Originally written by AMANDA FORAN
ESTABLISHED homes are becoming increasingly difficult to buy in Hamilton with some potential buyers having to live in the caravan park while they wait for houses to become available.
Housing prices have increased across the board due to a surge in demand, thus turning the local real estate into a market for sellers rather than buyers.
The Federal government’s $7000 First Home Owners grant and low interest rates are the main contributors to the surge, according to a number of local real estate agents.
Gary McFarlane, of Gary McFarlane Real Estate, says his clients comprise mainly buyers, with few people placing their homes on the market.
“It’s hard to get listings. We’ve got a range of people seeking houses, from first home buyers to retired people. There’s even some people renting in the caravan park while they wait for a house to come up,” Gary said.
There was currently a major shortage of houses in the $90,000 to $100,000 bracket, and those normally priced in this range had increased by 15 per cent due to a lack of supply, he said.
He estimates he has 12 to 14 clients who are anxious to buy, with brick homes the most sought after.
Two month search
Lifetime Hamilton resident, Bronwyn Arnel says she and husband, Rob, have been looking to buy a three bedroom brick home for their young family for the past two months.
Having moved out of their previous home which they occupied for 12 years, the Arnels have struggled to find suitable accommodation to rent or ideally, buy.
“It’s been very frustrating trying to find a house,” Bronwyn said.
“You drive around town and see a lot of empty houses and wonder if the owners could put those on the rental market, even if it was only temporary.”
The family have been residing in a cabin at the caravan park for the past week and have just found a home to rent. The search for an appropriate house to buy has provided no promising results.
Ivan Bird says he has few listings for homes valued between $60,000 to $80,000.
A backlog of homes in this price margin had been cleared by people taking advantage of the $7000 new home owners grant, he said.
While many real estate agents would perhaps prefer a happier medium in which buyers and sellers were spread more evenly, Stuart Otton, of Southern Grampians Real Estate, remains optimistic and describes the market as “very healthy.”
“It is a great time to sell,” Stuart said.
“As soon as we get houses they sell straight away.”
According to Helen Morrison, of Lanyons, the $7000 new home owners grant is not solely responsible for the state of the market.
Revenue from the blue gum industry has also helped in all areas of the market, she says. Likewise, a general feeling of confidence in investing in real estate.
Michelle Osborn, of Elders VP, Hamilton, echoes this view saying the move toward realty investments is spreading nationwide.
A number of renters are also finding themselves in a better financial position to buy a home with the assistance of the home owners grant.
However those in recently sold rental properties may not be so fortunate, with some obligated to vacate the premises for the new owners.
Consequently there is an increasing need for rental properties which have also declined dramatically.