Gold Coast real estate: Hard time for first time buyers

It has always been the Australian dream to buy a house, but it seems that dream may not come true for many.

Soaring property prices, interest rate hikes, rising inflation and stagnant wage growth are huge barriers for first-home buyers.

So is there any hope for first-home buyers in our great city?

Last week, we reported on median house prices on the Gold Coast and how for the first time, there are more million-dollar suburbs than not.

PropTrack data showing 37 suburbs to have a house median of more than $1 million, with only 29 suburbs falling short of the mark.

Is it really unaffordable or are people just not willing to sacrifice enough to get themselves on the property ladder?

I always notice the divide in community forums – Baby Boomers saying their interest rates were at times more than 18 per cent.

Millennials and, now Generation Z, say the older generation has no idea.

It is an ongoing battle between the generations, as to who had or has it harder.

But with many of our city’s suburbs hitting the $1m median for houses, it’s no wonder that nine in 10 first-home buyers are stressed about saving for a deposit, as was revealed in the 2022 First-Home Buyer Survey from financial comparison site Canstar.

“Costly living expenses, rising rents, sky-high property prices, lower borrowing limits and coupled with little to no wage growth, means first-time buyers can be discouraged from thinking it’s possible to buy in today’s market,” said Canstar’s editor-at-large, Effie Zahos.

There are still plenty of opportunities for first-time buyers to find their dream home.

But she said, like other buyers before them, “there’s always going to be a way to buy”.

“A saving grace is property prices are starting to fall and buyers will be looking at the trade-off between lower prices and higher mortgage costs compared to rising rents,” she said.

“Striking while the iron is hot and prices are off the boil could be the sweet spot for first-home buyers as long as they take a realistic view of the market and buy what they can afford.”

Like other buyers before them, “there’s always going to be a way to buy” for first-home buyers.

She said saving a 20 per cent deposit for an $800,000 house could put anyone off when they realise it could take them more than a decade to reach their goal.

Recent PropTrack data revealed the unit markets in Surfers Paradise and Southport were the most popular for first-home buyer inquiry, followed by the housing markets in Upper Coomera, Pimpama and Nerang.

“Switching focus to a unit in an entry level suburb with a lower price point to cut the time to save will still be challenging, but it can mean getting on the ladder sooner,” Ms Zahos said.

And consistency is key for first-home buyers and their house deposit savings.

“It’s important to look for ways to cut back wherever possible,” she said.

“While the notion of expensive cafe breakfasts has been a major point of contention in the property affordability debate, Canstar’s research shows our food delivery habits and eating out is in fact a major savings barrier for many prospective buyers.”

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