Buying a home in the Illawarra is a tricky prospect for many at the moment, given the huge demand being experienced.
And as property values continue to rise, first home buyers are under increasing pressure when attempting to get into the market.
Therefore, a property valuation and advisory company has provided location-specific thoughts on the where, what, and how for first home owners in the region in 2021.
Chris McKenna, residential team leader at Herron Todd White said first home buyer activity does seem to have increased in recent months, as buyers in this category start worrying about leaving it too late, and also being concerned about where market levels will be if they wait another 12 months.
He said the type of property a first home buyer would be looking at was dependent on their life situation.
"Singles might be interested in a unit in the Wollongong CBD," Mr McKenna said.
"More affordable options around the $400,000 mark are older basic two-bedroom units or more modern one-bedroom units.
"Couples without children or with young children can be looking at two- or three-bedroom townhouses or older houses that might be a 'doer upper' project.
"For under $650,000 you can get an older two or three-bedroom townhouse around Corrimal or Figtree, an older house in Berkeley, Dapto or Warilla, or a new three-bedroom duplex in Kembla Grange or Albion Park.
"Larger families will be wanting a bit more room and while four-bedroom housing options north of Wollongong under $800,000 are limited, new housing is available for this amount in West Dapto and Calderwood."
Mr McKenna said low interest rates and government grants were providing assistance, but the reality was many potential first home buyers were not able to afford to own their own home.
He said an alternative option is to become a rentvestor, whereby you rent a property to live in in a location and style that suits, and purchase a more affordable property in another location.
"Nearby rentvesting opportunities for Illawarra locals include areas such as the Shoalhaven and Goulburn where $400,000 will go a bit further," he said.
"Likewise, the Illawarra can be a popular location for Sydney based rentvestors looking for more affordability than their local market."
Meanwhile, in their latest report, Herron Todd White director Scott Russell has looked at the commercial/retail property market in Wollongong for the remainder of this year.
He said certain categories within the retail industry will continue to perform well, with bulky goods and neighbourhood and convenience shopping centre asset classes in demand.
"Throughout the pandemic, we have seen very strong demand for service stations, service centres and fast food assets reflecting long lease terms," Mr Russell said.
"Given ongoing uncertainty and the defensive nature of such assets, we expect to see this level of demand continue throughout the year."
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