We all go through different life stages and the housing we choose is a direct reflection of this. From the cosiness of the family home, to crazy share houses, or sparse flats - once we fly the coop, as life happens our homes change accordingly. Deciding to upsize as a property owner tends to come at a specific time and for those living in, or looking to relocate to Brisbane there are some pretty great options to be discovered right about now.
Generally upsizers come in one of two varieties – young couples who are about to, or have already started their family, and singles looking to upgrade from living alone in a small apartment to something larger, or moving in with a new partner. Growing families are included in this picture too – despite their small size, one more baby can really put pressure on space if there are already 3 or 4 of you in the house.
In Brisbane, a combination of events have created good opportunities for upsizers to find properties in the median to upper median price range, not too far from the CBD. According to Corelogic’s January home value index, Brisbane’s current median house price sits at around $493,000 and includes a few properties in the CBD, with greater choice extending out to the fringes. This price range is specific to upsizers in Brisbane right now, with many of these buyers not looking specifically for a bargain, and investment potential not their only consideration. For many of them, this will be their 2nd or 3rd property purchase, at which point they are closer to buying their forever home than ever before. The notion of spending slightly above the median is quite palatable to many of them, given the long future they have in mind, living and growing with their family in the house. Slightly older homes have some appeal in this market, giving families the chance to make it their own, with renovator’s delights definitely not on their wish list. Most of them have practical priorities such as proximity to schools, public transport, retail centres and work, but lifestyle is also a consideration. The notion that the further away from the CBD you go, the better bang you’ll get for your buck is not lost on these buyers either, but they are factoring this into the price and paying slightly more for a preferable locations.
This point was further evidenced in a recent report from Riskwise Property Research, which reflected on the window of opportunity presented by Brisbane, as a result of the explosion of prices in recent years in Sydney and Melbourne. Not only can buyers replace their Sydney or Melbourne property for something similar in Brisbane, they can also upsize it to something bigger and shinier for an extra $200,000 to 300,000. The same strategy in the southern cities would cost half a million or more, which is why southern buyers are upsizing out of state to the sunny north, with Brisbane the next best city in their sights.
Validating this point, the report included 5 Brisbane suburbs in its list of top 10 suburbs in southeast Queensland that provide the best opportunities for upsizers. Number one on the list was Albion, a favourite particularly for millennials who are beginning to start their family. Albion is just 20 minutes from the CBD so the transition to there from the inner city is manageable. It’s likely those in this demographic will leave contemporary inner city apartments close to bars and restaurants, to move into a larger property that’s still close to the action but not necessarily in the heart of it – making Albion a perfect choice.
Coming in 2nd and 3rd place respectively were Wavell Heights and Stafford, also in the city’s north. Both offer the same convenience and amenities as Albion, but are just a little further away, so therefore not only offering bigger properties but also possibilities for backyards, gardens and outdoor spaces due to larger block sizes. Parents with a couple of kids might choose these areas for example when they are expecting their 3rd child, or as younger children stat to become teenagers, needed bigger bedrooms and more privacy. These are also the areas where buyers could pick up decent properties that they can renovate a little to make their own.
Sunnybank and Murarrie rounded out the top 5, offering some good south of the river options. Sunnybank is well located for those travelling regularly between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and offers a great suburban lifestyle for families. Murarrie is particularly interesting and could be the one to watch in coming years. Although it is known as an industrial area, there has been a lot of investment made there recently, with a number of new developments added, making it only a matter of time before hip young things make it their own.
The most important thing to consider if looking to upsize is why. Is it that you need more space, or are you yearning for a change of scene and a move to a different suburb? Maybe the property no longer meets your personal needs, or the needs of your family anymore. If you are tired of living alone, there are other solutions rather than just upsizing from a unit to a house – your financial future must be the primary consideration here. If you are planning to start a family, then the decision becomes whether you need the house before that happens or once the children have arrived. Moving to a 3 bedroom house in the suburbs before your first pregnancy has been confirmed is risky, especially if your family planning does not turn out how you expected. Upsizing should resolve the issues you currently have and deliver you into the next stage of your life, whilst being a sensible and strong transition in your financial investment journey as well.