GET YOUR ASSETS INTO GEAR
Australian property is on the up and up, to the point where property hunting has made the transition from business to entertainment. We’re calling it: real estate is the national pastime, and if you’re not a participant in the property game, odds are you’re an avid voyeur. Observer or not, it would be remiss not to mention that the ‘Australian Dream’ of home ownership has graduated – no longer about a quarter-acre block with a weatherboard bungalow and a Hills Hoist, it’s either getting a toe into the market through incredible financial focus and dedication, or building to the point where one property purchase morphs into five. Then 10. ‘Real estate tycoon’ is not a label you’d expect to apply to anyone under the age of 60. Yet here is Nathan Birch at 31, turning heads with a property portfolio worth more than $50m and a passive income upwards of $2m. Hailing from western Sydney, Birch worked two jobs to save for a deposit before entering the market, when, at 18, he bought a derelict two-bedroom in the maligned Sydney suburb of Mount Druitt. He spent a year renovating, had it revalued and, armed with the equity from his capital gains, bought another the following year. Then another... and another. You get the picture. He’s since gone through the equivalent of property finishing school, building a portfolio of 200 properties in high-growth areas. “I buy below market value in lower-priced suburbs and the rent has to be enough to cover my mortgage costs,” Birch tells GQ, his self-belief so far proving well founded. As Birch says, buying for today is good. Buying for five, 10 and 20 years down the track is even better, especially when prudent purchases really pay off. But if clairvoyance isn’t your forte, reading future growth is no small task. When trying to get into a market ahead of its boom, the telltale signs to look for are – according to Birch – new roads, airports, and rail infrastructure. Keep an eye peeled: any of these going into fringe suburbs flags them for future growth. And target blue-collar areas, adds Birch. “As urban boundaries push out, those areas gentrify, and become more aspirational, pushing values up.” And so – a roundup of predicted growth and dark-horse suburbs that shouldn’t be discounted, places where you can still land a bargain. While they may not look like much now, they’ll be winners by 2026.
BIRCH’S BEST CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT: BEACH TOWNHOUSES FOR $150,000 LESS THAN MARKET VALUE; A FLAT IN CAIRNS FOR $35,000; A MOTEL CONVERTED INTO FLATS, NOW MAKING $400,000 A YEAR.