‘Tightly held’ suburbs may simply indicate a hard sell
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 last year of the suburbs where homeowners held on to their homes for the longest time.
In WA, the suburbs featured were not only in Perth but in regional areas too, with periods of 13 to 14 years typical.
In Victoria it was all about Melbourne, with suburbs retaining average ownership periods of between 14 and 16 years.
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 about the same duration of 11 to 12 years.
The NT was all about Darwin, which only got to eight or nine years — the lowest of all.
You may not be surprised that NSW had the highest average ownership, ranging from 18 to 20 years in its top suburbs, which were mostly in Sydney, although one area in the Hunter Valley made it onto the list.
Queensland showed the most surprising results with a wide range of areas, not just metropolitan, and a holding time of 17 to 19 years.
So are these areas the best places to live in Australia (and why I haven’t disclosed the specific suburbs to avoid creating a mini boom)?
As fascinating as this is, treating it as a signal to guaranteed satisfaction would be a potential property pitfall.
The reality of long-term property ownership in particular areas is an indication of area desirability, both in terms of investment and wellbeing, is that it could also be 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 may have made the top 20 that didn’t have quick sale periods.
Personally, I see areas where families stay in homes for the long term generally 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 oversupply reasons force owners to stay put.
Perhaps too much new land is being released, or a largescale employer has closed down, resulting in sellers giving up or staying listed for long periods of time.
For these markets, it is not desirability, but weak selling conditions that lengthen hold periods.
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. Less supply, more demand means sellers can be bullish, so as tempting as it may be, you might find better value elsewhere.
You may then give some thought to the alternative, the area where your owneroccupier neighbours change more frequently than
the nation enjoys new prime ministers. If the value is there 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 a considerably more expensive process to undertake, even if it is nothing more than a move down the street.
Remember, though, if you see the much loved real estate term “tightly held” referring to a property you are about to inspect, it may be a hint of a huge price tag or, worse, that it was purchased 10 years ago but has been for sale the past nine.