Canberra’s most affordable suburbs

As Australia’s third most expensive capital city to buy a house, it’s important to keep in mind which suburbs are the most affordable when searching for your new home in Canberra.

The capital city is becoming more urbanised, and has a stronger economy with a high employment rate. In addition, the city’s affordability compared to Sydney and Melbourne makes Canberra a strong competitor in the Australian housing market. All of these factors have resulted in the higher median house prices.

During autumn this year, the median house price reached $733,786, a significant increase from the $705,059 a few months ago. It’s also expected increase to $770,000 by 2020, according to Domain Group. If these numbers sound alarming to you, take a look at the median prices for these suburbs.

The Cheapest Places to Live in North Canberra

North Canberra hosts the majority of the most affordable houses, which is why many first homebuyers are choosing to invest in this side of town. Here are the median prices of five noteworthy suburbs:

Belconnen: $423,500

Belconnen plays host to a diverse population of students, families and professionals and surrounds the bottom three quarters of Lake Ginninderra. Host to parks, a shopping district, a number of excellent restaurants, and also The Basement for those of you who love seeing live music on the regular. There is plenty to do right at the doorstep of the homes of Belconnen residents. 

Charnwood: $455,000

Charnwood sits north west of the hustle and bustle of Bruce and Belconnen but is fast becoming a sought-after location for a first home among the population of young professionals looking to set down roots. Having gone through a transformation through the last few years, we are confident in our view that this is one of Canberra’s most underrated and affordable suburbs.

Macgregor: $463,500

Macgregor is one of the quieter suburbs in the northern parts of Canberra. But the locals will tell you that that is a good thing. Surrounded by parkland and featuring a golf course, Macgregor residents are only a short drive away from major retailers and supermarkets.

Holt: $473,500

Holt is a balance of built up and quiet. With restaurants, schools, churches and places to do your shopping in the eastern section, and a golf course taking up a large section of the west, there is a bit of both worlds in the suburb named after Australia’s late Prime Minister.

Ngunnawal: $475,000

Named in tribute to the Ngunnawal people, and you will see plenty of references around the area to the people who inhabited this part of the world thousands of years prior to European settlement. This area is great and highly affordable for young families, with plenty of day care options and facilities. 

These suburbs are all generally close to the city: about 15 minutes by car, which is great for those commuting to work in that area. These suburbs are close to shopping malls including the Canberra Centre and Westfield Belconnen, which are the hub of Canberra’s best restaurants, shops and nightlife. It’s also great for those attending the Australian National University and the University of Canberra, because it’s no more than a 10-15 minute drive.

Other suburbs to consider include: Higgins (540,000) and Jacka ($460,500), a little further afield.

The Cheapest Housing in South Canberra

Buyers who want to be closer to the snow, or generally have a preference for living in the south side of Canberra will find it harder to find affordable housing compared to north side. That’s not to say that the median house prices in these suburbs are significantly lower than the state’s overall median house prices. Consider these top five suburbs you could be living in:

Banks: $480,000,

At $480,000, the median house price in Banks is one of the most affordable in this section of Canberra, and this southernmost suburb is still only a 25-minute drive from the CBD. For those looking for a home in the city with quick access to Namadgi National Park and surrounds, this is a great place for young families to raise their children.

Richardson: $501,000

Richardson is another southern suburb that has seen a great deal of growth in recent years. The relatively inexpensive median house price has attracted a population of young families that has seen the area come to life. Fun fact: each of the streets in Richardson is named after a writer, with a particular emphasis on female writers. Richardson itself being the end of the nom de plume Henry Handel Richardson, the name under which Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson.

Isabella Plains: $507,500

A beautiful suburb tucked in just next to Richardson is Isabella Plains. Around 17km south-west of the CBD, this picturesque suburb has everything you could need, without feeling crowded. The locals might not all be over the moon about the parking situation you might find in the post-school rush, but we wouldn’t let that stop us when looking at this highly affordable and beautiful part of Canberra.

Chisholm $515,000

Chisholm shares a border with the neighbouring Gilmore, and the parkland that runs along that border is a popular place for those looking to get some exercise outdoors or walk their dogs. The suburb itself is full of sporting facilities, parklands and boasts excellent views of the Brindabella Mountains. 

Theodore: $520,500

Just a touch further south is Theodore, a quieter suburb 19km from the CBD and perfect for those looking for a bit of space. There is not a great deal of shopping options to choose from in Theodore itself, but the surrounding areas have plenty to offer only a short drive from home.

Residents in south Canberra can take advantage of the close proximity to nature parks and reserves, including Wanniassa Nature Reserve and Big Monks Mountain. Moreover, these suburbs are suitable for couples raising a young family. In 2013, south Canberra was recorded to have the highest quality of life. This was base on factors including: levels of safety and security, the quality of the environment, young people in full-time work or education, air quality, job availability and Internet access.

Other suburbs to consider include: Gilmore ($525,000) and Kambah ($540,000).

 Affordable Housing in Canberra’s Surrounds

If you have a tighter budget and don’t mind the commute with more peace and quiet, these suburbs could be ideal for you to call home.

Yass: $386,500

Yass is a growing community situated north of Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory. For those comfortable with a slightly longer commute, the 45-minute drive to the Canberra CBD is a trade well worth it for new and growing families. 

Queanbeyan: $498,000

While not technically part of Canberra, or even part of the Australian Capital Territory, you would be hard pressed to find anyone in Canberra that wouldn’t say that Queanbeyan wasn’t ‘practically a part of Canberra’. Nevertheless, Queanbeyan is a city unto itself, and has all the things you would expect to find in a regional hub. While there are some odd disconnects in public services and transport that you might have to negotiate if you’re looking to work in Canberra, Queanbeyan is a brilliant choice for those looking to find an affordable home for themselves just a short distance from Canberra.

Karabar: $485,000

Karabar neighbours Queanbeyan and an excellent opportunity to stay in close to the city, while not having to struggle to find space when you want. With ready access to all the conveniences of Queanbeyan and only a short drive to Canberra itself, this suburb is full of opportunities to grow and live.

Karabar sits next to Queanbeyan and is a great

Please note: prices are subject to fluctuation.

Why NOW is the perfect time to build

There are many factors that contribute to making the decision to build a house, but underpinning all other decisions should be your financial security.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ll know that interest rates are now at a record low after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut them earlier this month.

With rates at 1.75 per cent, the banks are beginning to pass along the cuts, meaning there’s never been a better time for you to build, whether it’s your first home or a new home.

Which banks are cutting interest rates?

The big four banks – National Australia Bank (NAB), Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) – have all agreed to cut variable home loan rates. Starting this month, these banks will begin rolling out their all-time low rates, check out when your bank’s cuts will take effect here.

What you’ll save

According to Canstar, the typical homeowner will save $72 a month on a $500,000 loan. This brings the average standard variable home loan rate down to 4.52 per cent. For those taking a $300,000 home loan, the cuts will push the variable home loan rate down to 4.4 per cent, introducing a saving of $44 a month.

Now, these savings may not seem like much, but they definitely allow extra breathing room for the bulk of home buyers who are looking to have a larger mortgage. For those who are first home buyers, these savings mean repayments will be similar to rental payments, meaning you won’t be paying “ridiculously above what (you’re) paying in rent” for your repayments.

Things to consider

There’s a few things to consider before diving in. Although the rates are low now, it’s inevitable the rates will fluctuate. While it is possible rates will continue to drop, they will eventually rise. First home buyers should make sure that they can afford repayments even if the rates were to rise.

If you want to make the most of the all-time low interest rates, now’s the time to start talking to Achieve Homes about securing your new home. Achieve Homes offer a whole range of home designs and house and land packages fit for almost any budget.

Disclaimer:  This information does not constitute financial advice and you should speak to a qualified financial advisor and your bank about your individual financial circumstances before buying a property.

Tips For Buying Off-The-Plan

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When buying a new home there are a tonne of options to consider. One option that should be at the forefront of your decision making is buying off-the-plan.

Off-the-plan refers to purchasing a property before it is constructed. Most of the time this means you will be buying a property while it is just a hole in the ground, and while it may seem crazy to buy something that has not been built yet, there are many benefits to purchasing an off-the-plan property:

The Benefits

  • One of the biggest benefits of buying off-the-plan is having the ability to customise the finishes and fittings in the home to suit your personal needs.
  • Since stamp duty is calculated based on the value of the land and the building, you will essentially only have to pay based on the value of the land, because there is no building yet!
  • In terms of an investment property, the depreciation tax savings are greater for an off-the-plan property, as the newer the building is, the greater the savings are.
  • You have the ability to lock in the price that you will pay, which is financially beneficial as there is a good chance the property will increase significantly in value by the time of completion.
  • The extra time you have while you wait for your new house to be built will allow you ample time to sell your existing home.
  • If you are a first home buyer, you will be able to benefit from the First Home Owners Grant, as well as stamp duty exemptions.
  • Newly built properties in Australia come with a 7 year builder’s guarantee, which means any faults must be repaired by the builder.

The Risks

  • There is always a risk that you will not get what you have already paid for. That is why it is important to have a comprehensive contract detailing all features, fixtures, fittings and time frames to ensure you have a leg to stand on when expectations are not met.
  • Since there is no way to see your apartment before purchasing it, there is a chance that you simply might not like it. Once completed it may look different to your expectations and it will be too late to change anything.
  • If your circumstances change during the build and you are no longer able to buy, it is important to act quickly and ensure you find another buyer to purchase from you at settlement.
  • A risk of having a locked in price is the uncertainty of the property market. Your property may suddenly lose value but you will still be paying the agreed price for it.

Things To Do

  • Make sure that it is definitely the property you want. This includes the size, suburb, orientation, and whether it is on a level you want to be on.
  • Visit the property site regularly and check if there are any other constructions occurring that may obstruct your view.
  • Carefully inspect the display home, including fixtures, fittings and finishes.
  • Research the market conditions and get advice from professionals on the right time to buy.
  • Research the developer. Do not be afraid to ask detailed questions and inspect other projects completed by them in the past. You may even want to talk with a past client to gauge satisfaction.
  • Have a legal professional look over all contracts and translate key points to you in laymen’s terms.
  • Make sure you have a lender that has agreed to financing. A lot of lenders are reluctant to finance off-the-plan properties given their high risk and the chance that the lendee will sell the property for a high price straight away, meaning the lender will lose interest.
  • Check that your deposit is going into a trust account, and do not let that money be released to a personal name to help build the project. This is a sure fire way to lose a lot of money very quickly.

Essentially, when buying off-the-plan, make sure you do the appropriate research to make sure it is the right option for you!

References

Emily Blatchford, Huffington Post, Buying A House Off The Plan: The Things You Need To Know, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/02/18/buying-off-the-plan-australia_n_9269506.html, Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Oz Property Law, Buying Property Off-the-plan, http://ozpropertylaw.com/buying-property-off-the-plan/?gclid=CKqb2qX4kNMCFUcKKgodLqkF-g , Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Real Estate View, Things to Consider when Buying Off-the-plan, https://advice.realestateview.com.au/buying/things-to-consider-when-buying-off-the-plan/, Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Tim McIntyre, Your Investment Property, The Trick to Buying off the Plan, http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/buying-property/the-trick-to-buying-off-the-plan-148257.aspx, Accessed April 7th, 2017.