The housing boom may be over, but house prices in many Australian capital cities have continued to rise.
SO YOU have $300,000 to spend on a property.
Chances are you are debating whether to buy a fibro shack in a one-pub town, a Sydney car park or a new home in a masterplanned estate a good 50km outside of the city.
Needless to say, it wasn’t always this way.
Back in 1975, the average house cost $28,000 in Sydney and the average annual salary was $7618 — a little more than 3.5 times an income.
Applied to today’s average wage of around $75,000 and buyers will need to find a property for under $300,000 to avoid spending any more than four times their annual wage.
Impossible? Not according to the property experts news.com.au spoke to who said knowing where to look was the key to finding hidden treasures.
“You can still find something for $300,000 on a small block of land in parts of Australia,” property lecturer Peter Koulizos said.
“It may not be your dream home, but you can work towards that.”
Mr Koulizos encouraged house hunters to look to coastal areas that were yet to gentrify.
He nominated Christies Beach and O’Sullivan Beach in South Australia as good buys.
This three-bedroom home at Deemster Avenue in Christie’s Beach, for example, is listed for between $249,950 and $269,950 and is within walking distance of the beach.
Founder of First Home Buyers’ Australia advisory group Taj Singh suggested looking at the Western Australian towns of Rockingham and Mandurah (50km and 70km south of Perth respectively), which offer “great lifestyle choices”.
This freestanding street frontage villa, at Simpson Avenue in Rockingham, is listed at a “negotiable” $305,000.
If you need to be closer to a capital city for work, then you could do worse than Corio, outside of Geelong. This home on Purnell Road is close to the water and within train commuting distance of Melbourne. It is priced between $280,000 and $310,000.
Mr Koulizos is also a fan of Frankston. It is close to both the Mornington Peninsula, the beach, and within commuting distance of Melbourne. This villa unit on Lee Street is walking distance to the station and is advertised for between $285,000 and $300,000.
Both Mr Singh and Mr Koulizos recommend searching in large regional centres where capital growth is more likely.
“Ballarat is the most obvious one for Victoria with some very affordable housing a strong population base of 100,000 people,” Mr Singh said.
This two-bedroom home on South Street, in the heart Ballarat offers cathedral ceilings, floorboards, and is priced between $289,000 and $309,000.
In the Hunter Region of NSW, Maitland and Singleton are full of workers’ cottages ripe for a modern facelift.
This two-bedder on Charles Street in Maitland sold last month for $262,500. It has 10-foot ceilings and original timber weatherboards.
Likewise, in Queensland, there are plenty of charming cottages in centres close to Brisbane. This workers’ cottage in Ipswich, on 607m2 of land, has two bedrooms and is asking for offers of more than $279,000.
NORTH OR SOUTH HOBART
The Apple Isle has a large swath of affordable properties, and Mr Koulizos recommends trying to buy in north or South Hobart. You may have to sacrifice on space or opt for a period-style unit instead of a house, however, as prices are higher in Hobart than regional centres.
This one-bedroom cottage in Pitt Street, North Hobart, sold for $285,200 in February.
Meanwhile, this one bedroom unit in a period residence on Campbell Street in central Hobart is asking for offers higher than $260,000.
The important thing to remember is to look for good investments.
“Many of our clients are buying solid investments that will appreciate in value in areas where they can afford,” Mr Singh said.
“Then they are renting closer to their work, sometimes in another city.”
The trick to working with such a small budget is to compromise on the house but not the location, Mr Koulizos said.
“Get a place in a good regional area with infrastructure, such as a university or hospital, that is likely to increase in value.”
Or you could buy a house like this in Strathfield in Sydney for $1.6 million. Your choice.
Follow Johanna on Twitter @johannaleggatt