The so-called Great Australian Dream is a home on a quarter-acre block, with a couple of children and a family dog.

While the kids and the dog can, for many, be easy to come by, that stack of bricks and mortar is beginning to feel out of reach for many Australians.

The average price of a house in Sydney has risen by 80 per cent over the past five years. The Hills District has followed the trend. In the suburb of Baulkham Hills, house prices have jumped from just over $500k in 2008 to an average of $1.1 million in 2016. Castle Hill and Cherrybrook have seen a similar leap, with the average value of a home now topping $1.4 million.

For someone looking to buy their first property, these figures can seem daunting. However it is still possible for a first home buyer to get a foot on the property ladder in The Hills District.

How to buy your first home in The Hills District

Having lived and worked in the area for over 30 years, Stone Director Jane Booty has witnessed the evolution from a quiet district on the fringes of Sydney to a mini-metropolis.

“When I moved here things were evolving from being semi-rural to suburban. We were selling lots of house and land packages but there wasn’t a single apartment in the area,” she says.

Jane has witnessed The Hills District’s rapid growth, which has been largely fuelled by its reputation as a family-friendly area, its quality schools and its increasingly quick access to the Sydney CBD.

She admits buying into the area can be a challenge for first home buyers nowadays, but she does have some tips to share.

Keep it in the family

Jane and her team often sell apartments to siblings. “They have been saving and they have had some help from Mum and Dad to put together enough to buy a property together,” she shares.

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This strategy can be a winning one for singles who cannot afford the deposit on a property on their own. Brother and sister investors often pool their funds to buy an investment, choosing to either live in it together or rent it out and stay at home with mum and dad.

Shorten your wish list

Unfortunately there aren’t many of us who can have it all when it comes to a first home. Jane encourages first buyers to cut the fat on their wish-list. “Perhaps you can go without that second bathroom when you’re starting out,” she suggests, “or look for a one-bedder to begin with.”

Another tactic can be to begin looking further afield than your ideal location. Buyers can purchase their first home, wait for it to appreciate in value then sell, or leverage equity to move closer to where they would like to be.

“Sometimes it’s about getting on the ladder and working your way up to your dream home.”

Buy off the plan

With a new train line set to fast-track the journey to the city from 2019, The Hills District is beginning to attract more young professionals.

Buying off the plan can be cheaper than purchasing an existing property and pay dividends in the long term.

“We are selling units off the plan in North Kellyville at the moment,” says Jane, “These are very popular with first home buyers”.

Plan ahead

Unless you’re going to pay cash for your property (and wouldn’t that be nice?), it’s not possible to decide to buy a home one day and make an offer the next.

“Even if you have a considerable contribution from your parents, you will not necessarily be able to secure a home loan,” comments Jane, who reminds buyers that lenders want evidence that a donated amount has remained in your savings account for at least three months.

Banks will also be looking for:

  • Evidence you are able to save money on your own
  • Low personal and credit card debt
  • A good credit history
  • A steady employment history

The planning and saving process to buy a first home can take years but the sooner you get started the sooner you will be reaping the rewards.

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Get professional advice

Jane and her team often meet with first home buyers to talk through their options.

To help new buyers get a foot on the property ladder, she is able to share her advice and also refer them to mortgage brokers. These professionals can look at a prospective buyer’s financial situation and point them in the right direction when it comes to preparing for and selecting a home loan.

Despite it being a challenge to get into the market, Jane is confident buying property is the right move.

“Apart from a few short blips I have only seen the property market in The Hills District stay steady or increase during my 30-year career,” she remarks, adding that it can be hard to go wrong in this highly sought-after area.

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Jane Booty, Tony Didd and team

Jane Booty, Tony Didd and team

Whether you live in The Hills or are looking to move into The Hills District, there’s nothing we love more than helping people with Hills Shire homes! Caring and considered, our real estate agency doors have been open for 23 years, so we’re very much part of the fabric of The Hills District community.

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