Why You Should Consider Ditching The City To Go Full Bush If You’re Looking For A First Home

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the Great Australian Dream is all but impossible in the city. Whether you live in Melbourne or Sydney, the situation is the same – crazy, ridiculous, expensive home prices. Who can even afford it? 

But for real, that’s not a rhetorical question. I would like to know who can afford to buy in these god forsaken, beautiful cities and how they made their millions. If they could pretty please run a TED Talk  I would very much like to take some notes. Great, thanks.

But if you’re a dreamer, who’d like a big backyard and off-street parking and more than one bathroom, then should you be moving out of the city? Will it make buying your first home easier? Or will the lack of decent Uber Eats options slowly starve you?

Here’s what Andrew Bartolo – ME Bank’s General Manager of Home Loans – has to say about leaving the city in search of a bush/suburb utopia:

So you don’t want to move away from Sydney. But is it the smartest thing for your home hunting dream?

Good question, young home buyer. I get it – Sydney is a very bueno place to live. Best commute in the world, some say. The weather, Bondi to Bronte etc etc. But again, the prices. According to Sir Bartolo moving out of the city is definitely worth considering. ME Bank recently did a survey which proves that the pandemic has made more Aussies think about ditching city life and moving to regional areas. 

“The key is looking at what you can afford,’ he says. “That might be a nice home in a country town, or in the outer suburbs. It’s probably not a penthouse apartment in the city.” Sorry gang. 

Should you choose a location based on its investment capacity, or based on where you actually want to live?

Hmmmm. This is a bit of a pickle, hey. Like, I want to live in the house out of Notting Hill but I’ll never be able to afford the house out of Notting Hill. I’m no help here, let’s throw it over to Bartolo for some expert insight. 

“Funnily enough, those are often the same thing,” he says. HOLD UP, WOT? 

“If you want to live there, there’s a good chance the average person will too. Think like a renter when searching for an investment property. If the town or suburb has no nearby schools, no supermarkets, no beaches, and no thriving job market, then you probably have your answer.” Interesting, this gives me hope. 

Should you look for the location of a home over the price?

“Picking a house based on price is a bit like making the perfect Milo. Not too hot, not too cold. If the house is really, really cheap then you should be asking yourself why. Is it a shack in a tiny town? Will it need lots of expensive renovations? Has it been on the market for a long time and no one wants it?” Andrew says. Excellent Milo reference too. 

“Location feeds into price – the more popular a location, then probably the higher the price. But the better the location, the better chance you’ll be able to resell it at a profit. Look for a good balance of price and location.” Life’s a balancing act, after all. 

Is it worth having a small deposit and paying LMI to get your foot in the door sooner?

LMI AKA Lenders Mortgage Insurance applies when you borrow 80% or more of your home’s value. In other words, if your deposit is less than 20%. LMI is there to protect the lender, not you. It’s there to help cover their losses if you back out on the agreement. 

So if you have a bigger deposit, you’re less likely to require LMI. The lump sum you can contribute at the beginning is money you’re not paying interest on later. But what’s better? 

“Generally speaking, the bigger your deposit, the better. It will save you money in the long run. That’s why considering a regional town (or an outer suburb) is a good way to buy quicker,” says Andrew. 

And there you have it folks. If you’ve got any more questions about house hunting and home buying, contact an ME Bank Mobile Banker.