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ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF GETTING ON THE PROPERTY LADDER

By Jason Rooimans

Buying your first home in Australia can be extremely challenging. Banks are tightening their purse strings, prices in most capital cities are still on the rise, and young Australians are finding it more and more difficult to take that first step up the property ladder.

The Real Estate Institute of Australia’s pre-budget 2016-17 report shows the effects these difficulties are having. Back in 2009, over 32 per cent of new dwelling finance commitments were for first home buyers – in late 2016 that number was under 13 per cent.

If you’re struggling to get on the ladder there’s no need to despair – with a little creativity, you can still realize your property aspirations. To get inspired, check out our favorite creative methods of buying your first home.

ALTERNATE LOCATIONS

If you’ve got your sights set on making your first property a sprawling abode in the centre our biggest capital cities, it may be time for a reality check. In Sydney’s inner ring, for example, the average price is well out of the reach of most first home buyers, at an eye watering $1.13million, according to Housing NSW.

Get creative with the location in which you buy – often the further out of the city, the more affordable it may be. If you’re buying around Sydney, why not look south to Wollongong, a thriving small city with an average unit price of only $525,500 and annual growth of 17.9 per cent, according to Your Investment Property.

Buying property in Wollongong or other similar areas could be a smart, affordable way to the market as well as a solid investment in the long run. It’s possible to find similar areas nearby most other capital cities with an open mind and a little research.

RENTVESTMENT

If you read the advice above and felt that the moving away from work, family, and friends isn’t worth it just to buy property, then there’s another option for you. Rentvestment. What this involves is renting your primary residence and buying a home elsewhere as an investment property.

In the first three months of this year, almost one-third of first homes bought in Australia were purchased as investments, according to the NAB Residential Property Survey.

There are plenty of advantages to rentvestment. For one, you needn’t sacrifice on location. you can buy property wherever you can afford it and rent a home in an area you really want to live in. Secondly, when buying your property you can purely at an assets ability to turn a profit, which can help quicken your ascent up the property ladder.

Melburnians, for example, might want to consider the small town of Bendigo, about 150km west of the capital. Here, median property prices have increased by almost 15 per cent over the last 12 months, and you can purchase the average home for only $430,000, Smart Property Investment data shows.

BUYING TOGETHER

The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is certainly apt when it comes to the Australian property market. Buying with friends, a partner, your parents (or anyone else you can convince) is a brilliant way to share the load and half the cost of buying your first property.

However, you need to be very careful when buying with another. Be sure to talk to a conveyancer so that you fully understand the legal implications of what you’re doing. Draw up a co-ownership agreement, including details of how costs will be split, what happens in the event that one owner wants to sell and how decisions will be made about the property.

Consider which ownership structure is right for you. Joint tenancy means you both own the entire property together, and in the event of one purchaser’s incapacitation the other will receive full ownership of the property. This may be ideal if you’re buying with a spouse, partner or even parent. But it can make splitting the property difficult if you go your separate ways, so it may not be ideal for friends buying together.

Tenants in common are your other option. Structure your ownership this way and you’ll both own an agreed upon portion of the property, meaning that a buyer can be easily bought out if they decide to leave.

What we’ve touched on above are just a few examples of alternate methods of getting started in the property market. There are countless other tricks and strategies that may make purchasing your first home easier. To learn more, and get started, get in touch with a local real estate agent that you trust.

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