The first time you do anything can be challenging — riding a bike, learning to drive or speaking in front of a crowd.
It’s new, unfamiliar and requires a certain element of previous knowledge.
Sometimes you can fluke it but often times you’re best to start small and work your way up over time.
Training wheels, a driving instructor, cue cards and a mirror.
Is the same true for real estate? Perhaps.
There’s an argument for playing it safe your first time out to minimise the risk and learn the ropes.
So that philosophy would rule out New South Wales as an option for debut investors… right?
Risk isn’t always a dirty word
You can make a calculated and informed risk without “going big or going home”, as they say.
Investing in the Sydney property market, which has seen dizzying highs and more recent plateaus, could give you reason for pause.
But if you do your research, you’ll see that it’s not all doom and gloom.
Demand remains strong in the Sydney rental market, so what you get is a landlord’s dream for your higher buy-in price.
Did you hear about that hallway someone tried to rent as a bedroom in Bondi for $200 per week?
You’d be lucky to fit a baby’s cot in that space.
The media took that story and ran with it, prompting fits of giggles from most people.
Who would actually rent that?
You know what? Someone did.
And there were many, many more who enquired.
The metropolitan market is dramatically undersupplied and any short-term jitters in the buying and selling space aren’t being felt in rentals.
In the medium- to long-term, the Greater Sydney property market remains a good bet.
Population growth is tipped to stay strong, the economy is outperforming most other capitals, construction is starting to cool, and an infrastructure boom is under way.
And it’s not just Sydney where the writing on the wall is very positive indeed.
Who can afford to buy there though?
There’s no doubt Sydney is an expensive property market — recent fluctuations notwithstanding.
But investing in New South Wales doesn’t mean forking out a million-and-a-half for a dump in Surry Hills.
The city’s western corridor is a hotbed of activity, as too are pockets to the south.
Go west and you’ll find soaring demand, a new airport, incredible gentrification and a centre that’s been declared the state’s second capital.
How’s that for an option?
But, go further afield and you’ll find even more opportunity.
Newcastle is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia.
Wollongong might be cooling as an industrial hotspot, but it’s got a good tourism and education base that’ll see demand remain solid.
The Southerland Highlands is also worth a look.
There’s also some bargains to be had in the Blue Mountains, which with ever-improving transport links, is an attractive commuter location.
Are there any concessions?
Can you rely on some generous government hand-outs as a first-time investor?
Short answer — no.
There are some nice stamp duty waivers or concessions, as well as a grant for new builds, on offer for homebuyers.
But you have to meet strict criteria, which will include living in the property for a certain period of time.
If the idea of your own home is appealing, then consider it.
On purchases up to $650,000 you won’t pay a cent in stamp duty if the place you’re buying is your principal place of residence.
Up to $800,000, the duty is discounted.
If you’re building a new place to move into and it’s priced under certain thresholds, you can score $10,000.
Do your homework — and do the sums
Crunch the numbers. It may work out that, with tax benefits, being an investor makes you better off than being a homebuyer just to scoop up the perks.
And if you’re on a budget, you might not like the idea of living somewhere you can afford.
There’s a reason “rent-vesting” is the hot new trend among first-timers.
Essentially, you make a wise investment decision that’s within your budget, enjoy the taxation benefits and rent where you want to live.
It’s the epitome of having your cake and eating it, too.
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