Probing a tightly held belief
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