GET YOUR AS­SETS INTO GEAR

GQ (Australia) - - GQ INC. -

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.

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