The sun rises in the east, Cersei Lannister is straight up bad news and, in other shocking revelations, housing affordability is still making headlines down under. This time, though, it’s for the right reasons. Our friends over the border in NSW have finally received the memo and decided to actively make it easier for First Home Buyers to enter the market.
The ACT already effectively scrapped stamp duty for First Home Buyers, opting instead for a nominal fee of $20. It is with a heavy sense of regret, though, that we admit defeat (by a whole $20).
The NSW government have ditched stamp duty altogether for First Home Buyers on all homes up to $650,000, and introduced discounts for stamp duty on homes up to $800,000. They’ve also increased the surcharge on stamp duty for foreign investors and removed deferred stamp duty payments in a bid to cool the market for entry-level buyers.
But what are we talking in terms of raw dollars with the new legislation? With the market in Canberra continuing to flourish with an ever-increasing population, the median house price is now almost $200,000 more than Queanbeyan’s average of $527,000.
Life in Queanbeyan…
We discussed some of the benefits of living over the border in our article Queanbeyan and the search for the perfect lifestyle, including:
- Proximity to Fyshwick
Fyshwick has had a serious facelift from the bygone era of car yards and nocturnal establishments, and now enjoys a full suite of boutique shops from clothing and furniture stores to award-winning cafés and Costco. Majura Park is also home to Canberra’s only IKEA, as well as a huge range of direct outlet stores.
- The up-and-coming foodie scene
Queanbeyan has enjoyed an influx of chic eateries in recent years, and whilst many proud Queanbo pubs have been rejuvenated and are thriving in their new state, our hats go off to the new cafés springing up everywhere. Look no further than 4th Seed. Big breakfast. Do yourself a favour, stop what you’re doing and head there immediately.
- Closer to Canberra…than Canberra?
For some Canberrans living in the far reaches of the territory, the commute into Canberra City is in fact significantly longer than that of our New South Welsh friends, who can drive to the Canberra Centre in 20 minutes flat.
Canberra or Queanbeyan?
A few members of the Perspective team are currently on the lookout for their first home, so we checked in with two of them to see where they’re at in their house-hunt.
Jessica, an ex-Sydney-sider, has been looking at buying a place in Queanbeyan for about 6 months now. She currently lives with her husband in a rented house in Palmerston, but can’t afford to buy a house in the ACT. With a young toddler, a dog and a tradie husband who needs a shed for his tools, a city apartment or small townhouse is basically out of the question.
With the recent changes to First Home Buyer legislation in NSW, the incentive for Jess to buy in Queanbeyan is now greater than ever. Realistically, Jess and her family need at least a townhouse with a sizeable backyard, and a standalone house on a separate block would be ideal. This dream is affordable for them in Queanbeyan, and for the same price, they will enjoy much more room than they ever would in Canberra.
Many of Jessica’s friends have purchased homes in Queanbeyan due to the increased affordability, so her coffee and brunch dates are usually in Queanbeyan anyway. She can attest to the big breakfast at 4th Seed (why are you still reading?).
Scarlett, on the other hand, is a born and bred Canberran. She’s grown up and lived in Ainslie her entire life, and can’t imagine not being able to walk to Eighty/Twenty in Braddon. Her inability to happily exist more than a stone’s throw from the exclusive shops of the Canberra Centre, though, comes at a price.
Scarl doesn’t own a car, and is more than happy to sacrifice a backyard and a second bedroom to stay within walking distance to everything the city has to offer. At the moment, it’s likely that she’ll purchase a 1 bedroom apartment off-the-plan at Midnight in Braddon.
4/30 Mowatt St, Queanbeyan East | ESTABLISHED
3 bedroom townhouse
This established 3 bedroom townhouse is predicted to sell for around the $400,000 mark, generally within the budget reach of most First Home Buyers. With the introduction of the First Home Buyer stamp duty concession, purchasers of this townhouse could save as much as $13,490. In other words, almost 3.4% of the total house price.
‘VISTA Apartments’, Gorman Dr, Googong | NEW
2 bedroom apartment
These brand new apartments in Googong are selling now from $339,900-$369,900. The new home buyer’s grant, combined with the concession on stamp duty, means a First Home Buyer of a $350,000 apartment at VISTA will save a whopping $21,240.
8 Rockley Pde, Googong | ESTABLISHED
4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house
This established Googong home, currently listed at $739,000, will qualify for the discounted stamp duty for First Home Buyers on new homes up to $800,000. A First Home Buyer could save up to $12,000 in stamp duty costs if they were to purchase 8 Rockley Pde.
What will happen to the market?
We caught up with Vic Srbinovski, Principal of Independent Property Group, Queanbeyan, to see how the changes in legislation will affect the market on the ground.
“These new changes should stimulate a lot of resale in the Queanbeyan area, particularly Jerrabomberra and Googong. The incentives now in place for First Home Buyers are huge, and I think we’ll see more First Home Buyers getting along to open for inspections and auctions as prospective buyers.”
“From a seller’s point of view, this has created the perfect opportunity to sell up while there’s such a boom in activity.”
So are you a Jessica or a Scarlett? Deciding which sort of lifestyle you and any significant others in your life desire will go a long way to helping you make a decision on where to purchase your first home. The jury’s still out on Eighty/Twenty vs. 4th Seed in the coffee stakes, so we’ll leave that up to you.