Western suburbs offer value and diversity for buyers

But in the last REIWA quarterly report published in Residential West, many areas in the western suburbs reported medians over $1 million.

Can first-home buyers afford a home in these areas?

Acton Dalkeith and Cottesloe director Grant Heymans said according to REIWA, almost 50 per cent of homeowners were discounting at the moment, which was very encouraging for first-homebuyers and many were reporting good value in the western suburbs.

He said Mosman Park and Mount Claremont in particular were offering great value.

A search on reiwa.com found units in Mosman Park starting from $250,000.

Mr Heymans said that while buying a new property could be tempting, buyers should take into account land values in the western suburbs.

“Comparing completed homes here with other areas is not helpful,” he said.

“Buyers should consider the proximity to good daycare and private schools, which abound in the western suburbs.

“Buyers also report enjoying the lifestyle the area offers, being close to the river and the sea.”

While first-home buyers may not be able to afford the premium homes on the market, Mr Heymans said some first-home buyers were buying a property close to land value and renovating it over time, which allowed them to trade up successfully.

Others were taking advantage of the very low prices for existing units in the western suburbs and renting them out to pay the mortgage.

“We often see mums and dads helping the next generation out with a deposit on a property and taking the advice of someone more experienced is very helpful,” said Mr Heymans.

“It is also important for first-homebuyers to find an agent they trust to help them find the right property to suit their needs.”

If you are thinking of buying, Resolve Finance managing director Don Crellin said first-home buyers should ensure their finances were in order before hunting for a new home.

He offered these tips to help people get started:

Pay yourself first

“Open a specified savings account that you will put money into at least once a month – more often if you can,” he said.

“This is because a lender will want to see you have the capacity to save and can afford payments on a home loan.”

Mr Crellin advised those who found it difficult to save to make use of savings programs such as My Home Plan at www.myhomeplan.com.au.

Pay off debt

Mr Crellin said it was also important to reduce financial commitments such as credit cards, car loans or interest-free purchases because these could affect your ability to get a loan.

“It is important to know what interest rates you are paying on any loans and credit cards you may have,” he said.

“Then work to reduce those balances by paying those charging the highest rate of interest first if possible.

“And if you’re struggling to pay them all off, consider taking advantage of a balance transfer to a lower interest rate credit card or consolidating remaining balances into a personal loan, where you can enjoy a lower interest rate and work towards paying off the debt within a set period of time.”

Speak to a mortgage broker

First-home owners should also make an appointment to speak to a mortgage broker, Mr Crellin said.

“They become your new best friend and keep you focused on the first-home dream,” he said.

“They’ll let you know how much you can borrow and will shop around to find the right home loan for you based on your individual situation.

‘Even if you’re self-employed or are looking to your parents for help with your loan, speaking with professionals will make the process much quicker and easier.”

Keep it real

Mr Crellin said breaking into the property market was a big deal and first-home buyers might have to adjust their expectations a little.

“And make a pact with yourself that you won’t overlook all those important details, such as interest rates, income protection, your monthly budget, whether you want to fix your rate, what your repayments will be, and what kind of home loan will fit your lifestyle,” he said.

For more information, visit www.resolvefinance.com.au. n