Regional Victoria, Ready, Set...

There was an unusual positive vibe in the room in Kyabram, population c.7,000 people, when a collective of real estate agents, conveyancing lawyers, finance brokers and builders presented to around 40 prospective first home buyers along with a sprinkling of caring parents overseeing proceedings.

With such a strong showing in a small town, it’s a great opportunity about to happen for rural Victoria and the interest we are receiving from the whole state is certainly unprecedented as far as the ‘country’ goes indeed.

To compare 2017 with the time mum and dad purchased their new home, however, would be akin to comparing the Boeing 707 with the Dreamliner with so many advances happening over the past 20-30 years that you would find hard to comprehend yet how much we forget how things were.

The Victorian State Government is kindly proposing a new $20,000 boost along with generous stamp duty savings for legitimate First Home Buyer owner occupiers. To look at a new home today, could you imagine what mum and dad are thinking when they go back to their first home?

I remember when I started in the new homes industry we would sell house and land packages in the Melbourne growth suburbs of Sydenham, Roxburgh Park, Lyndhurst, Rowville, Hoppers Crossing and Point Cook for under $100,000 – yes that is land AND a house – but there were no grants being offered, banks would want to see a lengthy savings process, lending was limited to the major banks with no competition, and in your home you’d be looking at 12-14 squares including a carport, no garages then, and you’d probably be sitting on a block that today would accommodate three medium density units!

Not so shocking to the young buyers I spoke to about interest rates being upwards of 12% but one of my similar aged real estate agents discretely coughed “17%!” and it did remind me of a draconian time in the late '80s and early '90s when your “I” in the “P & I” was not for the faint hearted at all. 

But move forward to 2017 and like cars of today that do so much to protect the inhabitants, the newly built home offers so much for new home owners. Now you’re getting an energy efficient house and with many good reasons not to mention the higher cost of energy these days thanks to privatisation of the power grid as well as a move to sustainable albeit unaffordable power costs but all the same, the homes built since the onset of 6-Star Energy Efficiency make living much more comfortable.

Over the past few years also we have made many leaps in terms of delivering sustainable housing as a norm and it sometimes gets taken for granted with PV (photo voltaic) systems powering hot water systems, assisting with providing power to the home and even running skylights through the house!

Not all changes have been too positive though, mass marketed volume builders have done their best to cull any space in the home they deem wasted with bedrooms over the years becoming so small you’ve hardly got any room to share a bed with a desk let alone have some play area and due to the way they need to build in a mass, lack of customisation around the client becomes a big no no. But we aren’t all going the way of the volume builders though, like in 1993 you could go watch Fitzroy be competitive at Princes Park you could only pick four to six true worthy lenders but now you will find local smaller builders more than competitive in price and available direct to project manage your first dream home.

As many parents nodded sagely when I mentioned it, with the finance broker providing repayment schedules based on 4.10% interest with little sign of moving north, loans acquired with as little as 3% deposit needed and wonderful new savvy plans with little quirky inclusions such as USB charges throughout the house and even Bluetooth speakers fitted into living rooms as well as the basic necessities, such as landscaping, fencing, driveways, letter boxes and clotheslines, our clients are getting really looked after without hidden costs to raise their ugly head and the times haven’t been any more exciting to make a start. 

Throw into the mix that the broker showed repayments on some packages being around $1,200 per month affordability is certainly not an issue so what I’m looking at in Regional Victoria come 1st July “Go!!!”

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- Tim Renwick, Sales and Marketing Manager