Melbourne, the Possibility to Housing Dreams

By SUGA Magazine / Published on Sunday, 20 Aug 2017 09:16 AM / No Comments / 660 views
Melbourne is the most liveable city in the world. Pic: Blue Sky Vision Media

The idea of being a first home buyer or renter seems to become a distant dream daily for the millennials, but I’d prefer to be a Melbournian millennial than a Kiwi one.

Polys are constantly searching for a better alternative to make that dream come true.

The answer? Melbourne.

Recently named the ‘world’s most liveable city’, the median income for Melbourne is $74,634 while New Zealand’s is $48,800 a year based on 2016’s annual statistics.

From personal experience, moving to Melbourne in 2014 broadened my perspectives of what the city can offer and to be quite frank, it lives up to the expectation.

It is filled with opportunity.

Housing, career and life opportunities in general are plenty, whilst earning a decent wage. Let’s not forget the great quality of a fresh grounded coffee in the morning!

Having returned to Auckland earlier this year for an internship,  I have been confronted to an overpopulated, lower income and expensive city.

For young people like myself, we have limited decisions to be a first-home buyer. Choose to save for what seems a lifetime, loan off our parents or ask them to buy us a house outright. Lucky for some.

Unfortunately, the reality seems that the wealthier are progressing further ahead while the lower classes have hit a stump becoming worse off.

The Median house price in Wyndham Vale, West Melbourne, with a growing number of Polynesian residents was 395,000 in May this year.

Buying a House

It is arguably reasonable pricing when comparing Melbourne’s house prices to New Zealand’s. Particularly in Auckland, the house price to income ratio is now above 10 while Melbourne sits on 8.6.

The median house price around Melbourne’s CBD is $755,000 while Auckland is the most expensive with a median price of 850,500 and houses fetching up to 1 million according to June’s statistics report from Real Estate Institute of New Zealand 

There are many housing advantages or policies in Melbourne such as a low deposit interest rate, house, land packages and housing grants.

For example, to buy your first home in Victoria, the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is available to Victorian residents buying a property valued up to $750,000. If you are buying inside of regional Victoria, the government offers $20,000. Outside regional Victorian buyers are still entitled to a $10,000 grant.

In comparison, the Welcome Home Grant available to New Zealanders offers first home ownership assistance if the criteria is MET.  Meaning you only entitled when you earn a maximum yearly income of up to $85,000, have a minimum 10 per cent deposit of the purchase price, be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and be purchasing a house less than the regional house cap.

But Auckland’s house cap is $600,000. Where can Auckland residents find a decent property for that price if the median is currently $850,000-$1 million?

Young residents are forced to look at living with their parents or join the fight to land a rental property.

Foreign Speculators have contributed greatly to the NZ housing crisis forcing NZ Citizens to move to Australia. The Poly Exodus to Australia is at an all time high with Polynesian families NZ in droves.

Young Renters

In Melbourne, whether you are kilometres away from the CBD or not, you will sure find an affordable dwelling for rent.

I was renting a brand new apartment in Maribyrnong just 8km from the city with a flat mate for $360 weekly. I was contributing a maximum of $400 a week towards all living expenses including rent which seemed manageable enough as a student on a part-time job.

Mikayla Henry is a 23-year-old resident in Craigieburn, Melbourne which is 35kms away from the CBD and where she lives with her fiancé and 3-month-old daughter.

Although it is further out, Melbourne’s infrastructure and fairly good public transport services disguise the distance factor.

“We are paying $320 per week for a newly built, three bedroom townhouse and have considered moving home to New Zealand but it seems near impossible to find a quality rental there for under $350 per week,” she says.

“There would be a dramatic decrease in our wages so I question if we will be able to live comfortably in New Zealand with a 3-month-old baby and paying childcare, food, and a high rent. For this reason alone we have put the move on hold,” said Henry. 

Considering what seems to be an affordable suburb in Auckland, Onehunga is just 11km from the CBD. Two bedroom properties for rent are up for a minimum of $450-500 a week according to realestate.co.nz

For everyone in Auckland fighting for a decent rental place, it now seems to be based on luck. Today, there are still families suffering without anywhere to live. Many are still living in overcrowded homes, garages and out of cars.

Sure, there are many other options when considering buying your first home or seeking your first rental property, but ask any Poly who has flocked to Melbourne, Australia – the opportunity awaits and the dream of owning a home is within reach. 

Read more on the Poly Exodus to Australia: The Second Migration

-Story by Savannah Tafau-Levy

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