Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Perth Waterfront good for finding my new home?

Probably if I wanted to live in an apartment in the future, the Perth Waterfront project would be good. For those that don't know, the state government has come up with a plan to redevelop Perth's barren waterfront with a project that will look a little like this (details can be found at The project will probably inspire more apartments to be build inner city and with Burswood Entertainment Complex doing their own exciting work on the East of Perth, it could be a very exciting time for Perth in the future. No doubt this will increase investment in real estate in Perth and hopefully, the availability of property for first homebuyers. In the meantime we will continue to live the life of a spoilt Generation Y Perth young adult and look forward to sipping lattes on the Perth Waterfront wishing we had a home to go back to.

Housing Boom from Perth to Mandurah train line

The southern suburbs rail line has really changed the Real Estate market in Perth. Already all the suburbs sitting on either side of the kwinana freeway are averaging about $500k or more. One amazing thing about the new Perth to Mandurah rail line is that the train stops right under the Perth City Mall. It takes literally one minute to walk off the train and into the mall!
The new tagging system with the trains has made catching transport much easier, with people having the option of having their cards automatically topped up from their bank account when credit is running low for example. Also, the old system requiring ONLY coins was ridiculous. If you wanted to catch a train in a suburban station and you didnt have coins, you couldnt catch the train! Also, since you dont need to take out the ticket each time you validate it, there is less chance that you will lose your ticket home. I would definitely consider getting a place near the train line when I look for a place. The only problem with the system now is that criminals from other parts of the city have better access to the southern suburbs via the train system. However, the Premier of WA Alan Carpenter recently announced that vandals may be banned from the train systems. I hope this also includes burglars! The whole rail network is watched by CCTV so it is becoming a safer means of transport. More details about the SmartRider tagging system here and the
Suburbs to watch: In the southern suburbs, Cockburn seems to be developing into a Subiaco type suburb taking advantage of the train station and creating Cockburn Central right next to Gateway Shopping Centre which is already flourishing with a recent extension. As reported by, Leeming is another suburb worth watching. See the article here

Is Perth safe? Crime in Perth

What is it that makes a house a home? One thiing I believe is feeling safe in the area that you live. To me it doesnt make sense buying a place in an area where you can't sit outside in your backyard without a genuine fear that someone will suddenly jump over the fence. Crime in Perth seems to be a big issue with WA being the capital for home burglaries. Car theft is quite prevalent but definitely not as much as smash and grab crimes. One thing I believe is an essential is to check out the crime stats for an area before moving in.

On crime in Perth, here are some incidents I have heard from people first hand (not in the news) or where I was the victim.
- One person has had their car window smashed in five times
- Three occasions where I have seen where at least three cars had their windows smashed in
- Car broken into two times (no window smashed)
- Break and enter into a house while occupants still sleeping.
- Break and enter where occupant was punched in the face
- Break and enter where occupant was at gunpoint
- Brick thrown into the window for no apparent reason

Real Estate Agents in Perth

Who have you used for your Real Estate agents in Perth? There are so many and one that has recently seemed to come out of nowhere is FRUIT. What a name for a real estate agency! Fruit seems to advertise heavily in the community newspapers unlike the big hitters like The Professionals and LJ Hooker (actually havent seen many of these around recently) and ... i can't think of another one. Come to think of it, much of the houses in the southern suburbs near rich Applecross seem to be sold by Fruit.. not sure why.
One thing that scares a homebuyer is the pressure and gimmicks that we suspect real estate agents are always up to. To be on top of the game, maybe you can share what bad or good experiences you have had with real estate agents in Perth? If you are a real estate agent yourself, maybe its not bad idea to leave a comment to tell us a few things your colleagues have been known to do. Maybe you will earn the trust of first homebuyers' out there like me. Who's first and in touch with the market?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pre-Approvals first step towards a home

I heard that one of the first steps to take is getting a pre-approval. Getting a home loan is probably one of the most daunting tasks that a first homebuyer faces because you dont know whether the 25, 30 or 45 year marriage to the bank is going to be a good one or not. Sure, you can switch around but there has been a lot of talk about the costs of switching from one mortgage provider to another.

I’m told that the closest person to a friend in this process is a mortgage broker. Even then, many of them receive commission from banks etc for recommending them to you. They do disclose how much they get from the banks but even so, it makes you that much more wary knowing that he is being rewarded for his work. One thing I have noticed though is that because the industry is awash with such scepticism, a mortgage broker should do their best to win customers by word of mouth. If I were a mortgage broker, it may make sense to take the relationship one step further than offering movie tickets to anyone who refers them to someone else. Anyway.. this step is not for me just yet, I need to learn more general stuff about buying a house and hey, Perth property market is dropping so let’s just wait and see how low we can go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Apartment, Villa, Townhouse or House?

The hardest thing about finding a house is starting. There are decisions you have to make such as what KIND of house do you want to live in? From what little I know, here are the issues

Apartments - are great for security, only people in your building can get in. There are not so many opportunistic criminals jumping the fence into your backyard when you live and the 18th floor of a residential apartment. However, there's the issue of privacy. You'll know when your neighbours shower, when they leave, and they'll know when you argued with your wife last night.

From an investment point of view, most apartments don't go up as much as houses because its the land that actually goes up, and when you ahve 100 people living on the same plot of land, any increase in value gets divided over 100. Northbridge, City and East Perth are squeezing in apartment buildings and you can get older ones in North Perth and other surrounding suburbs.

Villas / Townhouses - Heaps of these in places like subiaco, Mt Lawley, Leederville, Fremantle, and now in richer suburbs like Applecross and Mt Pleasant. Its the cheapest way to invest in (a fraction of) land. However, its not quite owning your own land. There are strata fees sometimes to be paid and your neighbours are just one step away from your half a house.

Houses - Great for families. But who can afford one now? Average house now in Perth is about $515k! You have the satisfaction of having your own piece of land and house but you also have to look after the garden, mend the fence and don't even mention the loan and mortgage repayments that will come with a fully fledged house.

Anyway, I cant decide whether I can be bothered looking after a house or whether the concerns about privacy will override laziness. :) Then there is the issue of raising a family. Many people think that getting an apartment etc and then upgrading to a house. Is it a factor is stamp duty going to up the price of such an upgrade?

So at the moment .. not sure what I want.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Perth... the paradise we never realised until now

The problem with living in paradise is that you dont realise it is paradise until it is too late. I am like many of the other first home buyers in Perth who are looking for a home. Like many others who grew up in Perth, we never realised that our home was so good. While we were plotting to leave the most isolated english speaking city in the world, there were thousands around the world plotting how they would get in.

The result? A housing boom that we've realised only too late!! I'm keeping this blog as I search for my home in Perth. I dont know where it is yet. I dont know when I will get it. I dont even know what the path is to a new home! Another wayward Generation Y who thought he'd get his house by working hard and saving for a deposit only to watch the world rush past and snap up all the houses in metropolitan perth. At this rate, this Gen Y may have to live in Mandurah... not that there is anything wrong with that! If you stumbled upon this blog and you are in the same boat, hop in and let's see where the current takes us.

21st February 2008. The journey begins.

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