid any headaches until things settle one way or the other.
1. Do your research
Inspecting an open home before doing your homework and profiling a suburb is not a good idea.
Sam Elbanna, the director of CPM Realty in Sydney, recommends protecting yourself from a poor decision by doing your research and buying in an area that has amenities such as shopping, restaurants, schools and transport.
“Research takes time, and requires both looking online to see what you can learn about the area you’re considering purchasing in, and also taking a physical walk around and making sure it feels like an area you want to live in,” Mr Elbanna says.
2. Consider investing
Rather than trying to buy when the market is really strong, consider looking further afield.
Investing in a rental property may be a great option, especially as interest rates haven’t been this low since 1968 and they look likely to remain firm or even drift lower in the new year.
We recently named the most affordable suburbs to buy houses and units within 10 and 20 kilometres of Australia’s capital cities, so these lists might be a good place to start.
3. House-sit instead
Growing numbers of Australians are taking time out of the market to save a larger deposit by house-sitting. Sites such as Mindahome offer a great way to save some cash while enjoying free accommodation in exchange for caring for someone’s home and perhaps pet while they’re away.
Sarah Morton works in the central business district of Sydney and is house-sitting in Woronora, south of the city. She has lived rent free for five years and saved thousands of dollars towards her first home.
4. Renovate where you are
Bathroom and kitchen makeovers can make you feel as if you’re living in a new home without the expense of moving.
Beaumont Tiles’ design specialist Christie Wood says luxury bathrooms can create a “no expense spared feeling” when the reality is often a lot different.
She recommends you choose one item, such as a beautiful feature wall or a freestanding bathtub to splurge on and make it a focal point. Select tiles and accessories that look expensive but are really quite affordable.
“Keep the rest of your tiling and accessories simple and go for budget-friendly options to complement your feature piece,” Ms Wood says.
5. Rent out a room
You could always make extra cash by getting a flatmate – or listing your place on Airbnb and moving in with friends or family for a while. I rent out a room at my place using Airbnb and find it’s a great way to earn some extra cash without having a permanent flatmate move in. It works by connecting travellers with available properties for short-term stays. Make sure the photos are top notch so your property looks as appealing as possible (and check with your home insurer first).
Have you found a way to get around high property prices? Tell us about it in the comments below.