Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's controversial answer to housing affordability was telling young people to forget about the big cities and move out to Tamworth, Armidale or Toowoomba. A new report says you won't need to move quite so far out -- but you still can't expect to find an affordable spot anywhere close to the city.
Domain's First Home Buyers Report, released Friday, has mixed news for aspiring home-owners. The good news is that you don't need to move to the country to find an affordable place to live; the bad news is that you'll have to make peace with moving away from the inner-city. As well as ranking the most affordable suburbs around the country for first home buyers, Domain outlines all the incentives, grants and other helping hands available to get young people into the housing market.
The main takeaway point? Forget the eye-watering and skyrocketing price tags in Sydney and Melbourne, and instead set your sights on Brisbane, Perth or Hobart.
"The greater Brisbane and greater Perth areas have the highest participation rate for first homer buyers," Domain's chief data scientist, Dr Nicola Powell told HuffPost Australia.
"Queensland had boost to their first home buyers grant last year, to $20,000. That's substantial money. There were more first home buyers in Queensland than NSW last year. That's an astounding stat when you look at the difference in population."
The pick of the list in Brisbane is the suburb of Brendale, 20 kilometres to the north of the city, where the median house price is $260,000. A price tag of $183,500 will get you a median unit in Mount Warren Park, 40km from the city.
By contrast, the most affordable suburb in greater Sydney is 65km from the city, on the central coast at Gosford. There, the median house price is $412,500. Ettalong Beach, also on the central coast, is ranked as the most affordable spot for units, with a median $301,500 price. The central coast dominates the "affordable" list for Sydney, with Domain listing the region as home to 17 of the top 20 most affordable house locations, and seven of the top 20 most affordable places to buy a unit.
For units in greater Sydney, Domain says first home buyers should be looking at suburbs like Leumeah, Mount Druitt, Richmond, Camden and Wiley Park. Sorry to say, but the closest "affordable" suburb to the Sydney CBD is Lakemba, at 16km from the city and $418,000 for a median unit. Many of the other locations on the list, however, are up to 80 or nearly 100km from the CBD.
There were only 17 suburbs in the greater Sydney region where houses were within the median price point of $469,000.
Looking at Melbourne, only 14 suburbs in the greater region were within the median house price point of $412,281. The most affordable suburb there, Millgrove, is 70km from the CBD but only $295,000 for a median house. In Albion, 15km from the city, a median unit will set you back $225,000.
"In every capital city, there is choice, and there are prices in the realm of first home buyers. In some states, the choice is smaller, but that's reflective of the point of entry," Powell said.
The second part of the report is about showing off the incentives and grants available to first home buyers. Different states have different schemes, with different values. Stamp duty concessions and first home buyers grants are common, with Queensland and Tasmania having lucrative $20,000 grants available, while the Northern Territory offers up $26,000. In the ACT, the grant is as low as $7000.
"It's not meant to be a negative report, but meant to highlight the initiatives and incentives for first home buyers. When you're buying, it can be overwhelming with all these terms and concepts and various initiatives different in each state, and new ones coming in," Powell said.
"Have a look at what those incentives are and apply early. Some are quite generous."
Powell suggested home buyers check out the government First Home Owner Grant website, for details on various schemes nationwide.
"Some of the suburbs are quite far away [from the city]. The more affordability, the further you get. But suburbs like Lakemba and Wiley Park, the most affordable suburbs close to the city for units, it's still a great location for amenities, public transport and infrastructure," she said.
"It is great for a first home buyer, particularly young professionals trying to access the market. Buyers are looking toward those areas."
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