As downsizers move out of their large homes or retire to the coast, Canberra families are lining up to get their hands on fixer-uppers in the areas they grew up in.
Large, older-style homes on big blocks are at the top of the list for many buyers keen to put down roots in the suburbs and raise their family.
Colin McIntyre from McIntyre Property said for many younger buyers, location was key.
“We’re seeing young families coming back to the places where they grew up to raise their own families,” he said.
“They want their kids to go to the school they went to, and to play footy on the same sports field they did.
“Many couples have reached that point in their lives where they want to settle down and have a house with a big yard, and most are looking for older-style homes they can renovate and put their own stamp on.”
Colin said as empty nesters moved out, the next generation was ready to move in.
“We’re finding there’s a lot of suburb infill and, as older people downsize, the younger families are jumping back in and filling the suburbs up,” he said.
“It’s the cycle of life and real estate, especially in areas like Tuggeranong and the Woden Valley.”
Block size and location are the “must haves” for family homes, but they come at a cost.
“We’re not talking about first home buyers, these are young couples or families looking to buy their second or third home so they have room to spread their wings and grow,” Colin said.
“They want to return to their roots, be near good schools, shops, services and also close to family members for that support.
“Younger buyers generally aren’t afraid to renovate if the location is right, especially in the Woden Valley area where the blocks are bigger.”
He said some blocks of land in newer suburbs were selling for about $2000 per square metre, whereas you could buy a house that “needs a bit of work” in an established area for “way less than that”.
“In the Tuggeranong Valley, families are buying older homes on bigger blocks and there’s plenty of scope for them to extend or renovate. They’re also getting spectacular views – even from some of the cheaper properties.
“Tuggeranong is growing and becoming more popular with families. It’s like a bottle of red – it just keeps getting better and better.”
With Aussies loving the outdoors, Colin said alfresco areas and decks were popular must-have features.
“In Canberra we entertain outside in the summer months and people love to have a warming fire pit or pizza oven in the backyard,” he said.
“If these little extras have been added to older homes, that’s great. If not, young people – especially tradies – love to do their own renovations.”
While buyers were lining up for the quintessential suburban family home, Colin said Canberra vendors could do some basic things to fetch the best possible price for their property.
“If you’re selling, it helps to do whatever you can within your budget to make your home more appealing to families,” he said.
“If the work’s done and the home looks Instagram-able, the buyers are going to fall in love and you’ll get a better price for it.
“The cheapest things that have the biggest impact are fresh paint, new carpet, LED lighting and new blinds.
“If it’s not in your budget to renovate the bathroom or kitchen, you can make them look schmick by cleaning the grout and upgrading to modern tapware – things like that.”
He said families were looking for “very different things” to investors who bought with capital growth and dollars in mind.
“Investors buy with their head, whereas families buy from the heart.
“There’s that nostalgia associated with where they grew up. They fall in love with a property where another family has lived and can see themselves raising their own family there.”
If you’re looking to downsize, and thinking of selling your family home, contact Colin and the experienced team at McIntyre Property to arrange a detailed property appraisal.