Home loan comparison starts with talking property at the barbie

Family barbecue
Photo by: Priscilla Du Preez

One thing that’s gone missing from our average week is small talk at the barbecue. 

The chatter many Sydneysiders engage in centres on property. It’s a bit of an obsession around these parts, and I know it’s not foreign to those in other major capitals, either.

What often comes up is how high prices are and if those looking to “get in” will ever have a chance to secure a home loan and actually buy. This sort of banter travels around barbies as much as weekend footy analysis. 

So in lieu of that lively verbal grilling right now, I’ve reconstructed a little property talk below. After all, shopping around for property and finding the right home loan to pay for it, usually starts under the sun with family and friends in the backyard.

Uncle Bob: “So I just read there are ways to break into the property market with as little as $700,000.”

Nextdoor neighbour, Jim: “No way, not possible. Where?”

Uncle Bob: “Northwest Sydney apparently ... Box Hill. There are ready-to-build blocks there. One sale of a 306 square metre block just went for $655,000. 

Jim: “Yeh?”

Uncle Bob: “And not too far away in Marsden Park someone got a 250 square metre block for $542,000. They’re off the plan initially, see, so they start at quite low prices.”

Jim’s wife, Tina: “Sure, but who wants to start with a new block, there’s so much to do. I’d rather buy a place that’s ready to move into.”

Uncle Bob: “Well the mob that did the report says in suburbs like these there are new builds as well ... two-bedroom, two-bathroom terraces and the like. One in April was $685,000, I think. Penrith too, one went for about $675,000. A brick, three-bedroom, one-bathroom and even had a pool!”

Jim: “I did see if you go out west a bit there are some more affordable options. Too many people are focused on that inner ring of 20 kilometres from the CBD. I mean think about Parramatta, you might not get a house there but I’m certain you could get a unit for under $800,000. I think smaller ones for under even less ... that’s a step into the market at least.”

Tina: “Really? Maybe we should invest Jim. Have you heard about anything outside of Sydney?”

Uncle Bob: “Well you could look at Coffs or maybe Wollongong. I mean the Gong is an easy train ride into Sydney.”

Tina: “It’s probably not even an issue anymore with work from home.”

Uncle Bob: “Well, I’ve read that older two-bedroom units are going for between $600,000 and $700,000 there. Newer ones are only a bit more. If you’re a first-time buyer you just need to go a suburb or two over from the most popular ones.”

With a sausage sandwich, close family friend, Mike: “You guys talking property?”

Jim: “Yep. Where do you live Mike?”

Mike: “I’m from Melbourne actually. It’s all million dollar homes down there. Forget it. Units are pretty good though.”

Uncle Bob: “Oh yeh, where abouts?”

Mike: “Inner city. I told my daughter if she targets $750,000 she could nab a two bedder somewhere trendy like Collingwood.” 

Uncle Bob: “That’s not bad.”

Mike: “Yeh, I thought so. Jane and I are looking at an investment place too, out in Kalkallo.”

Tina: “Oh, I’ve heard of that. Harry did a project on volcanoes and I think there’s a very old one around there somewhere.”

Uncle Bob: “That can’t be good for investors!”

Mike: Ha! There’s not much out there but it’s being developed. Property prices have really jumped out there lately. It’s only 30-odd ks from the CBD.”

Jim: “That sounds promising. I think we’re more interested in Queensland. Tweed Heads is going off apparently …”

Tina: “We started looking with a budget of $700,000 but I think we’ll have to go up a bit now. The rents look quite good for investors.”

Mike: Hold that thought, I’m getting another sanger.

*The price examples and corresponding locations in this article come from Herron Todd White’s Residential Month in Review for July, 2021.

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