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Buying a home in the ACT made easier for some

By Alexandra Craig 2 June 2015 91

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Housing affordability is a hot topic at the moment. Yesterday it was reported that out of all the capital cities in Australia, Canberra experienced the biggest jump in home values in May.

I’m currently looking to buy my first home, and it’s not an easy task. I’ve experienced a lot of competitiveness both at open homes and even before an open home has taken place. I’ve seen sale listings go up online in the morning, with the open home listed for later in the week, and by the afternoon the property is already under offer.

I’m not sure whether this is entirely legal, but I’ve seen it happen on several occasions in the last 12 months. I’ve even arrived at an open home and the agent has told me the property has already been sold (which hasn’t been specified online), but that they’re still allowing people in to look around.

The majority of homes on the market are listed for auction which makes me a bit uneasy – my own inexperience, nerves, and pressure wouldn’t bode well at an auction for a house I really want. Generally I don’t even look at auction listings.

I recently decided to stop telling real estate agents I’m a first home buyer, as I found that this made them more likely to not return my calls and emails. I want to buy in an established suburb, which disqualifies me for the first home owner grant, unless of course I manage to find a vacant block of land and build on it, so I think agents were just assuming that without the grant I wouldn’t be able to buy anything in the areas I wanted and that answering my queries would be a waste of their time.

I see plenty of homes in established suburbs that I can afford without the grant (though the grant would make things easier). However, I never get the chance to put an offer in as it’s always snapped up before I even get to inspect the whole house. Of course, it would be much easier for me to buy in a new suburb off the plan, but I don’t want to do this. Call me crazy, but I don’t like the idea of committing to buying a house in a suburb that doesn’t exist yet, or is half finished. I like to know exactly what I’m getting into.

The ACT Budget will be handed down this afternoon and many first home buyers have their fingers crossed that the first home owner grant will be reverted to all homes in all suburbs. Given this change was implemented two years ago, I’m not holding my breath for things to go back to how they were.

It’s not all bad news though, with pre-Budget announcements showing that stamp duty will be reduced further with the buyer of a $300,000 home saving about $2900, the buyer of a $500,000 home saving $5900, and the buyer of a $750,000 home saving $7775.

In addition to this, first home buyers, eligible pensioners and people over 60 years of age will qualify for the concessional stamp duty rate of just $20.00.

While the stamp duty reductions aren’t exorbitant, I’m sure most will welcome the news. As for the concession stamp duty rate of $20.00, it’s hard to complain about that.

When did you buy your first home in Canberra? Or are you currently in the market for a new home?

What’s Your opinion?


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Buying a home in the ACT made easier for some
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supersal 10:16 am 24 Sep 15

I see there’s a few reccomendations for agents around. All I can add is that we found it time consuming keeping up with all of them, as they’re not about to sell you the house listed with someone else now, are they? They all seemed nice (our new best friend almost) but still they’re working for the seller and that’s the first problem.

We used a buyers advocate for this reason, she did all the hunting, calling, inspecting, negotiating, auction bidding for us. It was such a relief to actually talk honestly about prices and not have to ‘interpret’ the price the agents were quoting. Auctions especially, the agent said 550+ on a house in Curtin and it went for 690! that’s got to be illegal.
Look up Claire Corby of capital buyers agency, she has a facebook page too but the website is http://www.capitalbuyersagency.com.au, 11 out of 10 for her service. It was expensive but worth every single dollar.

vintage123 1:39 pm 13 Jul 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

vintage123 said :

Masquara said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Do you really think Canberra property prices will crash, despite several years of stagnation? If anything, we’re soon going to be getting to a point where we’re likely to see some price increases. My guess is two years from now we’ll be in a warm and rising market.

The public service isn’t going to be resurrected, and there’s nothing here for Chinese buyers other than the top properties in Forrest/Red Hill/Deakin – and of course there is about to be a crackdown and foreign buyers will have difficulty purchasing established houses. So, no, Canberra will flatten out and stay flat – other than in the top or very inner (phew!) suburbs.

Prices have already started to move a little upward in the last month. With todays announcement of a significant increase in Public Service recruitment, i beleive prices will continue to rise.

Additionally the traditional sydney buyers are being pushed from the Sydney market and are moving to coastal regions, north and south areas and into Canberra. Canberra holds one advantage on coastal regions in that it has greater job opportunities and high salaries.

My advice to those currently looking to enter the market is to grab something sooner rather than later.

I agree.

PS hiring freeze is over, and a number of government departments believe themselves understaffed, IT industry is booming locally and hiring, high prices in Sydney and Melbourne are dislodging people there.

We have a backlog of crappy units to work through, but time will fix that. Give it another couple of years and the market should start moving up fairly solidly.

I have removed units from my calculation, based on the assumption that there are two discrete buyers, those who are unit bound and those looking for house and land.

Freestanding house and land is moving up quite quickly. The mid to upper prices are moving quickly. Places like yarralumna have risen 30% in 12 months. Nicholls, Palmerston, Weston, Narrabundah etc are going up quickly.

Anywhere near a new suburb is rising due to the comparison between existing and new builds. So with Wright and Coombs coming on line, Existing weston creek is booming, with Moncrief and new Harrison selling, places like nicholls, palmerston and amaroo are moving quickly.

If your in the market my advice would be grab an existing place on a bigger block as these will be pushed higher buy the newer smaller blocks in the new suburbs. Also think about the fluffy clusters as the existing unaffected homes will boom once redevelopment commences.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:06 pm 13 Jul 15

vintage123 said :

Masquara said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Do you really think Canberra property prices will crash, despite several years of stagnation? If anything, we’re soon going to be getting to a point where we’re likely to see some price increases. My guess is two years from now we’ll be in a warm and rising market.

The public service isn’t going to be resurrected, and there’s nothing here for Chinese buyers other than the top properties in Forrest/Red Hill/Deakin – and of course there is about to be a crackdown and foreign buyers will have difficulty purchasing established houses. So, no, Canberra will flatten out and stay flat – other than in the top or very inner (phew!) suburbs.

Prices have already started to move a little upward in the last month. With todays announcement of a significant increase in Public Service recruitment, i beleive prices will continue to rise.

Additionally the traditional sydney buyers are being pushed from the Sydney market and are moving to coastal regions, north and south areas and into Canberra. Canberra holds one advantage on coastal regions in that it has greater job opportunities and high salaries.

My advice to those currently looking to enter the market is to grab something sooner rather than later.

I agree.

PS hiring freeze is over, and a number of government departments believe themselves understaffed, IT industry is booming locally and hiring, high prices in Sydney and Melbourne are dislodging people there.

We have a backlog of crappy units to work through, but time will fix that. Give it another couple of years and the market should start moving up fairly solidly.

vintage123 11:20 am 13 Jul 15

Masquara said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Do you really think Canberra property prices will crash, despite several years of stagnation? If anything, we’re soon going to be getting to a point where we’re likely to see some price increases. My guess is two years from now we’ll be in a warm and rising market.

The public service isn’t going to be resurrected, and there’s nothing here for Chinese buyers other than the top properties in Forrest/Red Hill/Deakin – and of course there is about to be a crackdown and foreign buyers will have difficulty purchasing established houses. So, no, Canberra will flatten out and stay flat – other than in the top or very inner (phew!) suburbs.

Prices have already started to move a little upward in the last month. With todays announcement of a significant increase in Public Service recruitment, i beleive prices will continue to rise.

Additionally the traditional sydney buyers are being pushed from the Sydney market and are moving to coastal regions, north and south areas and into Canberra. Canberra holds one advantage on coastal regions in that it has greater job opportunities and high salaries.

My advice to those currently looking to enter the market is to grab something sooner rather than later.

Ezy 10:48 am 13 Jul 15

Lazy I said :

Ezy said :

vintage123 said :

Hi Alexandra,

Give Justine burke a call, she may be able to find you a little place in Duffy if your interested.
http://www.luton.com.au/consultant?consultant_id=28

I have dealt with her before and can recommend. If you need a hand just let me know and I will call her for you.

Cheers vintage123

This is the area I am looking at – and in my travels, I have come across Justine and Tim a number of times. Absolutely lovely and very professional. The same can be said for the team at McGrath and Peter Blackshaw in Woden and also Michael Potter at One Agency.

Having said that, each agent knows what I am after, they know how long I have been looking and how frustrated I am getting – yet I don’t get any special treatment. Mainly because they aren’t working for me, they are working for the vendor. Their priority is to get the best price for their client – to them, it doesn’t make sense to avoid people bidding and most likely paying more than what the property is worth, just to do people like me a favour.

I know 4 agents personally, and it is the same story. They aren’t going to go out of their way for me in this current market.

By ‘out of the way’ it seems you want real estate agents to give you some kind of charity because you are being outbid in suburbs you want to buy in? What do you expect them to do? give it to you at a lower price than other buyers? Why?

You sold your house after the Fluffy buy back had already started (for more than you expected), and now you’re expecting to buy back into the market without that same increase in prices?

Incorrect. I sold my house prior to the Mr Fluffy buy back.
You mis-understood what I was trying to say, I am not expecting agents to hand me a house on a platter – what I was trying to say is that even though you may have contacts or have built a relationship with a certain agent, at the end of the day it’t not going to matter if you aren’t the top bidder.

Having said that, I would much rather buy a property from an agent I have dealt with or seen at many open homes before, than an agent who I am unfamiliar with.

As for being outbid – that is fair enough, I can cop that on the chin when I am being outbid on a house after I set my limit of what I think is the market value. It doesn’t bother me if people are paying more for these homes, they saw more value in the house than what I did.

So more recently there was a house on the market with a price guide of 540-590k. I checked it out before the open weekend and offered 590k – the agent/vendor wanted to go with the open home because they were ‘shell shocked’ at having that top end of the price reached straight away and wanted to see how the market would respond.

Fast forward another week (I think my offer was being used as a bargaining tool to get other offers up) and the agent mentioned that there has been a higher offer. The agent told me what that price was and if I could jump over that, then the house was mine. I offered $500 more and it was knocked back as I wanted to gain access to the yard one last time to gain a quote to remove one particular tree. The other offer was subject to finance. As far as I know, the house was sold for less than my highest offer.

JC 10:13 am 13 Jul 15

Happy_Dude said :

@AlexandraCraig, I’ve recently purchased a house in Kambah after a couple of months of intense research. You’re right to be wary of auction listings, however you’re chopping out a good many options so I’d suggest learning how to play the game.

I’m pretty sure the reason that most houses are listed for auction is that it puts all the cards in the vendor’s hands. If you make a pre-auction offer, it must meet all auction conditions – ie unconditional and no cooling off period (this required a solicitors form for some reason in the ACT). No doubt someone else will also make an offer and it’s very easy to wind up in a silent auction. You will have no way of knowing whether this is genuine or otherwise. Although far from ideal, you’ll quickly realise that an actual transparent auction is not a bad thing.

Interestingly, I was at an auction in Duffy where the top bid was clearly below the reserve. With the auction still open, the bidder was led away and returned 5mins later with a new bid $5k higher and bids from other parties requested. Obviously no-one bid further so the guy “won” the auction by outbidding himself by $5k. Struggling to see how that’s ethical, let alone legal.

I’d also recommend getting your own building and pest report as the vendor supplied one will be useless. There’s so many liability waivers and they appear to be done by unqualified building inspectors (“we are not electricians, plumbers, etc”) that the reports represent nothing more than a glorified condition report. This would be particularly relevant if there’s been some reno work. I had a plumbing issue within a week of settlement and the plumber said that the works associated with the new laundry were illegal. It’s the sort of issue that ought to be identified in a competent report.

Do you think your own indepenant report will be any better? It will be done by the same group of people with the same limitations etc.

As for bidding against yourself, all legal and not sure what the issue is about ethics. The options would be up the bit or have the place passed in.

Masquara 8:57 pm 12 Jul 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Do you really think Canberra property prices will crash, despite several years of stagnation? If anything, we’re soon going to be getting to a point where we’re likely to see some price increases. My guess is two years from now we’ll be in a warm and rising market.

The public service isn’t going to be resurrected, and there’s nothing here for Chinese buyers other than the top properties in Forrest/Red Hill/Deakin – and of course there is about to be a crackdown and foreign buyers will have difficulty purchasing established houses. So, no, Canberra will flatten out and stay flat – other than in the top or very inner (phew!) suburbs.

Happy_Dude 1:14 am 12 Jul 15

@AlexandraCraig, I’ve recently purchased a house in Kambah after a couple of months of intense research. You’re right to be wary of auction listings, however you’re chopping out a good many options so I’d suggest learning how to play the game.

I’m pretty sure the reason that most houses are listed for auction is that it puts all the cards in the vendor’s hands. If you make a pre-auction offer, it must meet all auction conditions – ie unconditional and no cooling off period (this required a solicitors form for some reason in the ACT). No doubt someone else will also make an offer and it’s very easy to wind up in a silent auction. You will have no way of knowing whether this is genuine or otherwise. Although far from ideal, you’ll quickly realise that an actual transparent auction is not a bad thing.

Interestingly, I was at an auction in Duffy where the top bid was clearly below the reserve. With the auction still open, the bidder was led away and returned 5mins later with a new bid $5k higher and bids from other parties requested. Obviously no-one bid further so the guy “won” the auction by outbidding himself by $5k. Struggling to see how that’s ethical, let alone legal.

I’d also recommend getting your own building and pest report as the vendor supplied one will be useless. There’s so many liability waivers and they appear to be done by unqualified building inspectors (“we are not electricians, plumbers, etc”) that the reports represent nothing more than a glorified condition report. This would be particularly relevant if there’s been some reno work. I had a plumbing issue within a week of settlement and the plumber said that the works associated with the new laundry were illegal. It’s the sort of issue that ought to be identified in a competent report.

Of course, in the current “you snooze you lose” market you’re experiencing (I had similar experiences), you may not have the luxury of giving an offer subject to building and pest, so you may be buggered either way. I think this may explain the popularity of building in a new suburb.

Lazy I 12:08 am 04 Jul 15

Ezy said :

vintage123 said :

Hi Alexandra,

Give Justine burke a call, she may be able to find you a little place in Duffy if your interested.
http://www.luton.com.au/consultant?consultant_id=28

I have dealt with her before and can recommend. If you need a hand just let me know and I will call her for you.

Cheers vintage123

This is the area I am looking at – and in my travels, I have come across Justine and Tim a number of times. Absolutely lovely and very professional. The same can be said for the team at McGrath and Peter Blackshaw in Woden and also Michael Potter at One Agency.

Having said that, each agent knows what I am after, they know how long I have been looking and how frustrated I am getting – yet I don’t get any special treatment. Mainly because they aren’t working for me, they are working for the vendor. Their priority is to get the best price for their client – to them, it doesn’t make sense to avoid people bidding and most likely paying more than what the property is worth, just to do people like me a favour.

I know 4 agents personally, and it is the same story. They aren’t going to go out of their way for me in this current market.

By ‘out of the way’ it seems you want real estate agents to give you some kind of charity because you are being outbid in suburbs you want to buy in? What do you expect them to do? give it to you at a lower price than other buyers? Why?

You sold your house after the Fluffy buy back had already started (for more than you expected), and now you’re expecting to buy back into the market without that same increase in prices?

Ezy 9:38 am 03 Jul 15

vintage123 said :

Alexandra and ezy, i am sure something will come up that fits the bill. In the meantime keep doing what your doing and keep a level unemotional head on your shoulders about it. Worse thing you could do is jump into something that cripples you finacially and emotionally.

f your are both on salary, have you considered the alternate plan of purchasing an investment home first and negative gearing it. Since july 2012 the proportion on first homebuyers who have turned from looking for a principle place of residence to purchasing a negative geared investment property has risen from 3% to 43%. Happy to provide more information if you require. Be aware of most articles floating around regarding negative gearing as most are spin. Its a lucrative incentive if you are on a reasonable salary, and you wish to purchase property to reduce your taxable income. As is margin lending if your preference is the stock market.

happy to help with info.

Thanks for the further advice – as mentioned, we were so close to buying a property the other day – but it wasn’t meant to be (even though the home still isn’t marked as UNDER OFFER and is going to be open again this weekend – Such a frustrating experience, I really want to tell everyone what happened here as everyone I tell can’t believe it, but I just don’t want to tarnish any agents names, reputations etc).

We have been toying with the idea of an investment property, but at this point we are just trying to concentrate on finding a house for us to live with the lifestyle that we are after (close to Stromlo MTB park, room for a veggie patch, room for a chicken shed, and somewhere for a future dog to run around).

vintage123 4:31 pm 02 Jul 15

Alexandra and ezy, i am sure something will come up that fits the bill. In the meantime keep doing what your doing and keep a level unemotional head on your shoulders about it. Worse thing you could do is jump into something that cripples you finacially and emotionally.

The price has come straight from the sellers who have just realised that rebuilding, or building in general, including renovations costs a fortune. I suspect they want out after they renovated, then were not satisfied, had quoting for knockdown rebuild done and were gobsmacked and have now realised to get the new house they want they will need mega bucks, so they are trying to sell this one at an unrealistic price. Soley to attempt to buy something newer. Probably over in wright.

If your are both on salary, have you considered the alternate plan of purchasing an investment home first and negative gearing it. Since july 2012 the proportion on first homebuyers who have turned from looking for a principle place of residence to purchasing a negative geared investment property has risen from 3% to 43%. Happy to provide more information if you require. Be aware of most articles floating around regarding negative gearing as most are spin. Its a lucrative incentive if you are on a reasonable salary, and you wish to purchase property to reduce your taxable income. As is margin lending if your preference is the stock market.

happy to help with info.

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