The Cost of Living in Australia: House Prices

by BobinOz on August 4, 2009

in Cost of Living - Australia

Required for reading this post: maths level 2 or above.

I have written about house prices before, but then the other day I saw an interesting article on Yahoo news which I wanted to copy and paste onto my blog and claim as my own. Two things prevented me from doing this.

  1. Firstly, apparently it is illegal.
  2. Secondly, it was too professionally written for this blog.

So instead, I need to mash it up and tell it to you in my own words. So here goes.

house The Cost of Living in Australia: House Prices

It gets murky

The article asked “Is the Australian dream dead?” in reference to owning your own home. It discusses the cost of housing and looks at the affordability of it for existing homeowners and for the first time buyer getting onto the housing ladder here in Australia.

Now I can only talk about my experiences in my previous country, England, so I don’t know how this might compare with where you live. But the article was trying to make the point that it is now ridiculously hard for single income buyers. Let’s take a look.

Firstly, existing homeowners.

These were the median house prices across Australia’s five biggest cities rounded to the nearest grand……

  • Sydney:       $577,000
  • Melbourne:    $492,000
  • Perth:          $475,000
  • Brisbane:      $452,000
  • Adelaide:      $379,000

Average annual earnings across the same five cities ranged from $65,000 a year in Perth down to $54,000 a year in Adelaide. The mortgage repayments appear to have been calculated at a cost of around $6.40 per $1000, 5.90%. As a 10% deposit had been assumed, the mortgage repayments ranged between $3,317 (Sydney) and $2,180 (Adelaide) per month.

They then talked about “Average total earnings needed to avoid mortgage stress.” According to their sources for this, mortgage stress is assumed to take place when your mortgage repayment exceeds 35% of your income. From here they could simply calculate how much you needed to earn a year to avoid that stress and therefore how many people would need to work (based on average annual salaries) to cover that mortgage.

The bottom line was that you would need 1.4 times one person’s salary to live in Perth or Adelaide, 1.5 for Brisbane, 1.7 for Melbourne and 1.8 times one person’s income to live in Sydney.

Let’s translate that to English. And England. Take the average weekly income. According to government statistics for 2008, men earn around £28,000 a year and women earn around £22,000. That’s nice and easy, so £50,000 between the two of them.

Using the same criteria, which is we do not want them to be paying more than 35% of their income on a mortgage and they have to put in 10% deposit, I calculate (at 5.90% interest, 25 year mortgage) they can afford to buy a house worth £250,947.

Now I may be a little out of touch, but I don’t think you’d buy much of a property in any of the equivalent places in England for that. But this is where it gets kind of murky. What is equivalent to these 5 top Australian glorious golden sandy beached seaside cities? Is it London, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Sheffield? They are the most populated. Or is it London, Oxford, St Albans, Brighton and Bath. They are probably the most expensive.

If you could buy a house in any of those places for £250,947, it probably wouldn’t be a four bed detached with double garage, as many of these are, with the possible exception of Sydney. Note also that to buy that house for £250,947 I have automatically assumed that two people will be paying for it. Not 1.4, not 1.5, not even 1.7 or 1.8 people, but a whole 2.0 people.

But what about first time buyers?

For first-time buyers it was assumed they would try to purchase their first property outside of the major cities. Here were the median prices for each of the five main states which seem to assume that nobody wants to live in Northern Territory or Tasmania.

  • New South Wales:   $331,000
  • Western Australia:   $330,000
  • Queensland:           $320,000
  • Victoria:                $291,000
  • South Australia:      $279,000

To avoid mortgage stress as defined above, all the above states required exactly 1.0 people’s incomes to pay off the mortgage apart from Queensland which required 1.1.

If I am not mistaken, for a first time buyer to purchase a property in England on their own AND avoid mortgage stress you would need to win big time on the lottery.

So I would suggest that if the Australian dream is dead, the English dream was buried years ago. Those Aussies, they don’t know when they’ve got it so good!

Confused? Me too. So here’s a conclusion: On the basis that first time buyers can still get on the property ladder here whilst earning “average” incomes; On the basis that whatever you do buy here is much bigger than the usual UK abode; On the basis that housing here up north (Northern territory was not looked at in those figures) is much cheaper here, just like in the UK; I still say…..

….for house prices, UK vs Australia, it’s got to be another victory for Oz.

A Yahoo article did have a more professional and thorough explanation of what you have seen here, but they have now taken it down. So this is all you’ve got! Apart from…..

Update:

I have revised my comparison to take into account property price fluctuations and the GBP v AUD exchange rates. You can read the new post by visiting…..

The Cost of Living in Australia: House Prices Revised

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn August 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Hi Bob, great read! My brain is a bit numb though. I was looking at the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme at http://www.firsthome.gov.au/ and although i’m not sure how it all works yet or if we qualify… it seems interesting. ;-) Lovely house in the pic. Who’s is it? Did you ever sell your first house?… i can’t remember now. I remember you doing some house hunting at some point.

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BobinOz August 7, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Carolyn, yes, I think I got a headache writing it.

I have not heard of the FHOG but the government are currently running some incentives for first time home buyers here (about $20,000 I think) in Australia. I’m not sure how it works or how much longer it will last.

I have no idea who’s house that is, I just pulled up at the side of the road and took the snap. It’s not far from where I live.

We did go househunting but have decided to stay where we are for at least the next five years. We are really happy where we are.

Cheers

Bob

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Ray September 25, 2009 at 8:36 am

Hi Bob,
I just want to thank you for the information you have provided on your site.
I have really enjoyed the read, more so, as I’m migrating to Aus 2010 I would do it sooner but houses are not selling that easy at the moment.
I hope the exchange rate changes soon, I’m hoping for the norm as you put it 2.5.
Thanks again,
Ray

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BobinOz September 28, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Hi Ray

Thanks for the kind words and congratulations, it sounds like you are on your way over. As for the pound, it must be heartbreaking watching that fall. I hope things perk up in the housing market soon and the pound recovers a bit. But the most important thing is to just get out here and start living the dream.

Cheers

Bob

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luke September 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I’ve lived in south australia all my life. I would just give a word or two to caution you abouy property.
australia can be an excellent place to invest as property is some what of a national obsession here. Just be careful to buy the right place first. Change over costs ie: real estate fees, stampy duty and other moving costs can bite into your home equity very quickly if for example you decided to move and sell every 1-2 years as i have seen people do in the past. The longer you keep a place for the more capital investment it will give you, and, any change over costs, long term will represent a smaller proportion of your investment. Some stamp duty costs now are significant, so choose very wisely.

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BobinOz September 28, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Hi Luke

You’re absolutely right, Australia is a good place to invest in property. If I’m not mistaken, I don’t believe they have ever had a property price crash. Back in the UK, we have had a couple of major price crashes where houses fell by 30 to 40%. Ouch!

But the UK also suffers from stamp duty, exorbitant estate agent fees and removal fees. We bought our house in Queensland (lowest stamp duty rates in all of Australia) and it seemed to us that the fees were very similar to what we would have paid in England. But I’ve just done a quick search and it seems stamp duty is different in each state of Australia. And South Australia is the second most expensive for stamp duty behind Victoria. Over 4% on a house costing more than $600,000, is that right?

So you have a very valid point, thanks for raising this.

cheers

Bob

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mj January 22, 2010 at 7:04 pm

A few points need to be mentioned here I think if you’re going to have a fair comparison.

1. Why would anybody in the UK ne paying 5.9% interest on theory mortgage? I’ve just remortgaged at base rate + 1.89%, interest rates would have to go up by 3.5% before I was paying that much.

2. Are those average income figures comparing like with like? Are they mean or median figures, full time only or all jobs including part time?

3. Even if they are correct, that figure of £250k will get you a nice house in a good neighbourhood in most parts of the UK, the median house price here is £165k which at current exchange rates is some 40% lower than the Aussie median of A$500k.

4. If you assume that first time buyers buy outside the state capitals then their potential incomes also fall. While most smaller towns in the UK are commutable to major employment centres, greater distances down under mean that isn’t the case so often in oz.

5. ‘up north’ in the two countries isn’t really the same thing, in the UK it id half the population, NT in oz is home to fewer people than a smallish provincial town in the UK.

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BobinOz January 23, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Hi MJ

Thanks for your quite comprehensive assessment of this post. Always good to hear other peoples views.

Going through your points….

1) Interest rates do vary, of course, and you only need to go back to August 2008 to see 5% interest in the UK. If you were to average out UK interest rates over the last 20 years, I’m sure you’ll find it is much nearer to 5.9% than 1.9%.

2) Those figures are Mean annual earnings for full-time workers.

3) House prices in the UK have fallen quite substantially, perhaps even since I wrote this article, so that will affect what is said here. But the biggest effect has been the dramatic fall of the pound which has fallen by around 20% against the Australian dollar in the last year alone and probably 10% since I wrote this article.

4) Yes, point taken. But Aussies can still find local work in these smaller towns and some are prepared to do a longer commute.

5) if I remember correctly, the price of houses up north in Australia were not taken into account. I was just making a remark, but interestingly I have recently heard that houses in Darwin are actually quite expensive. Not sure how true that is so. But I will find out.

I have to say though, since the rapid decline of the pound, some of my cost of living comparison posts have become increasingly out of date. After all, a 20% swing in currency values is always going to have an effect.

But I will say this: Right now, in Brisbane, just 30 minutes drive from the city centre, you can still buy a four-bedroom detached house, with double garage, two bathrooms and a swimming pool for $450,000. That’s around £255,000 at today’s exchange rate.

I may be out of touch with England’s prices but my guess is you’d be hard pressed to find better value close to a major city back in England.

If you also take into account the average salaries here in Australia are much higher than they are in England, then for those who live and work here buying a house would appear to be easier done in Australia and is in the UK.

And it’s sunny!

Cheers

Bob

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Ray January 23, 2010 at 5:19 am

Hi Bob,

The last time I left you a message was to thank you for the info on your site and to let you know I was on my way to Aus in 2010. Well as you would know changes were made by Ausy gov in September last year. It could now take three years to get the subclass visa processed; I can’t tell you how frustrating it is we had the house on the market and boxes were being packed. I can see why this change was needed your Government is just looking after its own; I reckon that is why I really want to be living over there.
The house is still on the market but the boxes are unpacked.

I will see you soon mate,
Ray

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BobinOz January 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Hi Ray

That is a nightmare! I feel for you.

I assume you are talking about when the government removed quite a few jobs from the skilled list because of the economic downturn? I know a lot of trades have gone quiet here so the government acted to try and protect our workers.

But whatever the reason, you must be gutted.

I don’t know where you wanted to move to, but I did read somewhere the other day that over in western Australia they were already struggling to find workers in certain skills because WA is apparently the state leading the way in Australia in terms of growth.

Because of this, they were hoping to get the government to agree to some exceptions so they can import certain skills. Not sure what you do for a living, but it may be worth looking into this.

Even if you didn’t want to move to WA, I’m sure you could cope with hanging around there for awhile until you get the freedom to move to other states.

Good luck.

Bob

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mj January 27, 2010 at 1:09 am

Hi bob, hope you’re enjoying the sun.

I got that average figure from the annual survey of hours and earnings 2009.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_labour/ASHE-2009/2009_all_employees.pdf

Just click on the ‘annual gross’ link and select the ‘full time’ tab, it gives both mean and median figures.

You can get some very decent properties for around £250k, this 5 bed in a nice peak district town just 30 mins from Manchester city centre is £265k but I’m sure you could knock them down a bit!

Click here to see the house in Manchester

No pool, but then a pool is more hassle than it’s worth in this climate!

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mj January 27, 2010 at 6:01 am

Lol, sorry about the superlong url!

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BobinOz January 27, 2010 at 11:15 pm

What superlong URL? I didn’t notice. hehehe (sorry – I fixed it)

Firstly, I’ve answered your reply about average annual salaries in the UK over at the post about UK and Australian salaries compared. Just trying to keep things tidy here!

As for that house in Manchester, it looks lovely. I’m sure it will sell very easily (already STC). But I would much rather live 30 minutes from Brisbane than 30 minutes from Manchester. And for the same money, I can get this…….

Edit: Sorry, the house has now been sold and the details removed.

It’s about the same money, ($485,000) but it is on 2595 m² of land. Check out the back garden on your Manchester place, picture 13. What is it? 60′ x 45′? With the best will in the world, the property is on no more than 400 m². Less than one sixth the size of the Aussie place.

I know which I’d rather buy.

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mj January 28, 2010 at 4:02 am

Hi, yeah that house looks nice, the huge garden would drive me crazy though I think! I’m more the type of guy who’d prefer a nice small manageable one and go down the park or out into the country if I feel the urge to run around.

If you prefer Brisbane then obviously you’d go for that one, personally I’ve got a lot of time for Manchester, it’s probably my favourite of the big UK cities, London is good of course but prices there are pretty much double anywhere else.

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BobinOz January 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I only ever went to Manchester a couple of times, so I don’t really know it that well. But, not sure if you saw it, I have written a post comparing Manchester to Queensland, sort of.

You may want to check it out.

You can click to the post here, it’s called Australian Music Scene: Queensland vs Manchester

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peter pan February 20, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Australia has a population density of 2,8 people per square kilometer and the uk 255 people /km2,so the available land per each australian is 91 times more than in the uk…so i suppose land in australia should be a lot cheaper…

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BobinOz February 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Shame our land here isn’t 91 times cheaper! That’d be nice. Your population figures are one of the reasons we moved here. Check out my post on interesting facts about Australia

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Allan June 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Looking at this site for the first time ,all seems to be bright and rosy liveing in sunny Australia.Thats what most people move to Australia for the sun.The big House with the swimming pool sounds great.Houses in Australia are just flashy sheds,pooly built,like fridges in the winter,ovens in the summer.Most houses are 4 times more exspensive than they are worth,Lots of big windows,and a tin roof.the glass is 3mm thick.On new estates they are crammed in 1mtr apart,the houses are so flimsy you can hear those next door fart.Being a retired builder,people couldn’t afford to buy a solid house like they have in the Uk,double glazing,windows,cavity brick,wall insulation ect.Most in Australia are in mortgage stress.To start off in Australia you need to be well cashed up.If labor gets thrown out at the next election,dont count on your earnings to go up.Work choices will be back,causeing alot of hardship for some unlucky workers.Forget about it being all milk and honey,it’s far from it.Lots of crime,murders,drunken violent anti social behavior,Schools full of bullies,and drugs,coruption top to bottom.Australia has it all.But it’s sunny.Anyone that has a nice home,good job,friends and family.Stay at home.Then you have the anti pommie bit to put up with.

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BobinOz June 30, 2010 at 10:01 pm

You don’t have anything good to say about Australia, do you? So I have to ask, why do you live here? And have you ever lived in England? You see, houses aren’t exactly built like castles anymore over there and the only reason they have double glazing is because without it, not only would you hear next door fart, you’d freeze in the winters whilst listening to it.

Anyway, as far as I am aware the housing regulations here state that the outside wall of the house must be at least 1 & a 1/2 metres away from the fence which means the minimum distance between two houses is at least 3 m. As for the rest of your rant, you seem to be describing all the reasons why people want to leave the UK.

I think the whole point of you leaving a comment here is summed up in three of your words…. “stay at home”. You just don’t want people emigrating here do you?

You should pop over and introduce yourself to Anthony Ford, he added a comment on my post about Australia’s bad things. I reckon you’d get on really well with him.

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JOHN WILKES July 9, 2010 at 9:44 am

Oh dear, seems close to a verbal punch-up Bob. I understand what Allan is on about , like most things comments are generally based on some form of truth. When returning to the U.K. our house felt like quality in comparison with those in OZ but then it was built before the UK imported bad building habits from the USA and Australia. Our home is double brick with insulation and never as cold as when I lived in Wangaratta Vic. However, not all homes in OZ have a tin roof and I don’t believe they’d have glazing only 3mm thick as it would be dangerous. I believe that building regulations over there are quite tough. ( Incidentially, my favourite house in OZ would be a Colonial homestead with yes, a tin roof.) As regards the anti pommie thing , what about the anti Scouse thing, anti Sydneysider ( if you’re from Melbourne ) in fact anti anyone who wasn’t born in the same town. In Liverpool we had to put up with a lot of ‘ knockers ‘ but our sense of humour got us through ….and if that didn’t work , watch out. Fortunately we don’t have to defend Liverpool anymore as it speaks for itself as it’s now a fantastic place. Liverpool ranks ahead of both Sydney and Melbourne when it comes to city centre living .The cities of Sydney and Melbourne in an Australian survey came in the bottom ten places ( out of over 500 ) for the worst suburbs to live in . Liverpool came third in a tourist survey ( ahead of Bath ) as a place to visit. Bob , once again Brisbane / Queensland still seems to be THE PLACE to live

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BobinOz July 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Welcome to blog biffo!

To participate, simply pop over here and make a series of derogatory and inaccurate statements about life in Australia and our resident host, BobinOz, will immediately enter into a virtual banter brawl with you. Come on over, the gloves are off!

I think it’s a good idea John, do you think it will take off? Anyway, I didn’t mean to jump on Allan like that, BUT HE STARTED IT!

Normally I would agree that most arguments have some form of truth, but I’m afraid it’s my view that Allan just entered into a crazy rant. I mean come on, rubbish houses, dangerous windows, drugs, school bullies, murders, corruption from top to bottom; then he ends it all by advising people to forget Australia and “stay at home”.

He is just trying to protect Australia’s borders.

Then you turn up like an advert for the Liverpool Tourism Board (where did you get those survey results?) and now my blog is in danger of diverting those who want to emigrate to Australia to move to Liverpool instead!

Strewth! I need a tinnie!

And yes, Brisbane is the place to be, don’t know how you came to that conclusion, but you’re right. Cheers John.

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JOHN WILKES July 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Bob, what’s this ‘ BUT HE STARTED IT ‘ . No, you started it , you set up the site. When you set up a site like yours you’re bound to get some argumentative sods putting in their two penneth. ( If that’s how it’s spelt ). I’m not so bad , at least I hope not. In answer to your question , I was looking for Australias best suburb using Google where the top result was ‘ Australia’s Best and Worst Suburb ‘. At the end of the today.ninemsn.com article it showed the top twenty- five and bottom twenty-five suburbs. The bottom twenty-five included Melbourne City and Sydney City but for some reason the results have been deleted. Have the powers that be had something to do with this ? When I lived in N.E. Victoria I spoke of the area as though I worked for their tourist board and guess what , they wrote and offered me a place on an advisory board . Maybe I’m trying for the same in Liverpool !

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BobinOz July 13, 2010 at 9:55 pm

If you put it like that, then yes, I suppose I did start it. But then in my defence, I could argue that Adam and Eve started it. But if I did say that, perhaps I’d be taking us down a path we don’t really want to go down.

So, moving on. Yes I searched Google too and it appears they’ve removed the article. Quite right too, we can’t have anybody talking badly about two of our major cities! You seem to have a certain something I don’t John. Here I am singing the praises of the glorious life in Australia and not a word from the Australian Tourist Board. Where’s my job?

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John July 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

I was born in Qld and have lived in the UK from 1986 until 2004. I enjoy the life style but Australian has become more expensive.

Our house in Uk sold for gbp 625000 in 2004. Is now being offered at gbp 525000. The property is near Rye East Sussex on 8 arces making the price at today’s exchange rate aproximately $900,000. We relocated to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast and a similar house here is $1.5 mm – $2mm. A full brick cavity bunglow across the road just sold in Gardenia place Forest Glen on 10 arces sold was $3.75 million and another property on Mons School road on 2 arces $1.8mm. $450000 south of Brisbane buys Logan City. Friends have just brought a 2 bedroom ex council house in Seville Road Holland Park & paid $525000 @ 7.25%. If you adjust the repayments by the standard UK interest rate makes the price gbp 600,000

Also, secondhand cars are double the price. In regards to salaries, I am an accountant: In London my salaries was $165,000 – here $95,000 & my wife is OT in Hastings $80,000 in Nambour $65000.
In short : f you come with enough money to buy a property outright. Life’s great but if you need to have mortgage at 7.25% with average house price in Buderim of $525000 which is a only 3 bedroom house the repayments are over $3300 per month. Jp

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Jon July 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I’ve been living in Oz for 8 years, moving out here in 2002 from Ireland. I will be leaving Oz in a few months with my Australian Wife and kids. why? because it is just too hard trying to ‘survive’ in Australia.

The current interest rate in the UK is 0.5%, in Australia it is 4.5%

that leaves the average bank to charge around 3 – 3.6% in the UK for variable rate mortgages and Aussie banks to charge around 7 – 7.6% on average on similar mortgages in Oz.

In Australia, for around $510,000 (not including legals, stamp duty etc) you can get something like this
http://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-qld-holland+park-106687408

I know this area from my time living in QLD, nice area, nothing too elaborate.

For around the same money in Ireland you can buy this
http://www.danielhenry.co.uk/mill-farm-drumhaggart-muff/67271

Muff is a small town just over the border from Northern Ireland. Quite tranquil and not a lot around.

my point is that Housing in Australia, at this present time, is not quite the bargain that some may believe. Banks, in recent weeks have put stricter conditions on lending and are now looking for an average of $80 – $90K as a deposit before they will even talk about giving out mortgages. For the average Aussie, that is approximately a 4-8 year saving period. The consequence of this is that nobody is buying houses, or the rate of purchases have dropped considerably (40% drop in June alone for Sydney purchases). This means more demand for rental properties and as a consequence of that, rental agents are deliberately upping rental values due to the demand. This is putting more strain on the average Aussie because his dream of home ownership is now drifting further and further away.

That is the reality of how it is currently here, and I have been living it for close to 6 years now.

Since the 1st of July, In NSW, electricity has gone up (again), postage has gone up, water rates have gone up, council rates have gone up, gas has gone up, car registration has gone up and of course rental demands continue to increase, sending rental values up. (I know, we have just gotten a letter telling us that our rent is to increase by $200 a month from next month, sending our weekly rent to $460 a week for a 3 bedroom semi-detached house with a double garage in a large estate, some 120Kms from Sydney)

Houses here are not as well built as back in the UK/Ireland, but, they don’t need to be. You don’t need double bricked, insulated houses here. The climate rules such designs out.
In saying that, in a lot of newer houses here, you’ll find the use of plasterboard to be very generous indeed. Maybe that is the design to keep houses cooler in summer, or to lower building costs (which are not necessarily passed on to the buyer!)

Jobs… you will hear that jobs in Australia are 2 to a dozen. Untrue. Jobs in Australia are only in abundance in major cities, i.e. Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne etc.

I live about 2.5 hours from Sydney and for the past 2 years I have not been able to find work in my area (I.T.) I was one of the “in demand” professionals back in 2002, and had to end up starting my own business up in Queensland because I could not find work! And I applied for 119 jobs in just under 8 months all in and around Brisbane, not one job from any of those applications. I have a Sc.D in computer science and 18 years ‘experience’ in the industry to boot, but, no one was willing to employ me.

My wife is a nurse, it took her just under 2 years and a move to another state in order to find a job! This is despite the fact that the nursing and medical profession in general is at a critical all time shortage in Australia. There are no jobs on offer because there is no budget for staff. My wife now works in a medical centre on just over $18 an hour (the minimum wage is $15). She made $29,000 Gross last year for working an average of 32hr week. She is classed as casual and gets no holiday pay or sick pay.

We have already found Jobs in Ireland to go back to, we have a better chance of actually being able to afford to buy a house there also.

I spent the last year talking with ordinary people, the every Aussie. Just to try and work out for myself why I and my family were finding it so difficult here.

To my surprise, it was not just us. Everyone (or almost everyone) is in the same boat. The average joe is struggling to survive. I have a good mate who builds kitchens for a living, he tells me he is getting one order a fortnight, and if it continues he will have to close down, and then his mortgage is at risk. People are not spending. We heard on the news the other day that businesses are having sales of 70% off just to try and get people through the door to spend, yet they still can’t shift their goods, because nobody is spending anything. On the same news we heard that 35,000 new jobs were created, seemingly implying that the economy is booming… so why is no-one spending? Maybe they’re all saving the $80-90K now required as a deposit for mortgages?

I will not end by saying that you should not move to Australia, of course not. What I would suggest to anyone thinking of coming here, come for a holiday, your holiday visa allows you to stay up to 3 months here, spend that time sight seeing, but spend that time getting information from the person on the street, see how the system works, see the prices of what things are, and know yourself what you can expect to pay.

This will at least give you a better idea of how a new life in Oz can be.

for me, I can truly say for the first 2 years here, I loved it, it was the best country in the world! The past 6 years have just been a major struggle for me and my family. I have been here, tried it and now time to go back to Ireland and see what we can make of it there.

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BobinOz July 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm

John and Jon

Thank you both for your great contributions to this debate, it’s appreciated. If I may, I’ll answer you both at the same time as you both appear to be coming from a similar position.

Firstly, I want to say that this post is now almost a year old. A lot has happened in a year, house prices falling in the UK and the pound losing value against the AUD. There is at least a 20% swing there. That’s why I recently added a new house price revision post. Also, interest rates in both countries have changed significantly.

Secondly, and I have stated this elsewhere, statistics can be made to prove anything, you just need to pick out the right statistic.

Third, in any comparison you have to compare like-for-like. That is why this comparison post is so controversial. What is like-for-like?

There is a reason why people who want to holiday in England by the beach choose Cornwall and not East Sussex. If I’m not mistaken, East Sussex is more marsh and rock than beach. Forgive me if I’m wrong on that, I only went once.

On the other hand, the Sunshine Coast offers glorious beaches, stunning hinterland and amazing views from those rolling hills. So are we comparing like-for-like here? Similarly, how can you compare a five bedroomed detached house in Muff, Ireland, which by your own admission is in the middle of nowhere, to a place in Holland Park which is just a short commute from the centre of Australia’s third biggest city?

As they say, location, location, location!

I agree with you when you say that the Aussie dream of home ownership is drifting, that has been the case in the UK for many years for first-time buyers. The fact that house prices are falling there now may well start to ease the problem. But as Australia has not suffered anywhere near as badly from the global financial crisis, we may soon reach the point where it’s as difficult year for first-time buyers as it is in England. Maybe we are already there, I’m not sure, It’s probably quite close.

Jobs have always been easier to come by in major cities than out in the sticks. I mentioned Cornwall earlier, they do fine in the summer during holiday season. But there is no work at all during winter, people often have to travel hundreds of miles if they want a job. Bristol, Bath and sometimes even London. That’s the same in most countries I would have thought.

But having said that, I have to say I am bewildered by what you have both said about your own work. IT specialist, accountant, an occupational therapist and a nurse, the salaries you have secured here just do not make sense. My post comparing English and Australian salaries demonstrates without doubt the earnings here are more than 30% higher than back in the UK. i have no explanation for what you say.

And I can’t ignore your comments about “talking to people on the street” so perhaps things are getting harder here, perhaps that global financial crisis is finally biting us. But I still talk to people back in the UK and I am told there are precious few job vacancies for anyone these days. Everything seems to have ground to a complete halt. It’s a worldwide problem and I still feel we have not been hit as hard as elsewhere.

All these things are moving targets. Today, I feel there’s not much in it between house prices in the UK and Australia but I do still feel you get a bigger property in better surroundings here for the same money. Perhaps not built as well, but it doesn’t need to be. In other words, John is right. Australia has become more expensive.

But if the pound recovers, if house prices in the UK start to go up again and interest rates change, everything changes.

So I’m not sure a policy of moving to a country just because the current conditions are better is a good long-term plan. We came here because we really wanted to live in Australia and now that we are here, we love it. If house prices in England fell 60% and interest rates were nought percent, I still wouldn’t go back.

I’d stay here and ride it out, because I love living in Australia. But that’s just me, Ireland is a great place to live too and so are parts of England. Each to his own. So if you do choose to go back Jon, I hope it works out really well for you and your family. If you find the time to pop back here and let us know how it goes, we’d really appreciate it.

Again, thanks to you both for a great contribution.

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JOHN WILKES July 19, 2010 at 1:48 am

Bob, I’m at a bit of a loss as to why the other ‘ Johns ‘ haven’t questioned your comments. I know every place that you’ve mentioned above and don’t understand why you’ve got it so wrong. Rye in East Sussex is more beautiful than any town in Australia ( my opinion of course ) but how on earth did you miss Camber Sands ? Then Muff , which Jon did not say ‘ Is in the middle of nowhere’ , is in fact as close to the centre of Irelands’ 4th. largest city as Holland Park is to Brisbane City albeit a lot smaller but with the bonus of country living.( my gran. was from the area ). Don’t also understand the point about Cornwall. The Business Cornwall site quote the Office of National Statistics for Feb. 2010 ( the middle of winter ) which had Cornwall’s unemployment rate at 3.3% . What is the unemployment rate in Brisbane, or to compare like for like, Townsville ? Most of Cornwall’s seasonal jobs are filled by students and therefore has a lower impact than assumed. (The video Newquay’s Coastline and Beaches from the Air is well worth viewing). Reading all the contributions a group of friends came to the view that the best thing to do at present time was NOTHING. Stay put and see what happens over the next twelve months or so. Or, as I think you said Bob , don’t sell your home yet if you have one . The last three families that I know of have kept their homes here and are renting in OZ.

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Jon July 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Hi again Bob,

just following up on our recent conversation. It seems that John Wilkes has already pointed out a few things before me! :)

Like John has mentioned, Muff is about 10 minutes from Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second largest City, and the 4th Largest in Ireland. I said it was in the “middle of nowhere” as in relation to the countryside around it, not to its actual geographical location, sorry about the confusion. But, I think, all in all, whilst no direct comparison can be made to houses in the UK/Ireland and to Aussie houses, you cannot argue that *at present* the house in Muff is a better deal by far than the one in the suburb of Brisbane.

I will put a link here which discusses some of the problems that I see in today’s Australia (and obviously others see). It is worth a read and I think could add some discussion to the other side of this debate.

http://thomassu.com/index.php/2010/03/great-australian-exodus-aussies-leaving-australia-in-record-numbers/ (dated from march this year)

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BobinOz July 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Wow! I’m under attack from an army of “Johns” – help!

Fistly, I thought Camber Sands was a holiday camp. (Not really helping myself here, am I). But having checked it out on Google images, it looks like a pretty cool beach. Very similar to the many beaches we have here, over 5,153 miles of it and that’s just the Queensland coastline.

So yes, I missed that one because no, I’ve never been. But I have been to Rye and I do agree it is quite a pretty little town. But to say it is more beautiful than any town in the whole of Australia is one heck of a statement, even though as you say yourself, it’s just your opinion.

There are a lot of towns in England that are loaded with character and history. Without doubt, England, and in fact the whole of Europe, have much more history than Australia. But the beauty of towns here is a different kind of beauty. Which beauty you prefer is a matter of personal taste, but for me, I’m enjoying the different kind of beauty that is now around me. I had nearly 50 years of England’s beauty, time for a change.

My apologies about Muff. Jon, as you have already acknowledged, you did say “not a lot around”, that’s what made me jump to that conclusion. But still, Derry does only have about 10% of the population of Brisbane. That’s a pretty big difference. So I still don’t see them as like-for-like at all, but can’t argue that Muff is the better deal. But…….

I did a search for houses with a minimum of five bedrooms on acreage here in Australia and I got a choice of 20 properties and they looked stunning. Check them out here.

Some are only on around half an acre or so but others or on 10 acres and there is one there on 19 acres of land. Your Muff place only had gardens to the front, side and rear laid to lawn. My favourite is the one at Cedar Vale. That’s only about 40 minutes drive from me and I know the area, it’s stunning. Yet you could be in the city of Brisbane in about an hour. Here’s the description in case it gets taken down: This 10 acre lifestyle property is located in an elevated and quiet location. The large 2 storey home has internal stairs with living areas with bathrooms upstairs and downstairs. A total of 5 bedrooms, storage room and 6m x 9m colorbond shed with attached 2 bay carport. Forget the rat race living here. See it… Edit: sorry, the house has now been sold and the details removed.

As for unemployment in Cornwall, I didn’t research it. I was going from anecdotal evidence from people that I know who do live in Cornwall. They were quite clear, work is hard to come by in the winter. But then if the official figures say unemployment is just 3.3%, who am I to argue with those statistics? They can’t possibly be wrong, can they? I’m sure the government wouldn’t pull any fast ones with statistics as important as unemployment.

As for Thomas Su, well, if statistics can be made to prove anything (and they can) he’s our man! What is he on about? I don’t have the time to pick holes in everything he says, but I’ll just mention this. He says “rental can easily go over $3,000 even $4,000 a month for a 3-bedroom house’ and “my friend was paying $2,500 a month for 1 bedroom apartment with no carspace!”

I did a search for three-bedroom properties to rent at between $3500 and $4000 a month (I selected between $850 & $950 per week) throughout the whole country. You can see the results here. These aren’t your average homes, almost all have some kind of spectacular view, whether it will be of the sea or the city or parklands. They are all in extremely affluent areas. For us normal people, you can rent a four bedroomed detached property (the kind that normal people live in) around my way starting at $365 a week. The dearest I saw was $495.

And I also looked for one bedroom apartments for around $2500 a month. I found a few here. One was $570 per week and overlooked Bondi Beach. Yes, just your average apartment.

The guy is a scare mongerer. He ends with “So, even if I am elected as the Prime Minister, I still won’t have a solution for it…” it’s his only statement I agree with!

Again, I thank everyone for their contribution to this debate and I’m sure (and hope) there’s plenty more left in this conversation yet. But for as valid as a lot of points have been, I still maintain that even today, at today’s prices and today’s exchange rates, you get more for your money buying a home in Australia than you do in the UK.

Whatever has been said about Muff, it still isn’t equivalent to Holland Park. Anyone who is still unsure which countries houses are the cheapest, just have a good look around Australia’s leading real estate portal and make your own conclusions.

Right! Now I’m going down into my bunker…..

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Jon July 20, 2010 at 12:15 am

thanks for your follow up Bob.

The house you listed, the one in cedar vale, its a nice house, and 10 acres of land. WOW!

By the way, about those 10 acres… didn’t notice a picture of the land advertised…. you’d think they’d give you a picture of the surrounding view wouldn’t you…?

My guess…(and it’s only a guess) the 10 acres is very like what you see behind the house itself, i.e. nothing but trees and hills full of more trees, that is to say, you won’t be able to use the land for much unless you want to go camping in the bush ;)

in fact, I used to deliver goods out that way, around Jimbooma and the surrounding area. Tell it as it is Bob, that area is “out in the sticks”. ;)

Houses generally get cheaper the further from a major city you go. And Cedar Vale and the surrounding area are not seen as what you would call high employment areas are they? In fact, from driving around that area in 2004, I noticed quite a lot of agricultural families lived around that area.

You yourself (according to your about me page) work from home, so you don’t have to travel far to work, so I’d imagine that if you live in this area, you’d be quite happy indeed.

a lot of the properties you listed are what we would define as being “out in the country” or as the aussie would say “out in the sticks”

dalby for instance, its over 3 hours from Brisbane. good value, yes (still not as good as house prices back home though ;) ) but its literally ‘out in the middle of nowhere’ hardly a good place to come to if you need to find work is it?

Aussies, traditionally are attracted to the sea, which is why most of them are living on the coast.

here’s a house in burnfoot, county donegal.

burnfoot is a 15 minute drive to Derry, i.e. a major city.

http://www.danielhenry.co.uk/radharc-alainn-burnfoot-donegal/77813

160,000 pounds, or approx $281,000 at the current exchange rate.
on half an acre as well. (And a granny flat for sticking the mother in law in when she come round :) )

please show me an equivalent size house on a similar size block, 15 minutes from a major city for $281,000. I’d be interested to see it.

Here’s a house 15 minutes from Wollongong, a major city south of Sydney, it is $270,000 in today’s rates.

http://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-nsw-warilla-106547184

would you class it is similar to that one at burnfoot there?

I’ve been through this area on my way to Wollongong. Warilla is an older, run down place. But this is the kind of property that $270,000 buys you 15 minutes from a major city here. And its not on anywhere near half an acre.

combine that with the current 7-7.6% variable rate mortgage…

how can you say that houses here are better value?

You cannot say that because Derry has only 10% of Brisbane’s population, that it cannot be compared.

The UK (including Northern Ireland) fits into Queensland alone around 6-7 times! Derry is a major city in terms of its population. Prices therefore reflect the locality to the major city. As you go further away from major cities, the prices should become cheaper? As referenced by your homes on acreage that you mentioned earlier.

“Forget the rat race living here.” is the ending sentence to the house you listed. That is real estate speak for “this is nowhere near civilisation” ;) we know it is 1hr from Brisbane, but so is the gold coast and sunshine coast, and we know how popular the gold coast and sunshine coast is don’t we? ;)

my point is, like-for-like, that house prices in Australia are higher, you get less for your buck. That wasn’t always the case, but since 2003 houses have gone up in price, steadily.

in addition to house prices, costs of services are going up. Have you got a town water supply to these houses in cedar vale? a lot of houses out that far have to run off their own tank water. Electricity supply isn’t the most ‘stable’ (I have in-laws up that way who lose power about once a fortnight)
what about services such as broadband (adsl/cable)?

I spoke with a real estate agent on friday when he came in here to value my mother-in-laws unit. She lives right on a main highway, in a modern (5 years old) 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit, in a complex. The suburb is on the lower end of the scale, not a trashy area, but, you’d consider other areas if you could afford it.

she was advised she would get $300K for her unit if she sold right now. 300K for a 3 bedroom unit right on a major highway! no way! but that’s what it was valued at, by the same guy who sold it to her 5 years ago for $230,000.

needless to say, she’s happy. However, he did tell her that he has gone from selling 4-5 houses a day, down to 1-2, because people simply are not buying houses. Even though he described her house as one that was towards the bottom of the market ($300,000 being described as bottom of the market, when you consider that $300,000 would buy you that house above at burnfoot and leave change in your pocket!) he said that she’d struggle to get a buyer, UNLESS it was an investor, willing to use the unit to rent out. The rental return, according to the real estate was currently $320 per week.

I will stand by my advice I gave earlier in this thread, If one is seriously considering moving to Australia on a permanent basis, then come here for an extended holiday, do your research online (sites such as this would be a great start!) and get a full picture of what life here is really like.

Australia is not immune to world economic situations. In my view, it is inevitable that we will have some form of recession here.

If the increasing costs that are being experienced on the street at this present time are indeed a sign of what’s coming, then I say, batten down the hatches and prepare for a storm, because the money box has been emptied and there is nothing to prevent us from falling into that recession pit. Ironically, if that happens house prices will fall also… maybe I’ll return when the recession hits ;)

some other interesting links you might want to check out:-

from 2005 http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/house-prices-world-highest/2005/11/30/1133311106610.html

from February 2010 http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/02/01/australias-housing-bubble-its-already-here/

From July 2010 http://scottbanks.com.au/2010/07/12/sydney-auction-clearance-rate-slumps-as-supply-surges-jonathan-chancellor-property-editor-smh-com-au/

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BobinOz July 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Jon

Would you like me to change the title of this article to “The cost of living in Australia: house price costs compared with those for sale just outside of Derry, Ireland?”

You see, I’m only guessing here, but I suspect that the cost of housing just outside of Derry isn’t really representative of the cost of housing across the whole of the UK. Just outside of Derry is not a yardstick by which all other major cities need to compare.

But then, having (in your own mind) established just outside of Derry as significant when looking into property prices worldwide, you cheekily refers to the price of one of the properties here in Australia as “good value, yes (still not as good as house prices back home though)”

Back home! You do of course mean back home in Derry, don’t you? Because you certainly don’t mean back home in the UK, which is the conversation the rest of us are trying to have.

But from past experience on the way this conversation has gone so far, I suspect you won’t take any notice of my opinions of just outside Derry. So perhaps you will listen to the BBC instead. According to the figures as at March 2010, they divide property prices in Northern Ireland into 12 areas. One of them is Londonderry/Strabane and they say the average price of property there is £137,298 (down 34.3% in the last year) and there are only three areas in the whole of Northern Ireland that are lower in price.

On the same page, you can check other regions in the UK, I’ve done them for you.

East Anglia has an average price of £203,115, East Midlands Average £160,069, North £143,381, Greater London has an average price of £406,608, North West £153,126, Northern Ireland £169,497, Scotland £147,854, South East £271,966, South West £227,866, Wales £151,642, West Midlands £174,932, Yorks & Humber £157,959.

You can check all those figures over at the BBC’s UK house prices page.

So I think it’s probably safe to accept as a fact that Derry and more importantly, just outside Derry, property prices are significantly lower than around the rest of the country.

So please, no more house price comparisons with anywhere near Derry even though it is Ireland’s fourth biggest city.

Incidentally, I was a little bit put out by your quote “in fact, I used to deliver goods out that way, around Jimbooma and the surrounding area. Tell it as it is Bob, that area is “out in the sticks” – when talking about the 10 acre house I mentioned. Jon, I always tell it how it is. I said it was an hour from Brisbane, and it is. The description says “in a quiet location”. Why are you trying to imply that I am in some way attempting to mislead people? It’s just not the case.

Also, you say “the 10 acres is very like what you see behind the house itself, i.e. nothing but trees and hills full of more trees, that is to say, you won’t be able to use the land for much” – yes, that’s exactly what acreage is. Here, people tend to put horses on it, or build a tennis court, or perhaps ride their quad bikes around on it. What did you want to do with it?

Having said all that, we still have plenty of properties here in Australia priced at around $280,000, being as you’ve asked. Quite a few around Adelaide, our fifth largest city with a population of 1.2 million.

See them here.

I do agree with you on one point though Jon, and that’s the one where you suggest anyone considering moving here should come here for an extended holiday first. Yes, that’s a must! You’ve got to take a look first, it’s too big a move to do blind.

Finally, thanks for the additional scaremonger links at the foot of your comment, I’ll read those when I’ve finished laughing at Thomas Su. Which leads me on to…..

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JOHN WILKES July 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

Bob , who is this Thomas Su ? Even if I had a completely different view to that of yours ( which I don’t ) I feel that I’m rational to the point of being fair. This guy is just talking a load of bull. Even if he wanted to back up his views, you’d think he’d use more believeable figures. I always base what I say on figures that I believe to be accurate and from reliable sources. Even ‘average’ when relating to anything is misleading because, as with incomes, the spread is greater in the UK. This is why top salaries in London for example appear high . Lots of other workers in the UK earn relatively poor wages which brings the so called ‘average’ down as against OZ where more employees are actually on the ‘ average ‘ This might go someway to explain what the other John said earlier about his London salary. Anyway , it was my birthday yesterday and I forgot to tell everyone which will teach me not to spend so much time on your site !

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BobinOz July 20, 2010 at 9:00 pm

John

Thomas Su is a well known international author. He is also an online marketing specialist. As well as that, he is a well-known Internet marketing expert. He has also established a number of websites. (These are his words not mine, of course.)

I’m surprised you haven’t heard of him.

What he has forgotten to tell us on his website, and it’s probably just modestly, but he is also a fine comedian. Well, he made me laugh!

Anyway, happy birthday John, I hope you had a great day. Even if you did spend too much of it here. Just a small point this, but aren’t the others supposed to remember without you reminding them?

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Jon July 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm

oh c’mon now Bob

you set up this site as you put it “to give the real story on life in Oz”

yet you are quite content to ignore certain aspects of living in Oz, as put to you by not just me, but others who have moved from the UK/Ireland (and other parts of Europe) to Oz.

Cedar vale is indeed one hour from Brisbane. Can you explain to the good readers here why Cedar vale and jimboomba are so cheap as opposed to 1 hr north and south of Brisbane Bob?

I’m guessing you already know the answer but please tell the readers why.

As for your comment about acreage, since when did people build tennis courts on acreage that goes uphill?

do you think you could go “quad-biking” on that land behind that house?

are you suggesting that the acreage is not part of the selling price? that $495K is just for the house?

People don’t buy acreage that is essentially the side of a mountain full of trees.

people buy acreage that is generally horizontal and hasn’t got trees.

show me a house with horizontal, fairly cleared land which makes up 10 acres and I guarantee you, they’ll want more.

acreage is only good if its usable. whether that be for farming or quad-biking or whatever. what about the remoteness? what about lack of services such as access to town water? lack of local facilities such as shops, transport etc.

I’ve been all over QLD, its a big state, not many choose to live west, and for good reason.

Whats wrong with my comparisons with Derry?

Derry is a city is it not? you started by trying to compare brisbane with some English Cities, so Whats the issue with Derry?

Are you running out of rebuttals because I’ve shown you more than once that houses on the outskirts of a city are cheaper over there than they are here?

what comment do you make about the house in Wollongong bob?

If your argument is that Derry is not brisbane, then Derry is not sydney either, Derry is more like Wollongong, same size, 4th Largest city in NSW, but look at the cost of houses the same distance from it. Look at the calibre of houses the same distance from it.

you quoted some figures from Strabane/Derry at 137K approx. That is still much less than the average house in any city in Australia isn’t it Bob?

Bob, my take on your comments about Australia is this, you’ve come here from the South of France (a beautiful part of the world!) and you’ve bought a house, outright from the sale of your own property in England.

with change in your pocket no less.

I argue (And others here have to) that you do that now and you will not get the same change in your pocket. You’ll argue that its because house prices in the Uk have fallen, true. You will also argue its the exchange rate, also true.

what you do not seem to want to accept, is that house prices in Australia are “on the average” more expensive than “Like for Like” houses back home – wherever you care to call home. Mine is Derry/Donegal, that’s where I’m going and that’s my viewpoint, if it doesn’t fit your viewpoint because houses there are cheaper and better value than here then I wonder how you can ” tell it as it is”, when you’re so adamant that Oz is better value when I’ve clearly shown examples, that, I feel show otherwise.

I would like to ask a question from you: if you came out to Oz, without the money in your pocket from your house in England, (lets say you were renting back in the UK), would you take out a mortgage and buy the same house you are in now? or would your thinking on house prices be the same now, given that you are apparently a home owner with no mortgage to worry about? (I’m only guessing that that is your position, if it is, then you are not an average home owner).

I am glad we at least agree on the advice to prospective new immigrants, that is to come here for an extended holiday first. I would also perhaps agree with another comment made above and that is, where possible (and feasible) hold off for 6 months or so and see where the Australian Economy is going. There are many things going on in Australia at the moment, I spoke with an old aussie bloke today and he told me that he has never seen it so bad. No matter how good life is for you, you need to listen to the ‘average’ person on the street, and the word on the street is that this country is going down the pan.

I would be keen to hear your viewpoint on the content of those articles in the links I posted in my previous post above, and where you feel that information points to in terms of affordability in housing.

I didn’t just wake up one morning after 8 years and decide that enough was enough, and start packing up. For the past 2 years I have been talking to people, looking at prices of services and properties increase, reading economist views and of course, experiencing it for myself over 8 years.

I think I make some valid points. It would seem that on the face of it, you disagree with most of them.

For the sake of argument, lets agree to disagree and see what the next 12-18 months brings. People can then see for themselves what is better. :)

regards.
Jon.

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BobinOz July 21, 2010 at 1:12 am

Forgive me for ignoring the first 263 words of your latest comment Jon, it’s just that it is almost entirely about the 10 acres of land that go with Cedar Vale which you’ve never seen. Not even a photo. By your own admission, you are guessing at what it’s like. And you have guessed it is hilly and full of trees.

Now you’re asking me how on earth we’re going to put the tennis court on it? And then you ask how we can ride our quad bikes up such hills? It seems you are presenting an argument based entirely on your imagination. The land could be as flat as a pancake!

Then you ask me to explain “….why Cedar vale and jimboomba are so cheap as opposed to 1 hr north and south of Brisbane Bob?” adding later “QLD, its a big state, not many choose to live west, and for good reason.” Thing is, Jimboomba and Cedar Vale ARE 1 hour south of Brisbane!

Have you been on the old Liffey water?

Click below and then zoom out from the map by hitting the minus symbol and you will see that you cannot get any more directly south than that. Its countryside with easy access to the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast and the modern city of Brisbane. Nothing wrong with the area at all.

Cedar Vale

I like to deal with the facts whereas you seem happier with your own imagination and hearsay, as in “I spoke with an old aussie bloke today and he told me that he has never seen it so bad.”

Or guesses, as in guessing what my mortgage situation is, that I came from France, but sold a house in England. But none of that has any bearing at all on a direct comparison on the cost of housing in Australia with the cost of housing in the UK.

Which brings me to your question:

“Whats wrong with my comparisons with Derry?”

After proving that Derry is one of the cheapest places in the whole of the UK to buy houses, with figures supplied by a most trustworthy source, you still ask?

And you say “Derry is more like Wollongong”? That is laughable! Wollongong is about 60 km from Sydney. Wollongong is like living anywhere around London’s commuter belt. Wollongong is not like Derry.

Jon, I accept your final proposal and I agree that we should agree to disagree. Neither of us is going to win this one and neither should we. It’s healthy that people have different opinions and are allowed to voice them without censorship. People can, and will, make their own minds up. The next 12 to 18 months may well be interesting.

You’re gambling on a return back to Ireland and I’m staying put. Let’s see what happens.

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Steve Harille July 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

G’day bob

I’ve been watching the comments on your site for some time now and I think now is an appropriate time to add my 2 cents worth.

First of all, an introduction.
I’m Steve or Stevo in Aussie lingo. I’m 47, born and bred here in Australia. Married with 3 kids, all grown up, but kids still living at home.

I’m a salesman for a large pharmaceutical company (won’t say which one for privacy reasons) and been doing this job for going on 20 years now.

The wage I’m paid is $58,000 gross per year, but I do get to travel around Australia, having been in just about every corner of this country you can think of.

I’m a patriotic bloke, I have my Aussie flag hanging off the flagpole in the front garden. I’d BBQ anything, and I love my country. But, I’m not blind.

As a mortgage holder, and a true blue Aussie, I feel that I can give you a ‘man on the street’ view as Jonno put it as to how things here are really like.

Mate, I’ll be honest, I don’t feel you’re qualified enough to make opinions on the state of living in Australia when you’ve only been here for just over 2 1/2 years.

You wouldn’t have even had a good sunburning yet!

You say you’ve lived in the one property thus far.

How can you make such statements as you do then about house prices? Try selling your house and buying another, then another and then another.

Then you’ll get an idea ‘first hand’ of what houses cost.

I’ve gone through most of the last comments as those comments seem to be hitting towards more of the real issues here, and have picked out a few statements I’d like to comment on, if you’d care to allow me;

Bob says:” 1) Interest rates do vary, of course, and you only need to go back to August 2008 to see 5% interest in the UK. If you were to average out UK interest rates over the last 20 years, I’m sure you’ll find it is much nearer to 5.9% than 1.9%.”

Care to know what the average interest rate has been in Oz for the last 20 years bob?

From 1990 (when the interest rate was 16.5%) – July 2010 (7.5%) the average interest rate in Australia has been 8.99%

Seems that by your assumption of 5.9% for the UK over the same period, it was a lot cheaper than Australia.

Bob Says: “But as Australia has not suffered anywhere near as badly from the global financial crisis, we may soon reach the point where it’s as difficult year for first-time buyers as it is in England. Maybe we are already there, I’m not sure, it’s probably quite close.”

Mate, we are already there! My daughter is 28 years old, is an RN and has been for almost 4 years. She earns $48,000 a year (what do registered nurses earn in the UK?) and can’t get a mortgage. No bank will touch her.

She’s been told she must have been saving for the past 3 years minimum and must have at least $80k to show she is financially stable and even then, she’s a single applicant and they’d have issues with that.

It is generally accepted that when a bank stops lending, then people stop spending.

What are we hearing on Tv at the moment bob, and Jonno touched on above, shops are selling at 60-70% off and nobody is buying.

People are spending their money elsewhere, most likely on their mortgage repayments (interest rates have gone up how many times since October 2009?

With a warning yesterday from the RBA that they may increase rates again next month. source: http://www.smh.com.au/business/interest-rate-clouds-loom-large-over-gillards-election-parade-20100720-10jha.html)

Bob Says: “My post comparing English and Australian salaries demonstrates without doubt the earnings here are more than 30% higher than back in the UK. I have no explanation for what you say.”

Quite a contradictory statement you made there.
You have no doubt that earnings in Australia are more than 30% higher, but you have no explanation for why an accountant and an I.T. guy are earning less in Australia?

You may say that they are but one accountant and one I.T. guy, ok, but then you’re happy to base more than 30% higher salaries in Australia on a fixed amount of professions too aren’t you?

Bob says: “But if the pound recovers, if house prices in the UK start to go up again and interest rates change, everything changes.”

“IF” being the operative word. Compare now with now, not now in Australia with later in the UK., Bob.

Bob Says: “We came here because we really wanted to live in Australia and now that we are here, we love it. If house prices in England fell 60% and interest rates were nought percent, I still wouldn’t go back.”

Quite a statement to make. You are either totally insane, or the UK is much worse than we are led to believe, which begs the question as to why so many of us Aussies go there for working holidays each year.

My son has just returned last year after spending 12mths in London, He absolutely loved it, Pity he can’t have your passport, saying as you’ll never go back there.

Jonno says: “You yourself (according to your about me page) work from home, so you don’t have to travel far to work, so I’d imagine that if you live in this area, you’d be quite happy indeed.”

An interesting point. Not many Australians work from home Bob, most of us have to travel to and from our place of employment.

I’d be happier too if I could go from my bedroom to my home office, without having to get caught in traffic in Sydney or meet airline flights and connections.

I wonder if you do indeed work from home, that this hasn’t biased your views on “life in Oz”?

Bob says: “Having said all that, we still have plenty of properties here in Australia priced at around $280,000, being as you’ve asked.”

From what I read, jonno asked you to provide a ‘like for like” property for the same value as close to a major city, on the same size block for the same $.

You haven’t done that. I’d be very surprised if you could as well.

Bob says: “Finally, thanks for the additional scaremonger links at the foot of your comment”

A tad arrogant there bob?

From what I see, those links point to articles that are all valid arguments and discuss the current and past housing prices and trends in this country. All based on fact. Where’s the scaremongering?

I would draw your attention to the comments on some of those articles by everyday Aussies too bob…

I Notice the links go back to 2005, it would have been better if Jonno had included links back to 2000 when the house prices really first started to go up, but the articles do show this hasn’t just been something that started recently. It’s been happening for years.

jonno asks: ” I would be keen to hear your viewpoint on the content of those articles in the links I posted in my previous post above, and where you feel that information points to in terms of affordability in housing.”

So would I Bob.

Jonno asks: “Cedar vale is indeed one hour from Brisbane. Can you explain to the good readers here why Cedar vale and jimboomba are so cheap as opposed to 1 hr north and south of Brisbane Bob?”

I see you are saying that cedar vale is south of Brisbane. No, it is south west, i.e. Inland.
Follow the Motorway bob, it goes south.
Cedar vale and the local area, are known as countryside, which you yourself mentioned.

Countryside and ‘todays’ Australians do not mix. Australians prefer coastal living. You’d need to have money to live off in order to be able to move to the country, that’s why most people can’t afford to move to the country, and that’s why houses in the country are cheaper, because, ironically, no one can afford to live there.

jonno asks: “are you suggesting that the acreage is not part of the selling price? that $495K is just for the house? People don’t buy acreage that is essentially the side of a mountain full of trees. show me a house with horizontal, fairly cleared land which makes up 10 acres and I guarantee you, they’ll want more.”

Jonno, of course the land is part of the selling price.
In fact, land is sometimes more expensive than the house on it, which is why people are willing to pay a million dollars for a shack on 600m2 by the beach, they’ll just level the shack and build on it.

In saying that, if houses out west (or south west) are with land that is essentially nothing but a bragging right to say you have land, when in actual fact you have bought a ‘side of a mountain’, it’s a bit silly because you’ve just paid extra for the privilege of owning land you can’t ever use.

Bob says: “Forgive me for ignoring the first 263 words of your latest comment Jon, it’s just that it is almost entirely about the 10 acres of land that go with Cedar Vale which you’ve never seen.
It seems you are presenting an argument based entirely on your imagination. The land could be as flat as a pancake!”

And yet Bob, you yourself say it “could” be as flat as pancake. I take it you have never seen the house either bob? So, therefore you’re using your imagination too then.

bob says: “Its countryside with easy access to the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast and the modern city of Brisbane. Nothing wrong with the area at all.”

No, I’m sure there isn’t, but everywhere is easy access in Australia bob, all you need is a car and a tank full of petrol (or a couple of tanks depending on where you’re going).

It will take a lot longer coming from Cedar vale to the beach than it will from say Coomera on the gold coast to the beach… but hey, all part of country living eh bob?

jonno says:” Mine is Derry/Donegal, that’s where I’m going and that’s my viewpoint, if it doesn’t fit your viewpoint because houses there are cheaper and better value than here then I wonder how you can” tell it as it is”

A fair point I would have thought?
You are trying to compare houses in the UK to houses here in Oz, but people come from different parts of the UK as they will to Oz.
Jonno seems to be caught on Derry/Donegal and that is his personal comparison to where he wants to go, compared to what similar houses here are.
I don’t see a problem with his comparison, and on the face of it I’d be inclined to agree, from the properties he has posted, that at this time, houses there are definitely better value than here.

Jonno asks: “I would like to ask a question from you: if you came out to Oz, without the money in your pocket from your house in England, (let’s say you were renting back in the UK), would you take out a mortgage and buy the same house you are in now?”

Interesting question. What say you bob?
I started with nothing in my pocket, and had to work my way up to buying my first home here, and it was not easy I can tell you. Especially when you’re paying interest of 16%+

I’d imagine it would be easier coming into Australia with a few hundred thousand and buying outright. (Just ask the Chinese, they’re doing it well)

Would you take on a mortgage in Australia now Bob?
Given the interest rates, uncertainty about housing prices, and the fact that you’d be travelling to work and back each day, bearing in mind you’d have to find work first of course?

jonno says: “No matter how good life is for you, you need to listen to the ‘average’ person on the street, and the word on the street is that this country is going down the pan.”

And I am one such person. I live this life every day, it’s not easy.

I’m paying approx. 40% of my salary into my mortgage, more if the rates go up again next month. I don’t live in a castle, I live in a 20 year old 3 bedroom, single garaged house on the outskirts of Sydney (about 1 ½ hours north of Sydney).

I have no choice about where I live. I need to be close to Sydney airport, but not so close to Sydney that it becomes completely unaffordable.

I’m treading water now as it is, and with the costs of almost every service going up, it is becoming harder and harder. My wage doesn’t go up by CPI every year, that is the real truth of life on the land bob. From a 47 year old Aussie who lives it.

I have a mate next door, he’s receiving centrelink benefits, and he just got an increase of $4 per week to pay for the increase in gas, electricity and water that he now has to pay.

And no, bob, $4 a week increase will not pay the difference.

No offence, but to come here and spend just over 2 ½ years here and tell me it’s nice and rosy, means you’ve either got too much money in your pocket, you really hate the UK, or you’re insane.

bob says: “I like to deal with the facts whereas you seem happier with your own imagination and hearsay, as in “I spoke with an old Aussie bloke today and he told me that he has never seen it so bad.”

You like to deal with the facts do you?
From a bloke who has been here just over 2 ½ years?

Don’t make me laugh. When you’ve lived here a few more years, maybe then you’ll know the facts when you’ve lived Aussie life a bit longer.

That “old Aussie bloke” is not an imagination.
I’m that bloke (not the one jonno is referring to though ;) ).
I am your average Aussie, not someone who owns his house outright and has to work hard to keep the roof over his head because there is no sign of the interest rates dropping or house prices easing, which in any case would only add to my woes as I’d be paying for a house that is worth less.

Bob says: “Or guesses, as in guessing what my mortgage situation is, that I came from France, but sold a house in England. But none of that has any bearing at all on a direct comparison on the cost of housing in Australia with the cost of housing in the UK.”

Really? You have already got this information on other parts of your site, so no need to guess as to your financial situation.

You mention you sold your house in England, came here with a nice bundle of cash and bought your house and saved $ in the process, great.

Good for you.

What relevance does that have to the cost of housing in the UK v Australia, I would’ve thought it was obvious.

You’re quite happy to tell people how much you saved by buying a house here from the sale of your house in England.

You’re happy to tell people that your house in Australia is better value than the house you had in England.

You’re happy to tell people that for the same money in England people would struggle to find as good a deal as you did.

All seem like comparisons to the cost of housing in Australia v Cost of housing in the UK to me, bob…

I suppose since by your own admission, it is your first home in Australia that you have bought, there isn’t much other personal examples you can give is there?

Bob says: “And you say “Derry is more like Wollongong”? That is laughable! Wollongong is about 60 km from Sydney. Wollongong is like living anywhere around London’s commuter belt. Wollongong is not like Derry.”

Wollongong is not 60km from Sydney
CBD to CBD it is between 85km to 120km approx. – depending on what road you drive.

The shortest route is not always the quickest, and definitely with regards to travelling into Sydney!

I have never been to Derry or Northern Ireland. I have been to England, Scotland and Wales a few years back.

However, searching online about Derry, I see it is about 70Miles from Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital, that is around 112km, so not too far off in distance from Wollongong to Sydney.

Therefore, I would think that Derry would be a lot like Wollongong.

Why do you not think it would be comparable bob?
Derry has the countryside around it, from what Jonno has listed. Wollongong has also countryside to the south (Illawarra and shoalhaven).

The further south you go, away from the major cities, the cheaper houses tend to get, because there is less employment opportunities and therefore less opportunity to own housing.

Wollongong has been largely a city that has been missed on investment for years, as a result it has missed out on a lot of development and employment opportunities.
A lot of people who live in Wollongong, work in Sydney and commute, just like I’d imagine they’d do with London and its bordering cities.

Derry, from what I have read about it, has been much the same. Although I see that recently it was announced as the UK’s City of Culture for 2013.
http://www.etravelblackboard.com/showarticle.asp?id=106782&nav=13

Seems then it has a brighter future ahead of it than Wollongong, in a sense that at least it’s government acknowledged it.
Wollongong has largely been ignored by the state and federal govt for years, until election time of course.

Just one thing jonno, Wollongong is NSW 3rd largest city, not 4th, but in terms of affordability, and given the example you outlined of that house in Warilla, I’m not stupid, (or blinded by the sun)

I’d take the house in burnfoot no worries.

Bob says: ” People can, and will, make their own minds up. The next 12 to 18 months may well be interesting.”

Yes it will be interesting indeed.
Speaking as a hard working everyday Aussie bloke with a mortgage and family to feed, I can honestly say it has never been this bad.

If the next 12-18 months bring more bad times then I think I’ll be jumping ship and moving to the UK as well.

Which begs the question bob, if you are a permanent resident wanting to become an Aussie citizen, why bother holding onto that British passport of yours?

It seems you have been blinded by the sun mate.
The sun won’t keep a roof over your head or feed your kids though.

But, from what I’ve read about your position, you’re better off than the average Aussie anyway.

And that’s why I’ve come to the conclusion of why you think it’s so great here.

Anywhere is great as long as you can afford it. ;)

Cheers
Stevo

A typical Aussie bloke.

Reply

BobinOz July 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm

WOW! And you call us whinging Poms!

Stevo, nice of you to introduce yourself to this blog with such a list of aggressive questions. Have you had a bad day? You’ve been watching my blog for some time and you decide that today you’re going to come in here like Clint Eastwood with a burst blood vessel?

If you think I’m going to spend the next two hours of my life answering all your questions, I’m afraid you’re unlucky. For me to choose to answer so many questions, the minimum requirement would be for them to be asked in a civil tone. Perhaps the banter between me and Jon made you think you could step it up a notch. Well, if you’d noted my last words with Jon, we were looking to calm things down.

But I will say this. I am in a much better position to judge the difference between life here in Australia and life in the UK than you are. I’ve lived in both countries. What do you know about England? I lived there for 50 years. You went there on holiday.

Do you think the struggles you are currently going through are unique to Australians? You should have been in England in the late 80s! Whatever you’re going through we”ve been through it too, and worse. Because we had to put up with it in the rain!

No, I won’t spend two hours, but I will quickly address these points:

Q: You say you’ve lived in the one property thus far. How can you make such statements as you do then about house prices.

A: Real estate agents tell me the prices. I don’t have to buy a house to know what it costs.

Q: Bob Says: “But as Australia has not suffered anywhere near as badly from the global financial crisis, we may soon reach the point where it’s as difficult year for first-time buyers as it is in England. Maybe we are already there, I’m not sure, it’s probably quite close. You say – Mate, we are already there!

A: I said maybe and you say we are. No biggie there then.

Q: Bob Says: “My post comparing English and Australian salaries demonstrates without doubt the earnings here are more than 30% higher than back in the UK. I have no explanation for what you say.” – Quite a contradictory statement you made there….but you have no explanation for why an accountant and an I.T. guy are earning less in Australia?

A: It’s not a contradictory statement at all, I simply cannot explain it.

Q: Compare now with now, not now in Australia with later in the UK., Bob.

A: I am, I was just explaining you can’t keep moving countries each time the financial situation changes.

Q: You are either totally insane, or the UK is much worse than we are led to believe, which begs the question as to why so many of us Aussies go there for working holidays each year.

A: Yes, the UK is in bad shape. But it’s as I said, can’t hop countries everytime the economy changes. If I lived in Oz all my life, I’d go to the UK for a holiday too.

Q: Re Cedar Vale. No, it is south west, i.e. Inland.

A: No it’s not, it’s south. The motorway goes south east. Inland? Yes, it’s 30 kms inland. Hardly the bush. Jon was trying to imply I was misleading my readers and there was something wrong with the area. There isn’t.

Q: And yet Bob, you yourself say it “could” be as flat as pancake …. therefore you’re using your imagination too then.

A: Not at all, just offering another possibility to feed Jon’s imaginative mind.

And me working from home is irrelevant to house prices and my opinion of Australia. Those scaremongering articles, we had them all the time in the UK. It sells papers. Those articles: Feb 2010, house prices spiralling. July 2010, auction house sales slump to 49%. Are we supposed to assume an inevitable property crash from this trend? Yes, we had this sort of thing every month in England, they were wrong more than they were right. Scaremongering.

As for this….

Q: I started with nothing in my pocket, and had to work my way up to buying my first home here, and it was not easy I can tell you. Especially when you’re paying interest of 16%+

A: So did I Stevo, bought my first flat in the UK in 1979 for £9,380, I was 21 years old. I started with nothing in my pocket. I had to work for it too. Interest rates for us in the UK hit 16% as well in the early 80s. You are not the only one.

Would I move here now with no money and get a mortgage? I’m 52 years of age, of course I wouldn’t.

As for the rest of your comments, you simply talk about Derry being equal to Wollongong, which it isn’t and I’ve already covered that. The fact that it’s 85 km drive and not 60 does not change my mind. If both you and Jon want to think they are equivalent, that’s up to you.

But what is really nasty about your comments are all the personal snide attacks on me that are sprinkled throughout. I don’t need to list them, they are here for all to see. But I have posted your comment because I believe in free speech. But I also believe in some common courtesies that you have failed to observe.

It’s not my problem that things aren’t working out so good for you, don’t come in here taking it out on me. I run a blog about life in Australia as compared with life in the UK. I am qualified to do that.

If you do come back, please use a pleasant tone, this is a light-hearted blog, we don’t need your agression.

By the way Stevo, that was way more than your 2 cents, I reckon that was about 50 bucks!

Reply

Steve Harille July 22, 2010 at 11:35 am

Bob says: “You’ve been watching my blog for some time and you decide that today you’re going to come in here like Clint Eastwood with a burst blood vessel? Calling me insane?”

From your response to me, You seem to be able to dish it out bob, but not so able to take it…

Bob says: “If you think I’m going to spend the next two hours of my life answering all your questions, I’m afraid you’re unlucky”

Or in other words, you can’t answer my questions without acknowledging that your answers will go against your core arguments. ;)

Bob says: “For me to choose to answer so many questions, the minimum requirement would be for them to be asked in a civil tone. Perhaps the banter between me and Jon made you think you could step it up a notch”

No, It didn’t. But, I didn’t notice you weren’t too civil with Jonno and a few others above, so what makes you think you don’t have to be civil but expect others to?

And for the record, I believe I was as civil, based on the premise that you believe you were in previous responses.

Bob says: “But I will say this. I am in a much better position to judge the difference between life here in Australia and life in the UK than you are. I’ve lived in both countries. What do you know about England? I lived there for 50 years. You went there on holiday.”

No, you’ve been here 2 ½ years, and you’re trying to tell me, an Aussie who has been here 47 years, that life in Oz is nice and rosy. When it clearly isn’t.

I don’t pretend to know what’s going on in the UK, other than I’ve read online, and from the other UK posters here.

But seems to me you want to paint a dire picture of the UK when In fact from the posts here, it doesn’t seem to be ‘that’ dismal. Maybe when Australia goes into the same recession, it might be more prudent to compare the UK to Oz then…?

Bob says: “Do you think the struggles you are currently going through are unique to Australians?”

Ah, so you’re willing to acknowledge that Australians are struggling to live?

What about that nice rosy picture you’re painting there Bob, doesn’t that contradict that idea?

Or are you going to tell me that we’re not really struggling ‘that much’?

Bob says: “You’d go and live in London tomorrow would you? Based on what? Your son had a good time?”

Isn’t that what you’re telling people back in the UK bob? That you’re having a good time so everyone should therefore move here?

I notice that you have a particular favour for Queensland, perhaps because its sunny all the time? you do know that Queensland has the stigma of “The backward state” by the rest of Oz don’t you?

You say you’ve lived in the one property thus far. How can you make such statements as you do then about house prices.

Bob says: Real estate agents tell me the prices. I don’t have to buy a house to know what it costs.

Really? Ever been to a house auction bob? They make up about 40% of house sales in this country.

Compare now with now, not now in Australia with later in the UK., Bob.

Bob says: ” I am, I was just explaining you can’t keep moving countries each time the financial situation changes.

No you weren’t, You are quoting today’s house prices in Australia with future hypothetical situations in another country.”

You are either totally insane, or the UK is much worse than we are led to believe, which begs the question as to why so many of us Aussies go there for working holidays each year.

Bob says: “Yes, the UK is in bad shape. But it’s as I said, can’t hop countries everytime the economy changes. If I lived in Oz all my life, I’d go to the UK for a holiday too.”

So, does that mean that when you eventually get your Australian Citizenship, you’ll renounce your British citizenship?

Make the ultimate commitment bob, show everyone how much you really love Australia and are committed to make it your permanent home for life.

If you only intend on holidaying in the UK, you can do that on an Aussie passport.

Q: And yet Bob, you yourself say it “could” be as flat as pancake …. therefore you’re using your imagination too then.

Bob says: “ Not at all, just offering another possibility to feed Jon’s imaginative mind.”

‘Just offering another possibility’, yeah, your imagination. ;)
And oh yes, your comment appears to belittle a poster at the same time.

Bob says: “And me working from home is irrelevant to house prices and my opinion of Australia. Those scaremongering articles, we had them all the time in the UK. It sells paper.”

Those articles are online bob, nothing to sell. Are you really going to be so ignorant as to ignore the facts in front of you?
To call them scaremongering when the average Aussie on the street is experiencing it.

Mate, I don’t know if you realise it, but you’re insulting every hard working Aussie out there by saying that.

Bob says: “Would I moved here now with no money and get a mortgage? I’m 52 years of age, of course I wouldn’t.”

So, are you saying that anyone in the UK who is considering moving to Australia full time, if you haven’t got a house in the UK to sell, and are over 50, then don’t bother moving?

Bob says: “As for the rest of your comments, you simply talk about Derry being equal to Wollongong, which it isn’t and I’ve already covered that. The fact that it’s 85 km drive and not 60 does not change my mind. If both you and Jon want to think they are equivalent, that’s up to you.”

Bob, the more I read your responses, the more I’m inclined to believe that you will believe what you want to believe, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your thinking. I think the poms call it wearing blinkers, we call it blinded by the sun…

Bob says: “But what is really nasty about your comments are all the personal snide attacks on me that are sprinkled throughout. I don’t need to list them, they are here for all to see.

But I have posted your comment because I believe in free speech. But I also believe in some common courtesies that you have failed to observe.”

I think of all the comments you have made in this whole thread, this is the one that people should take note of most, because from the comments you have made to me and others, it portrays you as a hypocrite mate.

Let me make an example: “I like to deal with the facts whereas you seem happier with your own imagination and hearsay”

That’s a pretty snide remark if ever I did see one, bob.

“It seems you are presenting an argument based entirely on your imagination”

Again, another comment belittling the poster and implying the comment is not worthy of discussion.

“Finally, thanks for the additional scaremonger links at the foot of your comment, I’ll read those when I’ve finished laughing at Thomas Su…”

Again, I think that comment shows your ability to be less ‘light hearted” as you put it, and more on the verge of arrogant, at least, that’s how I read it.

And finally, my personal favourite
“It’s not my problem that things aren’t working out so good for you, don’t come in here taking it out on me.”

Bob, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. My questions have all been valid arguments and you have failed to answer them, by “spitting the dummy”.

Bob says: “I run a blog here about life in Australia as compared with life in the UK. I am qualified to do that.”

ONLY if you’re impartial. I strongly believe you’re not being impartial. You’re basing life in Oz on your experience of it only.

The FACT of the matter is, that life in Australia is tough, bloody tough. It is not a rosy, land of milk and honey paradise that you are portraying. You are playing with people’s lives here. Your site (amongst others) is an important medium to those abroad who are or have considered a move to Australia.

You have a responsibility to be impartial in your words. I feel that you are blinded by the sun and using your own good fortune and situation to convince others that life indeed is great here, whilst conveniently ignoring both the experiences of those who have moved from the UK/Ireland or other parts of Europe, and the average Aussie also.

Why don’t you set up some kind of survey on your site, completely impartial of course, and ask Aussie’s what they think of the economy, house prices, and general living in Oz?

Bob say: “If you do come back, please use a pleasant tone, this is a light-hearted blog, we don’t need your agression?”

Aggression? Nobody’s aggressive here mate, frustrated at the way you’re portraying this country in a light it simply is not in. Like a politician, some might say.

Also, see the points above about your own “light hearted” replies…

I will finish with this note; if, like me, the average Aussie family is doing it tough, and you only have to do a quick google search to see that to be the case more and more each day, then consider this:

If we are being told we are not in a recession and have escaped, for the most part, the GFC,
What do you think this country is going to be like when we finally do get a recession/depression given the struggle most families face in the ‘here and now’ of modern day Australia?

Cheers,
Stevo

Reply

BobinOz July 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm

OK Stevo

You came in here yesterday with an aggressive tone and a list of questions almost entirely about my response to Jon, with not a single reference to the article itself. I wonder if you read it.

You wrote over 3,000 words, that’s equivalent to more about 5 full sheets of paper. It’s a record on this blog. Well done! I did you the courtesy of answering about a dozen of your questions but I was in no way surprised when you came straight back with an accusation that I failed to answer your points along with another new long list of questions.

Then the childish accusations, “spit the dummy, dish it out but can’t take it, Queensland, the backward state”. You then call me a hypocrite because you believe I have made snide remarks to others.

Let me be clear. If someone has a pop, it’s my right to have a pop back.

Like Allan with all his “crime, murders, drunken violent anti social behaviour, Schools full of bullies, and drugs, corruption top to bottom” nonsense. Check my reply to him; I answered the points, no personal digs.

Then Jon came in, pleasant at first, but it all went wrong a few comments down the line when he strongly implied I was misleading my readers over Cedar Vale when there is absolutely nothing wrong with the area. I very politely stood my ground on that one, as you can read from my reply dated July 20th.

Jon came straight back with snide comments like “oh c’mon now Bob
you set up this site as you put it “to give the real story on life in Oz”………Can you explain to the good readers here why Cedar vale and jimboomba are so cheap as opposed to 1 hr north and south of Brisbane Bob? I’m guessing you already know the answer but please tell the readers why.” Followed by his “guess” that the 10 acres of land was useless.

Again, an implication that I was deliberately misleading my readers. Then he, like yourself later, started making assumptions about my “wealth” and how it is different for me with “you’ve come here from the South of France (a beautiful part of the world!) And you’ve bought a house, outright from the sale of your own property in England.”

That made it personal. So I stood my ground and had a pop back. I am entitled to defend myself.

Then you show up. Here’s how personal you made it….

1. Mate, I’ll be honest, I don’t feel you’re qualified enough to make opinions on the state of living in Australia when you’ve only been here for just over 2 1/2 years.

2. You say you’ve lived in the one property thus far. How can you make such statements as you do then about house prices?

3. I’d be happier too if I could go from my bedroom to my home office, without having to get caught in traffic in Sydney or meet airline flights and connections. I wonder if you do indeed work from home, that this hasn’t biased your views on “life in Oz”?

4. A tad arrogant there bob?

5. I’d imagine it would be easier coming into Australia with a few hundred thousand and buying outright. (Just ask the Chinese, they’re doing it well).

(Note: Seems you don’t like the Chinese buying houses here either eh Steve? Additionally, you have no idea how much money I came to Australia with or how I paid for my house. All I have said is that my house in Australia cost 63.5% of the sale price of my old house in the UK and it is a bigger house. From that you have assumed I came over with a few hundred thousand dollars and paid cash? Maybe I have a mortgage just like you. You don’t actually know, do you?)

6. No offence, but to come here and spend just over 2 ½ years here and tell me it’s nice and rosy, means you’ve either got too much money in your pocket, you really hate the UK, or you’re insane.

7. When you’ve lived here a few more years, maybe then you’ll know the facts when you’ve lived Aussie life a bit longer.

8. Which begs the question bob, if you are a permanent resident wanting to become an Aussie citizen, why bother holding onto that British passport of yours?

The problem I have with your attack Steve is that I am writing a blog here. A blog is an online diary. A diary is about somebody’s personal experiences. At one point you say that you think I should write this blog “ONLY if you’re impartial. I strongly believe you’re not being impartial. You’re basing life in Oz on your experience of it only.”

So, whose experience should I be talking about in my own personal “online diary”?

This conversation has to end here. First, I have this to say to YOU Steve.

I have lived in Australia for over 2 1/2 years and I have been writing this blog for around 18 months. This blog is about “my” experiences in Australia compared to what it was like for me living in England. It is light-hearted; this is not the BBC or the Economist or Newsweek. It’s BobinOz.

I get visitors from all over the world, 109 different countries to be precise. A massive 41% of those visitors are Australians and I am very grateful for that. I have had personal e-mails from literally hundreds of you telling me how much you enjoy my website.

But in any country, anywhere in the world, there will always be people that are unhappy. Maybe things aren’t so good at the moment in Australia, even I have noticed the difference since 2007 when I got here and I have written about that too. But as I said, this blog is about COMPARING Australia with the UK.

It is my opinion that life in Australia is much better than life in the UK. If you think that traffic is bad here, try the UK. If you think that public transport is bad here, try the UK. If you think violence is out of control here, try the UK. If you think it’s overcrowded here, try the UK!

But those are just my views, I’m entitled to them and I’m entitled to write a blog about them.

Steve, you obviously like writing in reams and you are a very opinionated bloke. Why not start your own blog? I’m sure Australiaisahorribleplace.com is available.

But your aggression, even though you have labelled it frustration, and personal attacks on me are not welcome here. If you do bother to post here again, as I said earlier, THIS conversation with you is over. So, do not post any more of your “you said this, this is what I think, now answer me” marathons.

You are quite welcome to come in here and voice your opinions, but do so without your aggression and without making it personal. And you need to change your approach if you expect me to take part in a conversation with you.

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JOHN WILKES July 23, 2010 at 10:12 am

Bob, earlier you said , ‘ Welcome to blog biffo ‘. Little did you expect anyone to take that as an invite to come along with such fighting words. Normally I take out five or ten minutes to read what’s new on your site but contributors please be more concise, there are only so many hours in a day and as much as I enjoy Bob’s site even I can get p….d off. Now this is how I think it should go…………………….
Houses are definately becoming more and more unaffordable in OZ. I arrived in Australia in August 1974 and could purchase a three bedroomed home for as little as $A35,000 in Cheltenham Melbourne. My first job was as Second Chef at a golf club in that suburb on $A160 per week . The average wage was $A134 per week then ; I remember this because it was on the front page of the first newspaper I read in Melbourne . Fantastic , my first job in OZ and I’m laughing , what a great country . Three months later I’m Head Chef on $A200 per week …..I can’t believe my luck . This is the LUCKY COUNTRY. Now Bob , tell me how much that home costs now and how much I would have to earn to be as well off as I was then? I’ll tell you…… the house is $A550, 000 and I would need to earn $3142 per week ( not allowing for higher interest rates ). What happens now contributors is that Bob comes back and tells me how the area has improved and has become affluent and that I could get a place in a high crime area for a lot less. We disagree but hopefully remain friends and are BOTH happy where we live , me in the UK and Bobinoz .

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Jon July 23, 2010 at 10:42 am

I found this article on a forum recently and would be interested to hear views on the figures, if immigration visas are the culprit, have UK – Oz visas been more stringently controlled over other countries?

Figures from an ABS report, issued 6th July 2010, shows the number of UK settlers arriving in Australia has dropped by almost 40% compared to the previous 12 months.

ABS report: 3401.0 – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, May 2010
Table 12: Permanent Movement, Settlers

Number of movements UK, CIs & IOM
15,700 Jun 2009 to May 2010
21,840 Jun 2008 to May 2009
Down by 39.1%

However, this is different to the totals from all combined countries which has dropped by only 13.5%.

Total ALL Countries
141,090 Jun 2009 to May 2010
160,120 Jun 2008 to May 2009
Down by 13.5%

Largest Increases:

* 10.0% Vietnam
* 6.9% Sri Lanka
* 4.7% USA
* 2.0% China

Largest Decreases:

* 50.4% Iraq
* 49.3% New Zealand
* 39.1% UK
* 31.2% Fiji

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BobinOz July 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

John, yes I agree. Even I find it too much to read and it’s my blog! I think I might tidy it all up in a couple of weeks. Can’t have my regular readers getting the hump.

Anyway, to your point. John, as tempted as I was to say the area has improved and has become affluent etc, I’ll just say firstly, you were obviously overpaid back then 8) and secondly, probably the same story in the UK and elsewhere isn’t it? Didn’t we all used to pay about 15% of our income on the mortgage now it’s like 50%?

I mentioned earlier my first flat, £9,380 in 1979, well I was earning around £80 a week back then. And paying the mortgage was easy!

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BobinOz July 23, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Jon, I can’t possibly know for sure, but maybe it’s because the people in the UK cannot sell their houses right now thanks to one of the worst economical climates the country has had for years.

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JOHN WILKES July 24, 2010 at 9:33 am

Bob, I doubt that you will have read the latest UK figures. You will of course know that the assumption that the £pound might drop to as low as $A1.50 hasn’t yet materialized. In fact I think that very few, if any predictions, have been correct. From experience in my own business things are far from good but most of my suppliers have switched their manufacturing bases from Italy and Spain to the UK. I knew of this 6months ago and predicted that this would help the UK economy. One of my other predictions was that the number of UK citizens moving to Aus. would drop significantly. When I first left my mark on your site it was in response to what I considered misleading UK tv programmes encouraging people to emigrate.’ UK HOME SALES CONTINUE TO INCREASE ‘—-’ FIRST 6 MONTHS OF 2010 21% HIGHER THAN FIRST 6 MONTHS OF 2009 ‘—-’ CONSTRUCTION UP 6.6% IN THREE MONTHS ‘ etc. etc. So I think that what you feel is the reason for the drop in visa applications might not be correct. These details can be found on the BBC news site 21st. July 2010. You can also find a link to another news item ‘ UK Housing Market Now and Then ‘ . This shows the average house price in June 2007 was £184,000 ( you might remember that I recalled a figure of around £185,000 so not far out ) . The April 2010 figure is £167,802. I believe that, as I’ve always thought, no-one would want to sell-up at those prices and this would be the true reason figures would drop…not that they couldn’t sell. Anything sells if It’s cheap enough but who’s going to sell an average house in the UK and buy one in OZ. and that is why as I’ve said before people are keeping homes here and renting in OZ if they do move. I’ve not yet mentioned the number of returning migrants but will give you one of the five cases I know of in the past couple of months. A local family relocated to Perth seven years ago getting a good price for their home in the UK and buying at a very reasonable price in Perth.Their Perth house shot up in value to the point that it would have been unaffordable had they not bought when they did . With this huge increase and a great exchange rate they returned and bought a much better home in a better area than previous…for cash …. If they’d stayed in the UK they would still have had another ten years of their mortgage to pay . Therefore , how can it be a viable proposition to do the opposite ?

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BobinOz July 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Experts predictions not correct? Well go to the bottom of my stairs!

Well John, I didn’t know the pound was expected to fall below $1.50 and it’s good to see that it hasn’t. That other countries are looking to the UK for manufacturing is obviously good news too.

As for those house sales being 21% higher, higher than what? 2009 sales? Because they were pretty poor. As it says in the article, sales are still well down on 2007. So it is still a poor market. So maybe my explanation is correct.

As for that person from Perth, you see, I don’t get it. I still say you cannot have a policy of moving countries just because of financial conditions. Since I’ve been in Australia, houses here have risen by about 15% whilst in England they have fallen by around 20%. The pound has fallen by about 30%. Whichever way you look at it, that’s a big swing.

Am I thinking of returning to England? Not a chance! I’m trying to live my life, not play Monopoly. I’d only go back to England if I “wanted to” not because I could buy a house at a good price.

You ask how it can be viable to do the opposite? In my opinion you can buy a better house out here for $500,000 than you can in England for £300,000. Wages here are higher, there are more jobs available and I think it’s a better country to live.

That’s why it’s viable.

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JOHN WILKES July 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

Bob, I was comparing the years that Jon gave figures for i.e.to May 2010 and to May 2009 with the UK house prices for those years so figures for 2007 are totally irrelevent. As regards the returning migrants I’m sure that their main reasons for returning were not financial but more it was the right time financially . I do know of others who have returned for reasons relating to money but none of the five above . One family were the son was offered trails with a number of Premiership football teams and a gentleman having made a small fortune retiring to the UK after his wife had died. I therefore know of seven homeowners who have sold up in OZ but none who have sold here. I’m sure plenty have but nowhere near previous numbers especially as I have yet to find a single person over in the Uk who thinks houses in OZ are cheaper. Maybe we are all wrong but if that is the case , then why couldn’t any real estate agent in Australia find a single home that was cheap enough for potential Poms. On a particular series of programmes three homes were shown , the first two always unacceptable and the third overpriced. Whether you are right or not Bob there is no doubt that the view of house prices in OZ is not shared by people over here .

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JOHN WILKES July 27, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Bob , Sorry, when comparing I shouid have said ‘with the UK house sales’ and not ‘UK house prices’ in my previous blog. With UK house sales up on the previous year you could reasonable expect the number of people relocating to Australia to also increase.

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BobinOz July 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Well John, if you’re still looking for an answer as to why the figures were down according to the information in that forum (in Jons post above) then I really don’t know. The Australian government did tighten a lot of the immigration rules at some point and they removed quite a few jobs from the skilled list.

Jon’s suggestion that it can’t be changes to immigration rules because other countries have not shown such a large decline really isn’t the case. People generally move here from the UK because of their skills. With many of those other countries, Australia takes them for humanitarian reasons.

When you say “Maybe we are all wrong but if that is the case , then why couldn’t any real estate agent in Australia find a single home that was cheap enough for potential Poms.” I don’t think you mean ANY real estate agent do you? You just mean the real estate agents that appeared on a TV programme I think.

We’ve got loads of houses here that are cheap enough for Poms. But as I have said elsewhere, Australian houses are not the bargain they used to be. There has been a pretty big shift over the last three years, that’s why I continually revise my comparisons.

I’m due another one soon, that should be fun!

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Born and Bred November 3, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Bob, really confused about your comparison as you have taken the median for cities like Melbourne and Sydney and then compared them to absolute premium suburbs in London. I have sold cars to many poms who have been shocked at the cost of living here and the high cost of housing Vs their incomes.

They have the initial win when they convert Euro/Pounds to Oz dollars but once they are here the reality of our speculative market hits home.

Do some research and read comments in papers like theage.com.au and you will see a LOT of people are struggling to keep afloat with their mortgages and most of us are expecting a crash very soon

We also have infrastructure that is in dire straights, public transport, hospitals, and roads are all buckling under the pressure of over population

Not the rosey picture you are pitching to your fellow countrymen

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BobinOz November 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Hi Born and Bred and welcome.

Research? My word, I do plenty of research!

This has become quite a long post and comment thread (and a little outdated as it’s about 15 months old) but I’ve had another quick look through it and I really can’t see where I have compared Australian house prices to absolute premium suburbs in London. Perhaps you can help me out with that one.

The point is this. I’m comparing house prices between England and Australia. Do you really know anything about house prices in England? England probably has some of the most expensive houses in the world.
Frankly, if you want a cheap house you wouldn’t go to either England or Australia, you’d try Romania or Bulgaria or dare I say it, Detriot in America!

As for people being “shocked at the cost of living here and the high cost of housing Vs their incomes” – I did some research. Yes, research. And on my post The Cost of Living in Australia: House Prices Revised I concluded that based on average salaries for each of our countries, ignoring taxes and anything else you’d need to buy, it would take 13 years to buy a house in England compared with 7.7 years to buy one here in Australia.

But I’m really not trying to suggest everything is rosy here, but by comparison to England things are pretty rosy in a lot of ways. Yes, I know people are struggling here to buy houses and make mortgage payments, but guess what’s happening in England? Every bit as bad and more. There is a major recession going on there that makes this place look like a holiday camp. And “overpopulation”, try England! You have no idea what overpopulation it’s until you’ve tried England.

And when things aren’t so rosy here by comparison to England, I talk about that too. Like I did with my post on Buying a second-hand car in Australia Compared to England.

Now, you’re a car salesman, why are your cars so expensive! Lower your prices, eh?

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Tania January 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Hi.

I’ve just come across this blog and have read some of these comments with keen interest – thankyou all for your valuable input and opinions – and thankyou to Bob for wanting to help others by initiating the blog.

I’ve lived and worked in both Australia and the U.K. I am Australian by birth. I can say that neither country is a land of milk and honey. For Australians in Australia, The Great Australian Dream of buying your own home, certainly,,,is fading fast, if not an already dead and buried dream. Sure, you can buy a house on two full- time incomes, but for most middle class people, you’ll eat bread and water for the duration of your mortgage. And that isn’t living. The difference between living and existing/just paying the bills is now something that I am acutely aware of, and I for one, plan to sell my house here in Oz, for a cheaper and better way of life in a liveable shed. I am female. I am supposed to like pretty kitchens and potpurri. I don’t however, and besides, I would much rather be happy living in shed, and have a few dimes to spare to spend on my family at the end of the week, than to live as a slave for the rest of my life. The cost of living here has now largely caught up with the rest of the world.

England was no cup of gold either. Yes, it is overpopulated, the average pay did not seem comparable to Australia, and yes, people were tending to live in shoe boxes for a hell of a lot of money. My British friends used to talk about it a lot. The gap between the haves and have nots seemed wider than in Oz at the time ( 8 years ago). This was especially evident out in the countryside – where I could not believe some of the mansions. It seemed like the very rich had a preference for country estate living, aside from those in London of course.

Please – be warned, you still might get more for your money in Oz as far as houses go…but if you think it is going to be easy, please, think again. Take off the rose coloured glasses. It is NOT easy here anymore, and no, I am not a niave Australian who cant see a good thing when its right in front of me because the sun is shining in my eyes. People here are GENUINELY struggling to survive.

Having said that….you can still enjoy the sunshine in Oz and go to the beach – so given the choice of an expensive rainy country, or an expensive sunny one, I know where I’d much rather be.

I hope this helps.
Good luck with any migration endeavours if this applies to you.

Tania

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Tania January 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm

PS

FYI – I just remembered some research that I read recently that my be of use. I hate to say this, but humble towns in Oz have officially surpassed London as the most expensive places to live in the world.
Did you know, for example, that the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, is now the 3rd most expensive place to live in the world?? Did you know that Mackay, a small regional city in central Queensland, of relative geographical obscurity (British distances), is the 38th most expensive place to live in the WORLD? And so on and so on and so on, as far as Aussie towns go.

This saddens me greatly. I no longer feel proud of this country – I feel disgusted. Bring on my liveable shed or bring on a deserted Pacific Island to move to!!

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BobinOz January 16, 2011 at 1:54 am

Hi Tania

Thanks for your comments and taking the time to give us your views, you have made some very good points indeed. I think I agree with the main gist of what you’re saying, if what you’re saying is that neither country is cheap to live in and don’t be fooled into thinking Australia is a holiday camp just because the weather is good. (Normally)

But I really don’t think the Australian dream of buying your home is dead, certainly not by comparison with the UK because I still think it’s easier to buy a home here than it is back there. Simply by dividing average salaries into average house prices for each country proves that.

The one big thing I’d disagree with you on is your statement that “the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, is now the 3rd most expensive place to live in the world??” You have clearly been suckered by those terribly nice people over at demographia, who I have spoken about before here, whose world only consists of six countries. Canada, USA, Ireland, the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Yet they still call it an international housing affordability survey. Of course, they are not lying to anyone, they are quite open about which countries they are including. But they do fool an awful lot of people. It’s a great example of how statistics can be made to prove anything. Whatever else they’ve done to make it look as though the Sunshine Coast is the third most expensive place in the world, I don’t really care. Because it isn’t. I could think of 100 places in the world more expensive than that.

These same people also have a table of the top 100 most affordable housing markets. The USA has 95 of them and Canada the other five. And the most affordable place in the world to live? Yes, of course, its Detroit. Did you know you could buy a house in Detroit for $10? The trick is though, living in it long enough to repair all the broken windows.

I think they need to expand their world before they can be taken seriously.

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Wendy January 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Well, hello to an amazingly interesting discussion on a blog that I have just stumbled across while looking for a comparison between building a new house or buying an existing house in Australia ( nr Wangaratta actually, for one of the posters a long way up the conversation!).
Thanks BobinOz for some great comparisons, (*note below) – it has helped me understand more about many friends I have that are from the UK and why they stay.

It isn’t actually always about money and living expenses – it is about the weather. Amazingly, so many of my UK friends are sun worshippers, which I can understand, but I do worry about their future skin health – and the fact that they look 15 years younger than the rest of us who grew up here in the sun makes me envious of the gentler UK climate.
Anyway, Tania sounds fantastic, making the decision between owning a “house” and having a life, maybe in a shed. I personally lived in a tent and a shed for 4 and 2 years respectively while building a house in the early 1980′s in the so called sticks, 40km from Perth, which is now a highly valuable and sought after place in the hills (and I don’t own it any more). I bought another place in the “sticks” in Victoria, but 40 minutes beautiful drive to the beach, and wait for it – bushy areas to hike in and take the kids to swim and play in rivers and lakes as well as the beach. At this stage I was a single parent on a low salary and living rural was, and still is cheaper if you can get work and if you can’t get work then having a little patch of land that grows vegetables and fruit and runs chooks for eggs makes it easier, as does having a rainwater tank and drinking that stuff that falls out of the sky – easy to have a $5 filter on the roof gutter and a roof on the tank. The point is, there are ways of making it easier on ourselves even if most of our salary is going on a mortgage, which I still have, and will need to now sell one place to get another, as I changed jobs and remarried – damn it, he didn’t come with the millionaire tag I should have specified, but he is good!
So we are currently renting a two bedroom weekender type house on 160 acres of mostly “sticks” which is beautiful, full of birds and wildlife and needs next to NO management to “do something with it”, (and find me a farmer who makes reasonable money these days – I work with them on land management and they do it tough most years). This property can get income from being “sticks” – payments from government to conserve our heritage, payments from non government sectors to sponsor managing threatened species and provide climate change refuge areas. So it is not wasted. We have no electricity from the grid – it is a few km away and too expensive to connect. We have a full solar set up and have rainwater tanks. Even in drought it would cost about $300 to have enough water delivered for 3-5 months use, cheaper than most water rates.
So Tania, if you want to downsize your mortgage, this could be your type of place (hubby doesn’t want to buy it cos it is on a dirt road – I don’t care, but it is hard to get his old motor bike out to go for a ride so it is a bit sad for his recreation pursuit – it’s not a dirt bike.
As for comparing with my experience living in England with 4 children in 1992-3, I can’t do that, because we couldn’t afford rent on the measley pay and we all lived in a caravan in the back of a trucking storage yard and froze like hell all winter and had 5 sunny days in summer and they were all in a row, which was amazing – my then 5 year old daughter laid a towel out on the dirt in the yard and put an umbrella up to pretend it was at the beach. So we decided to head back to OZ. But there was a lot about the UK we all loved, and we did get to travel a bit.
So, if the going gets tough the Aussie spirit can kick in, make the most of what you have, don’t go for having everything at once and take some pointers from those who lived through wars and great depressions – how to make ends meet and enjoy just being wherever you are. By the time I retire at 67 (about 10 years away) or whatever it is, I do hope to have a basic roof over my head and have it paid for and my veggie garden and fruit trees – or in pots, to help me on the way. Both countries are fantastic, it just depends on what you value.
PS, I am not wealthy, earn average income and probably give most of it away helping other people anyway, which is why I don’t own stuff, but the bank does on my behalf!
thanks, BobinOz and others, I definitely want to stay in Oz, but would never rule anything else out cos I never know what adventure might be around the corner.

Wendy
*No questions asked, just my little point of view.

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BobinOz January 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Wendy, thank you so much for joining in. This “amazingly interesting discussion on a blog” just got amazingly more interesting since you got here. I genuinely laughed out loud at “my then 5 year old daughter laid a towel out on the dirt in the yard and put an umbrella up to pretend it was at the beach”.

Fantastic!

I have often wondered what it must be like really living in the sticks. You’ve just given me a good idea of that.

Maybe, one day, I’ll even give it a go.

Thanks for taking the time to share this with us.

Bob

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sue February 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm

What a load of cobblers I live in Melbourne and I don’t earn over $40,000 neither does my partner and we are both profesionals, as for the cost of housing here its the pitts prices are ridiculously high for what you get, and dont get me started on the cost of living, yeah but the weather is great four seasons in a day what more could one ask for and great neighbours lived next door to them for five years say hello and just get stared back at no response time to move i think try another part

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Wendy February 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Sue,
Yep, it’s getting tougher with house costs and living costs. And city neighbours! Ho Hum, until there is a disaster, and then everyone will be there! Trying another part – have you thought about country areas – depends of course on the work you do. Hope something improves for you, even the weather, which I do still find somewhat better that when I lived in the UK.

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Gazza May 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Having bought a number of homes in Perth, Brisbane and the UK over the last 17 years I can say that Australia has no longer any real value in real estate price and new blocks of land are 3 times the price of 10 years ago and half the size.
Building standards in OZ are very poor as most homes are expected to last no more than 40 years and most people will build and move on every 5 years so care little about the standard of construction just how cheap and how big the home is.
The big difference in homes here to UK is lack of insulation from heat and cold and no real thought about maintenance costs regarding the cheap materials being used that will not last the pace of time.
Termites are still a massive problem in Australia so are insects of most kinds , so you will need a pest man to clear out the house at least once a year.
Housing estates here are lifeless and have nothing in the way of communities or focal points to meet up in , Pubs are swill houses in OZ with little in the way of friendly banter that you get in the UK and sell over priced beer and meals no better than you would get in the UK just dearer.
People here care about how big their home is, how big their car is , how big their pool is , how big their telly is and don’t give rats about anyone else and the word mate is most over used word here given no one is anyone’s mate
All in all if you want a home with age and character in an area where people care about each other stay in the UK, if want you want to live in a mini America with all its coldness and greed come to OZ.

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BobinOz May 6, 2011 at 12:41 am

Another rant from the disgruntled Gazza, filled with unsubstantiated twaddle. My favourite is “mate is most over used word here given no one is anyone’s mate”.

If any of you are happy to buy into Gazza’s theory that in Australia nobody has any friends, then you’re probably prepared to believe everything else he has said. Which, of course, would be very sad.

Psst, Gazza, how big is your telly then?

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Tania May 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

Hey there. BobinOz, thanks for your comments in response to my original post. I did read them a couple of months ago but never replied. Notification of your latest comments turned up in my email, and hence here I am.

Thanks for pointing out the inherent problems with the affordability survey. Yes, I generally agree with you, one must be weary about any research and it’s always worthwhile doing your own homework, which you have obviously done.

Wendy, well thank-you. I honestly am not that fantastic though, heehee. :)
I read your post with great interest as yes, this does sound like my kind of place. It sounds so bloody good in fact that I want to be there right now!! (Currently writing this from the inner suburbs of Brisbane, ugh!)

Thanks for your sunny disposition and positive outlook on things too. It’s good to know that all the things I am hoping to also have (solar power, rain water, growing food etc) have made a positive difference to you guys. :) Thanks!

I cannot wait for the day that I declare my own ‘queendom’ (as opposed to kingdom, lol) in the sticks!!! That is not a politically correct term of reference, it’s just technically correct as I do not have the anatomy for a kingdom.

On that note people….this is something worthwhile knowing about….apparently in Oz you can declare your own kingdom – it is still legally viable and permissible under an old law from years gone by. You make your own laws within the kingdom on your own land, but you are also therefore not subject to mainstream laws. Its one I definately have to do more research into, and I really hope its correct.

All the best, thanks for all your comments.
Bring on the liveable shed queendom!!!!!!!! (Don’t laugh now!!) :) :)

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BobinOz May 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Hi Tania and welcome back.

Got to agree with you, Wendy’s lifestyle and where she lives sounds awesome doesn’t it? I fancy living there too, so do you, but if we all go we’d just end up ruining it for Wendy. They’d have to build a shopping centre, lay on buses, schools…

Anyway, I’m getting carried away.

I think I’ll choose somewhere else, and register BobinOzLand. I fancy my own kingdom.

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Jen August 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I think you’re dreaming Bob. I’ve lived in Oz since 1965 and have to commute an average of 4 hrs to work in Sydney.

Tell them about the proposed Carbon Dioxide tax etc.

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BobinOz August 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm

I’ve just punch myself in the face. It hurt! Seems I’m awake, it’s not a dream.

Sorry it takes you so long to get to work. And I have told them about the carbon tax, many times. Maybe you should read more of the site before you make statements like that?

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Wilbur Whittington December 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Hello! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!

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BobinOz December 8, 2011 at 12:21 am

Thanks Wilbur, I just hope you are not a bus driver.

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united February 19, 2012 at 3:55 am

Manchester rules

I have read everyone’s comments, bleeding hell there’s a bit of banter going on here like.. haha

Hi bob in oz, bob i wish i was in your shoes right now!!!
Australia is the place to be, jealous haha. i lived there for 3 years in Sydney and Melbourne, but i hated the fact i had to wake up early hours in the morning to watch football
Not good!!!

England rules, not Britain….. England!

UNITED UNITED UNITED

Please no banter for this post!!

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BobinOz February 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm

But I’m not wearing any shoes right now.

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united February 22, 2012 at 6:51 am

sorry bob did i say shoes, i mean shorts lol

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BobinOz February 23, 2012 at 1:30 am

Oh, I got them on :-)

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Jon Tomor March 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm

What is being said in your article doesn’t tell me anything, bobinoz.
You failed to correct/mention a very fundamental question, namely, that one cannot compare median house values with average individual earnings.
Arithmetic 101, late Primary School : one CANNOT mix MEDIAN with AVERAGE values.
Therefore, whatever follows is completely menaingless, being based on a fallacy.

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Jon Tomor March 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm

misspelt ‘meaningless’.

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BobinOz March 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Wow! You sound really clever Jon. Are you a primary school teacher? Obviously not in spelling….

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Haniye October 7, 2012 at 8:21 am

Hi Bob
I’ m Iranian girl , and I haven’ t got enough money for buying home in Australia and I don’t know what am I to do for buying and living in there ? con you give me information ?
Thanks

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BobinOz October 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Not much I can do here, houses cost what they cost I’m afraid.

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Brendan September 6, 2013 at 4:57 am

Wow, Bob! this has been quite a discussion hasn’t it? I am an Australian still planning on moving back to Oz from America, but have been scared out of my wits by Tania’s posts. Do you know of any government program or bank lending program whereby you can get a loan without making a down payment? Cheers

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BobinOz September 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Hi Brendan

This is probably not the time to talk about government programs, we go to the polls tomorrow so by Monday we will have a completely new government, who knows what they might do.

We have, in the past, and possibly still currently in force, some schemes where first-time buyers get a little bit of help with the deposit, but you really do have to be a first-time buyer of a house anywhere in the world. But as I say, any schemes might be extinct or created under the new government. It is also possible that various states have different incentives in place, I think Queensland recently had one where they gave $10,000 to those investing in a newly built house.

If you have no deposit at all though, the mortgage repayments are going to be more frightening than Tania’s post I would think, so you need to look at this very carefully.

Cheers, Bob

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Col B. July 24, 2014 at 5:56 am

Hi Bob. l’m going to be a first time home buyer soon. l’m looking at buying up to twenty acres or less with a three-bed-roomed cottage dwelling on it in the bush somewhere in Victoria, but l want to supply my own water from tanks suitable for drinking and for other uses. My issue is about land rates & council costs. Is it true that the bigger the land l own, the bigger the rate costs per acre?

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BobinOz July 24, 2014 at 9:26 pm

That’s too tricky for me to answer Col B, hopefully somebody else reading this might be able to throw some light on it. But the way I see it, if you’re out in the bush, supplying your own water, I suspect you won’t have much streetlighting, or buses swinging by, nobody is going to empty your bins for you, you should be on reduced rates!

Generally speaking, rates are linked to the size of land for most housing, but when it gets to acreage, maybe the scale is different, maybe there’s not much difference between 5 acres and 20 acres, but I just don’t know.

If nobody here can help out, maybe a quick call to Victoria Council?

Also, do check whether there are any first-time home buyer grants going, the federal government have offered that from time to time and maybe some states might do so also.

Cheers, Bob

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