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A place for us

March 6, 2011

Some people believe that if you visualise what you want, it will come to you. If this is true, painting what you desire should be powerful indeed. In fact, any moment now I should find myself the proud co-owner-occupier of the house below…

Like many young-ish Melbournians, my partner and I have been hoping to buy our first home for a ridiculously long time. Despite our best saving efforts, the local property market seems determined to taunt us, continually dangling the prices of liveable homes just out of reach of this pair of arty-brarians*, no matter how hard we save.

Meanwhile, it seems that in almost every other country property prices have tumbled.

And so we, and many like us, are faced with a conundrum. Do we buy if we can, and risk being stuck with a large mortgage on a home that is no longer worth what we paid? At least then we wouldn’t risk being left behind if prices continue to soar. And we would have a land-lord free home, to decorate or renovate as we want, safe in the knowledge that we can stay as long as we wish… Well, so long as we keep up the repayments… Or is it better to continue to rent and put our savings into other investments, hoping that sooner or later the Melbourne market bubble will burst. And trying not to feel too bad for the people, just like us, who lose out if/when it does. But possibly waiting forever, watching life go by from a rented shoe-box, and wondering why we never took the plunge…

Well, we suspect our landlords may be about to put our unit on the market, (they just had the place valued), so it is time to make a decision. Can we face moving to another rental? Or do we search out a lender who will offer us a mortgage on the strength of my partner’s earning power and our combined savings, (and, of course, overlook my current, but hopefully temporary, lack of income).

On balance, I suspect it is time to overcome our fear of mortgages. Even if it isn’t sold from under us, we’ve outgrown our current mouldy abode. And while we could move on to a bigger, better rental, we’d be restless to move on from the moment we moved in. So, while it feels inevitable that when we finally hand over a deposit Melbourne’s house prices will finally plummet, I guess we’ll just have to take that risk.

Note: your insights on the ins and outs of first home buying, particularly on choosing the right mortgage are welcomed. Please comment below, or send me an email. Thanks.

*For those who don’t know, we’re both artists and also both work as librarians.

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