Time to say good buy


How long have you been renting now? What, seriously? Well, here’s some good news: you might be a lot better off than you think in Western Australia. 

According to its recently released First Home Buyer Report for 2016, Bankwest has revealed that Perth and WA are the “most accessible city and state for first-time buyers”. It’s a claim the bank backs with research into how long a normal couple needs to save a deposit for a median-priced house after crunching the numbers for every capital city and state in Australia.

Bankwest found it takes average Australian first-time buyers about 4.4 years to save up for a 20% deposit. Trying to save for a place in a capital city? Well, then you can slap an extra half a year on that – you’re looking at 4.9 years. 

Now you might be wondering how we can call that ‘good news’, until you look at the stats for Perth. Saving for a median-priced home in the WA capital takes a year less than the average – the report puts the timeframe at just 3.8 years of saving your pennies. In fact, Perth is the only capital city in Australia where the time hasn’t increased. Take your house hunting out into the state’s regions and it’s only 3.5 years, a drop since 2015.

Sure, we know what you’re thinking: three and a half years is still a long time to live off two-minute noodles while you hoard dollars under the mattress. But check out what the other capital cities are up against. Median-priced house in Melbourne? That’ll be 6.2 years of saving. Same thing in Sydney? Expect to be living in your parents’ basement for an eye-watering 8.4 years while you fill up your piggy bank.

And if that’s not enough to make buyers over east jealous, there’s the announcement that from the start of this year the WA First Home Owners Grant has increased to $15,000 – that’s $5000 more than in NSW or Victoria.

“Since the second half of 2016, we’ve seen prices across the metro area start to lift on a monthly basis,” says REIWA president Hayden Groves. “If you’re a buyer waiting for the ‘bottom of the market’, you would be wise to make a buying decision soon should this trend continue.” 

The bottom line is that this could be the best time for a long time to take the plunge on a first home. But remember, the clock is ticking. Quite apart from anything else, you’ve got another quarterly rental inspection to look forward to…

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