Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Opportunity is everywhere. Just look for it ( It will probably be in your street).

I realise that not everybody can buy the home of their dreams in the perfect spot. (I definitely fall into that category). However, over time, locations can become more desirable as the demographics change. For my non-Australian friends, Ballarat is one of Australia's largest inland cities, population 100,000. It is about 110 kilometres west of Melbourne, population just under 4 million. Melbourne was recently listed as the World's most livable city, but unfortunately is one of the world's most expensive cities for Real Estate. Inevitably, people start to move away from larger cities for a lifestyle change, and they want to re-create some of the positive aspects of the city lifestyle they have "lost". The new area can really benefit culturally as a result. (Case in point: I had my first Thai meal about 10 years ago. 20 years ago in Ballarat, Thai restaurants were non-existent.

Here's some timely advice: Whatever town or city you live in, if you can't buy in the most desirable of areas, buy as close to it as you can reasonably afford, in places that aren't as popular. Pick some place a little quirky, with a bit of character. Wait a while and it will start to become popular and more gentrified. Obviously, you may have to wait longer in some areas for changes to become visible.

I followed my own advice, did a lot of homework, bought in an area that was really undesirable about 20 years ago, got laughed at by some, but noticed in under 18 short months from purchase, that blocks in our street were being subdivided. An old school that nobody liked living near was sold and is apparently in the process of being re-developed into retail and boutique housing. Some unsightly homes have been demolished to make way for new homes and town homes. Even the most modest of cottages are being treated to sympathetic high quality extensions.

Inevitably, the demand for centrally located, character homes rises rapidly. The people that buy them usually have money to spend on improvements. Many of these people also like the finer things in life and have the money to buy such things. Accordingly, in pockets, our street is starting to look like Prestige car showroom. ( Old Fords and Holdens have been replaced by an Audi S4, new Saabs, Volvos, BMW M5, Mercedes, Range Rovers, Rolls-Royce, Volkswagens, a Skoda, Mini Cooper, and even a new Porsche 911 convertible- and that's in the space of 3 blocks).

Real Estate Hint: Do your research and actually get out of your car and walk the streets of an area you desire. Look at these places at different times of the day, night and week. Are long-neglected homes being repaired in a short space of time? Are the "For Sale" signs turning into "Sold" signs quickly? Are the cars out the front getting nicer? Are boutique, specialised stores and restaurants opening nearby? If so, you may be in a neighbourhood that is gentrifying and increasing in value fast.. It may be worthwhile grabbing something now!