Prob­ing a tightly held be­lief

Herald Sun - Property - - OPINION -

I HAVE been read­ing some prop­erty re­search, data that shows me that it is still pos­si­ble to find peo­ple that love their houses as a home, a place to stay and set­tle.

This is rare, as the fo­cus of re­cent decades has been to trans­form the very be­ing of a home as noth­ing more than a sup­ple­ment of our in­come, which can be some­times suc­cess­ful, but other times a mis­er­able fail­ure.

This re­search anal­ysed the per­for­mance over the past year of the sub­urbs where home­own­ers held on to their homes for the long­est pe­ri­ods of time.

For ex­am­ple, in Vic­to­ria it was all about Mel­bourne sub­urbs re­tain­ing av­er­age own­er­ship pe­ri­ods of be­tween 14 and 16 years, while in WA sub­urbs fea­ture not only in Perth but re­gional ar­eas too, with pe­ri­ods of 13 to 14 years typ­i­cal.

Tas­ma­nian data showed Ho­bart and a few ar­eas of north­ern Tas­ma­nia rang­ing from 11 to 13 years. South Aus­tralia saw mainly Ade­laide sub­urbs, 11 to 12 years on av­er­age. ACT was around the same du­ra­tion of 11 to 12 years. The NT was all about Dar­win which could only get to eight to nine years — the low­est of all.

You might not be sur­prised that NSW had the high­est terms of av­er­age own­er­ship, rang­ing from 18 to 20 years in the top Sydney sub­urbs.

Queens­land showed the most sur­pris­ing re­sults with a wide range of ar­eas, not just met­ro­pol­i­tan, and a hold time from 17-19 years.

So are these ar­eas the best places to live in Aus­tralia, hence why I haven’t dis­closed their spe­cific sub­urb to avoid cre­at­ing a mini boom?

As fas­ci­nat­ing as this all is, treat­ing this as a sig­nal to guar­an­teed prop­erty sat­is­fac­tion would be a po­ten­tial prop­erty pit­fall. The re­al­ity of long-term prop­erty own­er­ship in par­tic­u­lar ar­eas is equally an in­di­ca­tion of de­sir­abil­ity both in terms of in­vest­ment and well­be­ing, as it could be ar­gued a cau­tion­ary tale, a place to avoid where homes take a long time to sell and life­style is but a dream.

The data re­vealed the long­est held sub­urbs with the quick­est sale pe­riod or (days on mar­ket) but I won­der about many of the ar­eas and sub­urbs that might have made the top 20 that didn’t have quick sale pe­ri­ods as a fea­ture.

I see ar­eas where fam­i­lies stay in homes for the long term as a pos­i­tive. Typ­i­cally this hap­pens in es­tab­lished ar­eas away from new land re­leases; lim­ited sup­ply with min­i­mal new con­struc­tion stock tends to keep stock lev­els low and val­ues cush­ioned.

The flip side is the ar­eas where eco­nomic, ge­o­graphic or over sup­ply rea­sons force own­ers to stay put. Per­haps too much new land is be­ing re­leased, or a large scale em­ployer has closed down, re­sult­ing in sell­ers giv­ing up or stay­ing listed for long pe­ri­ods of time.

If you are look­ing for a home, not just an in­vest­ment prop­erty to live in, con­sider these fac­tors care­fully. Es­tab­lished tightly held ar­eas are usu­ally more ex­pen­sive to buy into. Less sup­ply, more de­mand means sell­ers can be bullish, so as tempt­ing as it may be, you might find bet­ter value.

You might then give some thought to the al­ter­na­tive, the area where your owner oc­cu­pier neigh­bours change more fre­quently than the na­tion en­joys yet an­other new prime min­is­ter. If the value is clear for your needs, why not. One day the new land re­leases stop, a train sta­tion ap­pears, your neigh­bours start to be­come fa­mil­iar faces and be­fore you know it, you’re liv­ing in the place to be.

Stay­ing long term is be­com­ing more of a trend, as mov­ing is now an ex­pen­sive process to un­der­take, Re­mem­ber though, if you see the much-loved real es­tate term “tightly held’’ re­fer­ring to a prop­erty it may be a hint of a huge price tag or worse, that it was bought 10 years ago but has been for sale the past nine.

An­drew Win­ter is the host of on Life­style

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