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Most affordable places to live

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Most affordable places to live
Sydney, you’re pretty, but let’s take your prices down a notch, eh? Picture: Destination NSW

IT’S no surprise to most Australians that the cost of living varies greatly from one city, state or territory to another.

But exactly which places are the most affordable when it comes to everyday expenses including rent, fuel, groceries, transport, utilities and education? And which ones will burn a hole in your pocket faster than the others?

The latest report from Numbeo, a cost of living website which collates prices of goods and services from hundreds of cities around the world, shows that almost everything is cheaper in Hobart compared to other major cities nationwide.

It also confirmed what Sydneysiders already knew: it’s the most expensive place to live in the country. Melbourne, Darwin and Perth trail closely behind.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the government’s priorities – including the Australian mining sector – were out of whack. “I wish they’d just start talking about everyday Aussies in terms of cost of living,” he said on Wednesday.

While Sydney ranked 32 in the list of the world’s most expensive cities, it was the 16th most expensive city in terms of rent, according to Numbeo.

Sydney has this year risen to number 32 in this year’s Cost of Living Index, up from 41 last year, according to Numbeo.

Melbourne rose to 64, up from 77, while Adelaide, Cairns, Hobart and Canberra also moved up the list to 58, 69, 82 and 103 respectively.

Only Perth (56), Darwin (68) and Brisbane (93) have become more affordable, according to the site, which ranks the results based on information provided by thousands of residents.

RENT, CHILDCARE AND RESTAURANTS

A one-bedroom, city centre apartment costs an average of $2681.48 per month in Sydney.

That’s compared with Melbourne ($1767.60), Canberra ($1733.26), Brisbane ($1726.13), Adelaide ($1705.67), Gold Coast ($1568.92), Darwin ($1524.35), Perth ($1523.41) and Hobart ($1208.33). Those with kids can more than double their outgoing expenses if they live in Sydney with the cost of sending one child to childcare full-time for a month about $2038.27. Child care is even more expensive on the Gold Coast ($2250) but significantly cheaper in Adelaide ($1600), Melbourne ($1478), Brisbane ($1243), Perth ($1214), Darwin ($1,200), Canberra ($1168) and Hobart ($683.33), according to the site.

The data also showed that costs including groceries, rent and restaurant prices were most expensive in Sydney and Darwin, while cities like Hobart, Cairns and the Gold Coast had some of the cheapest.

COFFEE, PETROL, UTILITIES

But not all is lost for Sydney – while residents might be down thousands of dollars in rent, they’re up an entire buck or two when it comes to coffee. Sydney is home to country’s cheapest hot drinks with a regular cappuccino costing about $3.90, compared with the highest median price for the same item in Darwin, at $4.75.

The Northern Territory capital might be small in size – with a total population of about 250,000 people – but it’s also home to some of the highest prices for fuel and utilities nationwide.

The national average for unleaded petrol is 138.9c per litre. But in the NT, prices soar above the rest, with a median price of 183.9c per litre in the troubled town of Tennant Creek, 176.9c per litre in Alice Springs and 150.2c per litre in the capital of Darwin, according to 2018 NT government figures. The median price for monthly utilities – including power and water – in Darwin is $332.80. That’s compared with the cheapest average of $181.20 per month in Perth. Even a meal at McDonalds will cost about an extra $2 than in other states.

Most affordable places to live
Darwin is home to the country’s most expensive coffee and fuel. Picture: Justin Kennedy

MILK, BREAD AND BEER

The Gold Coast is also where you can find the country’s cheapest bread, at $2.12 a loaf. Brisbane follows closely behind ($2.14), with Sydney selling the staple food at the highest average rate of $2.80. And if you’re up for a good time at the lowest price possible, the Gold Coast is also where it’s at, with the nation’s cheapest in-restaurant domestic beer ($5.75). That’s compared to the most expensive average of $8 in both Melbourne and Darwin.

For the more straight-laced, Hobart could be a better option, boasting the cheapest milk at $1.11 for one litre. In Perth, the same product costs consumers about $1.59 – the highest average in Australia.

But the most isolated city in the world makes up in electricity prices what it lacks in cartons of milk, offering the cheapest average price for utilities in the nation. The average monthly cost of a power and water bill in a 85m2 apartment in Perth is $181.2. That’s compared to

Darwin ($332.80), Adelaide ($297.95), Melbourne (214.82), Sydney ($176.69), Brisbane ($212.60), Hobart ($236.99), Canberra ($184.73) and the Gold Coast ($184.41).

Most affordable places to live
Darwin residents settle in for a sunset at Cullen Bay: a priceless Territory pastime.

PROPERTY

Hobart is the most southern of Australia’s capital cities, its harbour is the second-deepest natural port in the world, making it a popular destination for boaties. It’s also one of the cheapest capital cities in the country although wages are also below the national average. Hobart is also known for its arts and culture, its majestic scenery such as Mt Wellington, picturesque waterways including the Derwent River and rich cafe and restaurant scene. With a median house price of $402,000, strong capital growth and good long- term projections, the area presents a solid market.

Even suburbs that are located within less than 2km from the CBD, including North Hobart and South Hobart, with median houses prices of $582,000 and $631,000, respectively, are relatively affordable compared to cities like Sydney, where the median house price is upwards of $1 million and Melbourne where it has pushed past $840,000.

In Victoria, households are shelling out almost $75,000 a year on general living expenses, a major study of spending habits reveals.

The 2017 Household Expenditure Survey found that in 2015-16 essentials cost $843 of the average $1430 Victorians spent on goods and services each week.

Housing costs – on rent, mortgages, rates and home-and-contents insurance – were the biggest drain ($257), the Herald Sun reported.

Food, including meals out and non-alcoholic drinks, cost $244, and transport – driving, taxi fares, and train, tram and bus fares – cost $218.

Most affordable places to live
Hobart city skyline from Knocklofty.

A buoyant Canberra housing market is leading to healthy long-term investment options for savvy homebuyers, according to RiskWise Property Research.

While the Sydney market goes flat, many Sydney-based investors and buyers’ agents are looking to Canberra – which has a median house price of about $750,000 – as a solid long-term property market that delivers both capital growth and solid rental return.

Less than 300km southwest of Sydney, Canberra has enjoyed solid capital growth of 23 per cent over the past five years and 10 per cent in the past 12 months.

RiskWise Property Research CEO Doron Peleg said it was a trend set to continue.

“This will be driven by ongoing population growth due to the strength of the local labour market and its growing status as a city of choice for a growing number of Australians,” Mr Peleg said.

“Canberra is a rapidly expanding city with a stable property market that offers relatively affordable housing (in house-to-income terms). In addition, ongoing infrastructure projects, such as the Canberra Light Rail Network, will bring significant benefits to the area.”

Most affordable places to live
Canberra ACT from the sky.

An hour’s drive from the state capital Brisbane, the Gold Coast is the sixth largest city in Australia and is forecast to have 1.2 million residents living there by 2050, according to demographer Bernard Salt. The region has a stable property market that offers relatively affordable beachside suburbs, such as Miami which has a median house price of $749,000, according to industry experts.

CoreLogic’s regional market update to December 2017 places the median house price at $634,423, while the median unit price is $411,229.

Most affordable places to live
An aerial view of Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast in Australia. Picture: Istock

RiskWise CEO Doron Peleg said that despite gaining infamy for violent incidences and drunken behaviour in Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast was one of the most popular destinations for both owner-occupiers and investors in southeast Queensland.

“It has beautiful beachside and waterside suburbs, an unrivalled lifestyle, good infrastructure, a large number of well-off residents and locals who describe the Gold Coast as ‘heaven for children’,” Mr Peleg said.

“The Gold Coast has a stable property market that offers both affordability and excellent access to superb beach and coastal areas, and that is very appealing to buyers.”

But there are fears about what will become of the glitter strip’s property market once the Commonwealth Games, set to start this month, are done and dusted.

Collier’s Gold Coast International director Darrell Irwin said property market indicators showed the region had a “healthy sector” that would survive the exodus when the curtain closes on the Games.

“The Games has brought forward infrastructure investment in projects such as the light rail construction, and upgrades to the aquatic centre and Carrara Stadium, which have helped fuel demand across the board in the residential, commercial office, retail, and industrial sectors,” he said.

“We’ve seen commercial office vacancy rates continue to fall over the last three years to the current level of 10.3 per cent as reported in the most recent Property Council of Australia figures.

“With no new office buildings under construction, we expect to see that vacancy rate fall further.

“Similarly in the industrial market, there’s been strong demand, a falling vacancy rate and limited land supply.”

Source: www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au

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Opinion

How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches?

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How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches

Winter is coming, the property market is cooling and hot summer days spent at the beach are becoming a distant memory.

But dreams of a sea change could still keep you warm for months to come and looking to one of Australia’s coastal markets now could have you sitting beachside by summer.

The location of that home and beach will depend on your budget. Here’s what it now costs to buy in some of Australia’s top beach locations.

$2 million+

If you’ve got serious cash to splash, then real estate by Sydney’s Bondi Beach — arguably Australia’s most famous strip of coast — could be within your reach.

With a median house price of $2.675 million and a median unit price of $1.2 million, buying into the beachside suburb does not come cheaply, but it’s more affordable than Sydney’s other top beach contender – Manly.

How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches 1

While house prices in the northern beaches gem dropped 11.5 per cent in the year to March, according to Domain data, the median house price still sits at $2.955 million. Meanwhile, the median unit price dropped 3.7 per cent to $1.315 million.

If Sydney’s not your cup of tea, you can cast your gaze west, far west to the other side of the country, where you’ll find the turquoise water and white sand of Perth’s Cottesloe Beach.

Despite  Perth’s market downturn – house prices are down 14 per cent and units down 16.6 per cent from the 2014 peak – Cotto will still set you back a pretty penny, with a $2,147,500 median house price. Units are more affordable with a median of $780,000.

How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches 2

$1 million+

Northern NSW and south-east Queensland offer up the top rated beaches in Australia for those looking to spend about $1.5 million or less.

Byron Bay, Noosa and Surfers Paradise have long been favoured spots for holidaymakers and are increasingly attracting people looking to make their favourite vacation spot their hometown.

While about half the out-of-towners snapping up real estate in popular Byron Bay were once only looking for a holiday home, that’s no longer the case,  said Ian Daniels of McGrath Byron Bay

“Half the houses were holiday houses before, now you can see how many more people are living here,” Mr Daniels said.

How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches 3

Byron Bay has the highest median house price of the three at $1,562,500. It’s followed by Surfers Paradise and Noosa Heads, with respective medians of $1.55 million and $1.145 million. Meanwhile, the median unit price is $850,000 in Byron Bay, $890,000 in Noosa Heads and $380,000 in Surfers Paradise.

Mr Daniels said there had been “no let up” during cooler winter months in recent years, but noted buyer demand could be a little weaker this year due to the broader property market downturn.

While there tended to be less stock in winter, Mr Daniels said, it could be a great time for both vendors and buyers to be on the market because there was less competition.

How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches 4

$750,000+

The Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast are again the best beachside bet for buyers in this price range, with Burleigh Heads and Mooloolaba offering house prices of $865,000 and $837,500. Unit medians sit at $535,000 and $424,750.

While investor activity has dropped off, Josh Willatt of Ray White Robina said, there is still good demand from locals and buyers looking to make a sea change.

“We’re still seeing buyers come up here in droves from Sydney and Melbourne … and we also see good inquiry from Brisbane, ” Mr Willatt said, adding they were drawn to the area for its great beaches, strong village atmosphere, restaurants and cafes.

How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches 5

Mr Willatt said the Gold Coast and south-east Queensland was still extremely affordable for what it offered. He noted buyers had more choice in late winter and spring as more stock hit the market, but that there was still a steady stream of buyers over the cooler months as the market was less seasonal than others.

$500,000 or less

Buyers who want to purchase near a well-known beach for less than $500,000 should cast the net wide, looking to Broome,  Darwin and Victoria’s Phillip Island. However, swimming year round won’t be an option, due to cold temperatures in some cases and box jellyfish in others.

For $494,500 you can buy a house by Cable Beach in Broome, or an apartment for a little under $300,000.

Apartments near the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets in Darwin have a median of about $380,000 as do units in the suburb of Cowes, near Kitty Miller Bay on Phillip Island.

How much does it cost to buy property at Australia’s best beaches 6

Michael McLeod of First National Phillip Island said those looking to buy on the island might be best doing so in winter.

“[Island living] is not all glamour, there is rain,” Mr McLeod said. “We’re still quite consistent in winter, [but] there’s fewer people around and [buyers] have the time to make decisions.”

“The time a property is on the market [varies greatly] … when it’s extremely busy places can be snapped up … or we have things that can take two years or a year to sell,” Mr McLeod said.

While retirees cashing out of Melbourne still make up a bulk of the population, Mr McLeod said, a growing number of younger families were moving to the area and commuting to Melbourne or working remotely.

Source: goldcoastinvestor.com.au

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Opinion

How good an investment is south-east Queensland

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How good an investment is south-east Queensland

Why do we believe we’ll see increasing investor interest in this market? Strong population growth, a diversified and growing economy, and substantial investment in infrastructure should combine to boost demand.

We expect that these factors will swell the number of white-collar jobs – increasing demand for office space, which in turn will push down vacancy rates and raise rental incomes. This should be good news for office property investors – especially those like Centuria Metropolitan REIT (CMA) that are already well-positioned in the market.

A significant and growing population

South East Queensland (SEQ) stretches from the Gold Coast up to the Sunshine Coast and across to Toowoomba in the west. As Australia’s third-largest population zone, the region has been growing significantly, particularly Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Interstate migration figures show a pattern of steady net migration, with Queensland the only Australian state with consistent net inflows of people from other states. In the five years prior to the 2016 Census, over 220,000 people moved to the Sunshine State – mainly to SEQ where nearly 90% of population growth occurred. This is important for property investors because of its implications for demand, but the trend is interconnected with other favourable factors.

A diversified economy poised for growth

Queensland’s economy is diversified across a range of industries including agriculture, resources, construction, tourism, manufacturing, and services. Over the past two decades, its economic growth has consistently exceeded the national average – and in our view this is likely to continue.

The resources sector is gaining momentum, and a significant pipeline of major infrastructure and development projects is helping propel economic and jobs growth, in turn increasing interstate migration and driving demand for both residential and commercial property.

Investment in infrastructure

A strong infrastructure program delivers more than business and consumer amenity – it generates jobs, drives investment, and facilitates population growth. The pipeline of infrastructure and development projects announced in the past few years is likely to have a material impact on the region – substantially improving its accessibility and amenity – most notably, Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf precinct and the Cross River Rail.

Queen’s Wharf, touted as a “world-class entertainment precinct”, is an integrated resort development costing $3.6 billion and covering over 26 hectares with retail, dining, hotel and entertainment spaces. As Queensland’s biggest ever tourism project it will be a game-changer for Brisbane, attracting overseas as well as local visitors.  Estimated to contribute $1.69 billion annually to the economy, it will employ more than 2,000 people during construction and an estimated 10,000 once operational.

The Queensland Government’s number one infrastructure project, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail, comprises a new 10.2km rail line between Dutton Park and Bowen Hills, which includes a 5.9km tunnel under the Brisbane River and CBD. It’s the first major rail infrastructure investment in the inner city since 1986 and is set to generate urban renewal, economic development and the revitalisation of inner-city precincts.

Outlook for commercial office property investment

These factors indicate a region poised for growth – and for growing commercial property demand. CMA’s portfolio has a significant exposure to the area in general (six SEQ assets with a combined book value of over $480 million), with many of the individual assets located in those parts of Brisbane set to benefit most from these developments.

Our view is that Brisbane office markets, where five of CMA’s assets sit, are continuing to improve, with vacancies hitting a five-year low – indicating increasing tenant demand – and continued yield compression, demonstrating strong investment demand. Office sales hit the highest level in a decade during 2018 (at $2.35 billion), increasing 60% from 2017.

With the strong outlook for SEQ, we expect the region will continue to attract tenants and investors alike.

Source: brisbaneinvestor.com.au

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Opinion

Queensland’s 100,000-property public housing shortfall revealed

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Queensland's 100,000-property public housing shortfall revealed

Queensland has a severe shortage of social and affordable housing, an issue that is projected to get worse by 2036 according to new research.

More than 102,000 additional social houses are currently needed across the state, and 54,700 affordable houses are also needed with nearly 13 per cent of Queenslanders spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

By 2036, Queensland is projected to need 254,300 more social and affordable houses – the second-highest unmet need behind NSW, the report found.

The new figures come from a UNSW City Futures Research Centre report on social housing shortfall across Australia.

Regional social housing shortfalls are higher than in Brisbane, the data shows, but Brisbane residents are slightly more likely to be spending more of their income on rent.

Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said housing affordability was a “big issue” for Queensland.

“Through the Palaszczuk government’s $1.8 billion Queensland Housing Strategy, Labor is driving key reforms and targeted investment across the housing continuum,” he said.

“The Strategy commits us to build more than 1000 affordable homes for Queenslanders, as well as a further 4522 new social homes to help ensure everyone has a safe, secure and stable place to live.”

Lead researcher Laurence Troy said 22.5 per cent of Australia’s entire housing growth must go to social housing to meet demand into the future.

“Our analysis shows that the sheer number of households in rental stress across the country means that if we’re going to meet the need, at least 12 per cent of all our housing by 2036 will need to be social and affordable housing – which is a very reasonable ambition in global terms,” Mr Troy said.

“To cover the backlog of unmet need and future need in Australia two in 10 new homes will need to be for social housing over the next 20 years, and a further one in ten for below-market affordable rental housing.”

Mr Troy said the research’s financial modelling found the “best and cheapest way” for governments to meet the need for social housing was to fund it through upfront grants and low-interest government financing.

“Delivering below market rental housing through the not-for-profit sector, as opposed to the private equity model, will save $3 billion a year by removing developer mark-ups and shareholder returns,” he said.

The financial modelling was commissioned by the NSW community housing sector.

Mr de Brenni said the state government was “listening” through its recent public consultation on rental reform and was committed to investing in affordable housing in partnership with community housing, to provide more subsidied homes for low income earners.

“We heard Queenslanders are struggling to afford rental properties in the suburbs close to where they work,” he said.

“Through our Build-to-Rent pilot project, we are seeking to work with the private sector to increase the number of long-term, affordable rental properties for low to moderate income earners, including key workers in health, early childhood and hospitality.

“Internationally, the Build-to-Rent model is delivering fantastic outcomes and facilities for tenants and we’re looking to see what the market is open to delivering here.

“The pilot, if it proceeds, will see $70 million invested towards delivery of hundreds of affordable rental properties for key workers in inner-city areas where affordability has been identified.”

Mr de Brenni said the registrations of interest for that pilot had seen strong market interest, and the department was considering the responses before calling for expressions of interest.

Source: brisbaneinvestor.com.au

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