Af­ford­abil­ity key to pair’s choice Cher­ry­brook house

The Weekend Post - - News - ALI­CIA NALLY

DE­SPITE mar­ry­ing in 2017, Re­nee and Marvin Wi­jer­atne bought land at Bent­ley Park’s new Cher­ry­brook hous­ing es­tate the same year and started build­ing their first home in May.

They chose to in­vest in south­ern Cairns be­cause of its af­ford­abil­ity.

“We moved into our home at the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber. We were look­ing for a prac­ti­cal mod­ern home with an open plan liv­ing,” Mrs Wi­jer­atne said.

“Our build cost less than $240,000 and that in­cluded our ex­tras. Com­pared to cap­i­tal cities you’re more likely go­ing to be able to af­ford a much nicer home in Cairns.”

The pair just scraped in with the state gov­ern­ment’s $20,000 first home­owner’s

grant, which has now been re­duced to $15,000.

“The grant is def­i­nitely a huge ad­van­tage,” Mrs Wi­jer­atne said. “I be­lieve the big­gest pres­sures for first home buy­ers is ob­tain­ing your de­posit to buy a prop­erty that you can re­al­is­ti­cally af­ford.

“With the rental mar­ket in­creas­ing in Cairns, it’s harder for those who are rent­ing to con­trib­ute to rent and also save for a de­posit.

“I think if you can change up your lifestyle to achieve more sav­ings, it is doable.”

The cou­ple cre­ated an In- sta­gram blog, @build.elder­berry, fol­low­ing their build­ing project.

“We’ve re­ceived so many emails from other first home buy­ers with ques­tions about build­ing and we are happy to help them,” Mrs Wi­jer­atne said.

LIFESTYLE DE­CI­SION: Marvin and Re­nee Wi­jer­atne bought and built their first home at Elder­berry Ave, Bent­ley Park.

Pic­ture: STE­WART McLEAN

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