Friday, January 30, 2009

A House, A House, My Kingdom for a House

Ok, I know it's supposed to be My Kingdom for a Horse, but in Sydney's real-estate market, it really is a Kingdom for a House.

Despite the housing market bubble bursting in countries like the US and UK, Australia's market remains defiant of the trends.

For those looking to get a foot in the door, like The Bloke and myself, it's disheartening. Take, for example, today's open house jaunt....

We pull up near the townhouse, which is almost new and, despite being under the flight path, has double glazing to compensate. We're right on time for the 12:00-12:30 viewing, which is the viewing time for every other bloody open house inspection on a Saturday morning.

The real estate agent pulls up in his massive, black 4wd, which he (naturally) double parks so that he doesn't have to deal with the unpleasant prospect of walking ten metres to the property.

He jumps out and cheerfully announces that it's hot - no news to the 20-odd people waiting in the heat for him to be bothered to show his face. He swaggers to the door, all open neck shirt and sunglasses on shaved head, saying he "won't be a moment" to just "open up" the house.

We all troop in to hear him cheerfully announce that, such is the large interest in the property, that the estimated value has gone up $20,000. Great. That neatly puts it out of our budget. At it's original estimated value (if nobody puts a pre-auction offer in and it actually goes to auction) it was already twice the amount in mortgage repayments that we're currently paying in rent.

The townhouse is great and exactly what we're looking for. The only problem is that it is exactly what around 30 other couples are also looking for. You can barely move around the place without bumping into desperate house-seekers. We flatten our backs to the walls in corridors to pass and some get bolshie, pushing past you to look into the bathroom, not bothering to wait patiently for the last person to exit.

Deflated (unlike the property market), we head over to the next viewing.

It is not nearly as nice as the first townhouse with the second bedroom so small you could reach out and touch the opposite walls at the same time. The courtyard is lovely with a water feature and Japanese feel to it. But it's brick veneer and weatherboard and has a closed in feeling to it. The Bloke is quite keen, though.

We see the same faces from the first inspection and realise that this too, is a popular property.

We decide to call it a day as there are very little other properties open for inspection.

I am hopeful that, as Sydney returns from holiday January, more houses will come onto the market. The Bloke is less optimistic.

We return to our rental, in a suburb that we could never afford to buy in, and hope the property bubble will burst.


  1. I feel for you, Kimmy! The last house that sold in my neighborhood fetched approximately three times what I'd say it was worth...and I couldn't have afforded it at the "fair" price.

    Good areas don't seem to get hit by the slump as badly as dodgy districts. Here by the ocean, it's still beyond reason for regular humans to buy.

    But I do hope you find your dream pad, and soon!

  2. How frustrating! Has the shortage caused any newer developments to go up? I hope you find a good place soon. Around here, people get two or three realtors looking for three to four months before something comes up. Also despite the financial crisis, we're still seeing new apartments go in on the other side of us.

  3. Over here the bubble has well and truely burst and the prices are tumbling rather fast at the moment. Which is rather a good thing as everything hasbeen very inflated and of you never had a property in the first place with some equity in it to start with then you had no chance. I have heard that the Melbourne prices have started to tumble maybe it's time for a move of city!

  4. Hobart. Launceston. Devonport. Burnie.

  5. I'd try and wait a little longer - they seem to have started falling up here (Brisbane). Only a matter of time until they dip, as unemployment starts to bite.

    But, best wishes on your search - it can be v frustrating

  6. Scrib: Yeah, "fair" price my arse.

    Kate: That's one of the problems, not enough houses and too many buyers.

    Stu: We have been thinking about that...

    Flint: Jobs, jobs, jobs?

    Lerm: But Sydney's always had the highest property prices. Does that mean it will have the largest crash?