SEPTEMBER 28, 2012

Finding a 'Forever Home'

Janet Spencer

We all know that buying and selling property can often be a stressful, time consuming and sometimes difficult process.  For this reason, many buyers in the market have decided it is time to find a ‘Forever Home’ rather than a ‘Next Home’ – so that they can settle down, knowing that several years down the track they won’t need to consider moving.  If you are in the market for a ‘Forever Home’, you may find that it beckons more from your budget, however in today’s competitive environment this is a price many buyers are willing to pay.

Would you pay a premium for your ‘Forever Home’?

Results at recent auctions in two of Melbourne’s best suburbs, Armadale and Malvern, suggest that buyers are prepared to pay a premium price to secure their ‘Forever Home’.  Obviously value can mean different things to different prospective buyers, depending on what they want and need.

There are various extra special features that buyers look for in a forever home, and many buyers are willing to pay a premium for these.  Generally, buyers who want to avoid several moves as their needs change with different life phases are particularly attracted to the following:

  • Single level homes
  • Low maintenance properties
  • Lock and leave with good security
  • Walking distance to reliable public transport
  • Natural light

What savings can be made when buying a ‘Forever Home’?

There are various ways in which purchasing a ‘Forever Home’ can result in a saving, for example:

  • Victoria has the highest rate of stamp duty in Australia, making it a major issue for people who buy, sell and re-buy.  On a $2 million dollar home, you will be paying 5.5% in stamp duty or $110,000 in Victoria, however in New South Wales it is $95,490 being a saving of $14,510 compared to Victoria.
  • Moving is costly and rated as one of life’s top-ten stressful events. Who needs extra stress in their life?
  • The cost of moving all of your goods and chattels and reconnecting your utilities is time consuming and expensive.
  • Recreating social relationships with your neighbours and finding all of your local services (doctor, dentist, hairdresser etc), also takes time and effort.

With these factors in mind, it is clear that moving once to cater for your long term needs can be a wise decision.

A few real-life ‘Forever Homes’

Over the past few weeks we have come across several great examples of individuals finding their ‘forever home’ at a competitive auction.

Single Level Townhouse in Armadale

A single level town residence on Huntingtower Road, Armadale sold for $2.35 million, way over its reserve.  Competitive bidding from five bidders drove the result and we believe it was due to four sought after factors:

  1. The ‘walk score’ of the property – it was close to two tram lines, shops, trains, schools and restaurants.
  2. It was single level.
  3. The North West facing outdoor entertaining area and good natural light.
  4. An ideal “lock and leave” home

Townhouse with a lift in Malvern

The following weekend a lovely home at on Somers Avenue, Malvern sold for $2.445 million, well in excess of the $1.96 million reserve.  This auction attracted a large crowd and rapid bidding from seven parties.  Four private bidders out-bid myself and two other professional advocates.  None of these bidders were at all concerned about the large and busy construction site opposite on the ex-Deakin Stonnington site.  So what drove this frenzy?  It had the package (ideal lock and leave, great amenity and transport near-by and it had a lift!)

Single Level Townhouse in Templestowe/Doncaster

In another part of Melbourne, we are experiencing similar pent up demand for single level homes.  At one auction the successful buyer had apparently been shopping for six years for a home without any internal stairs on a compact allotment.  Most developers are building two-storey properties at the  moment and so, those wanting a long term home to cater for future mobility challenges as they age, will not buy them.

So before you rush off to buy your ‘Next Home,’ it might be time to think about buying your ‘Forever Home.’

Join us to keep up to date with property news, inspiration and advice.

Janet Spencer


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