In Brisbane, we work with local real estate agents to make property buying fast, simple and convenient for home buyers.
For both homeowners and those looking to get into the market, we’ve highlighted the key trends for home shopping, getting a home loan and refinancing in Brisbane. When you’re ready to make a change or have additional questions, we’re available with personalised guidance and Home Loan Experts who offer support, not sales.
We’ve put together this comprehensive guide for First Home Buyers giving them details about the Brisbane market.
- Where to start in Brisbane?
- Expanding your search
- Where can you buy a home for under $500,000 in Brisbane?
- How to land your dream home
- Buying a home in Brisbane
- Home Loan Application Process in Brisbane
- How much deposit do I need?
- Refinancing in Brisbane
- Common refinance myths in Brisbane
- Next steps to get started with buying your home
First-time homebuyers have options
Although first home buyers might feel intimidated by finding and financing their dream home, the truth is they have heaps of options. For borrowers with great credit and a steady income, a 5% deposit can be an option and in some cases, no deposit is required at all allowing them to start investing and build equity much sooner. Let’s see how that plays out with a typical renter.
The median Brisbane rent payment is around $400. At current interest rates of 4%, the renter could afford a mortgage of $375,000 with a similar monthly home loan payment. At Hunter Galloway, we see our clients behaving similarly, over 46% of our purchase loans are for first home buyers, with almost 59% of our clients putting down less than 20% deposit.
We have found that compared to other housing markets, a high proportion of renters in Brisbane could afford a mortgage. Our goal is to help these renters become homeowners by providing simple loan options, and step-by-step guidance throughout
Joshua Vecchio, Hunter Galloway.
Shop by neighbourhood: Brisbane
There’s no denying it: Brisbane’s market is heating up. That means if you’re looking to buy, it will help if you’re flexible (and realistic). First, work with a broker to understand exactly how much you’re qualified to borrow (don’t forget to take your savings and monthly budget into account as well). Then, it’s time to start looking for the perfect home in the areas you’re interested in.
We are seeing lots of activity in the Brisbane market at present, in particular lots of older owner occupiers moving and downsizing. Investors in the inner city suburbs have turned away from just looking for rental return and are now competing for the same style of homes that first home buyers are looking for as they appear to be aiming for longer term capital growth in tightly held pockes – making the market really hot for first home buyers.
Adam Stefan, Real Estate Agent Brisbane.
Where to start in Brisbane?
We looked at a good mix of a few of Brisbane’s most popular suburbs, and a few little-known ones to research a few Brisbane suburbs based on your goals.
I want a suburb that’s walkable
If you want walkable, look no further than the city and surrounds, with the Fortitude Valley being a trendsetter’s delight. Almost 50% of the residents here are young and independent, giving this inner-city area undisputed cool cachet and excellent bars and nightlife. ‘The Valley’ as it’s known is the entertainment precinct famous for great food, live music, clubs and its bustling China Town.
Have a look at Fortitude Valley, Bowen Hills and Newstead.
I’m a young professional
Home to Italian migrants in the fifties and an altogether rougher, grungier crowd in the 1980s, New Farm has gradually gentrified over the past 20 years. Young professionals love the area for its proximity to the city and cool sensibility, but a new wave of empty-nesters are selling their family homes and moving here to enjoy the low-maintenance lifestyle offered by New Farm’s apartments and converted lofts in Teneriffe.
Have a look at New Farm and Teneriffe.
I’m looking for something Family Friendly
Mainly established couples and families, Cannon Hill is like a country town just outside the city. A lovely, friendly community vibe pervades the air here, and it’s close to the CBD, airport, shops, schools and lovely bush walks. Convenience and a peaceful vibe make Cannon Hill popular with commuters. Recent construction at The East Village and the newly-renovated Carindale Shopping Centre have only added benefit for local residents. Another area close to the city with great transport and motorway links, Morningside is only 5 kilometres from Brisbane and within easy access to shopping in the CBD, New Farm, Carindale and Woolloongabba.
Have a look at Morningside and Cannon Hill.
I’d love to be on the water.
Far enough from the city to feel like another town but close enough to commute every day, these bayside suburbs are tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane CBD and are mostly populated by mature couples, families and retirees. Manly’s north-east facing aspect, village shopping centre, parkside esplanade and boat harbour provide the perfect setting for enjoying the good life near the water. It’s a clean and friendly village with most conveniences available and good local schools and daycare centres, and homes are a variety of old and new, with many ‘Queenslanders’ in good condition or ripe for renovation.
Have a look at Birkdale, Manly, Wynnum & Lota.
We want some room to move.
Only 12.5km from the city, Aspley is a well-established suburb with good access to local shops such as the Hypermarket and Chermside Shopping Centre, as well as decent schools, transport and medical facilities. Mostly populated by older couples and mature families, it’s a residential suburb with some professionals who commute to the city. Bracken Ridge has changed a lot in the past decade, with many shops and homes being renovated and a wider variety of people moving in.
Have a look at Aspley, Albany Creek, Bracken Ridge and Chermside.
What about starter homes
Formerly down-at-heel, times have changed for Annerley ‘ only 5 kilometres from the city, its mix of colonial homes and apartments makes it a magnet for professionals and families, and the air rings with the industrious sound of renovation. Multicultural and safe, it has a neighbourly atmosphere and offers lifestyle and convenience with suburban charm. A central hub for transport and shopping, the suburb offers both buses and trains in and out of the CBD, easy access to the M3 and is within close proximity to Woolworths.
Have a look at Annerley, Buranda and Moorooka as well as Fairfield Gardens and Stones Corner.
Depending on what type of home you are looking for the suburb has the biggest impact. Anything with a train line is always going to be in higher demand when you go to sell later on (investors from down south seem to love trains). If buying a unit try and pick up something on the ground floor, courtyards make a huge difference to livability of your outside area.
Adam Stefan, Real Estate Agent Brisbane.
Expanding your search
Given Brisbane’s sprawl, it is worth looking outside of just the areas you live and have lived before. According to David Hyne, Director at Herron Todd White now is the right time to be looking to buy in Brisbane and also the suburbs outside of the inner city of Brisbane.
Every other property cycle has started this way, and this is no different. We see growth in the inner city areas, and then start to move out. Brisbane’s inner city areas have performed at around 5-6% per year, and although this hasn’t impacted the properties 25-30km out in previous cycles the growth continues to move out to the suburbs.
David Hyne, Herron Todd White Brisbane.
Where can you buy a home for under $500,000 in Brisbane?
David Hyne believes there are great buying opportunities in and around Brisbane, with the Brisbane market bottoming out in 2011. Looking at the market since 2012, Brisbane has had median house growth of around 20% compared to Sydney’s 80% and Melbourne’s 60%. The Brisbane market has been the poor cousin in this last cycle, but it presents opportunities to buy well prices properties under $500,000 in suburbs like Everton Park, the older timber style post-war housing or Keperra, Albany Creek and Chermside too.
Don’t be afraid to buy further out to get what you want. Outside the 10km ring in Brisbane is still extremely close to the city in the grand scheme of things. Also I suggest you start looking online at SOLD properties, not what is currently for sale if you really want to get a good idea on price, not what is for sale. What something is listed and then sells for can be a big variance.
Adam Stefan, Real Estate Agent Brisbane.
How to land your dream home
Whether you’re looking in Brisbane’s Bayside, or the inner city suburbs its important to put your best foot forward when starting to look for your dream home. We had a chat with Adam Stefan, Real Estate Agent based in Brisbane to give you a few ideas on how to get your dream home quicker!
1. FIND A GREAT MORTGAGE BROKER
“Working with a good mortgage broker will make the entire home buying process a smooth and simple experience, they will have 5-star reviews on Google and show a track record of helping home buyers similar to you. Finance can make or break your first home, so you want to work with someone that keeps you in the loop and works with to get that dream home.”
2. DO YOUR RESEARCH
“If you’re looking into new suburbs or areas you aren’t familiar with its important to do some further research to find out the suburb has everything you are looking for. I also think you should consider if”
- The location is close to your family
- It’s near schools, public transport, employment hubs and other amenities
- It’s close to your workplace, or easily accessible
- The location is affordable
Get out there and check out open homes and auctions. You can only learn so much from behind a computer screen and this will help you later down the track when you are negotiating as you will be able to compare a lot more than the advertised features and you will be able to get these points across to the agent.
Adam Stefan, Real Estate Agent Brisbane.
3. BE PROACTIVE
“Properties don’t stay on the market for very long. You want to be proactive about identifying homes you’re interested in, scheduling inspections (or going to the open houses) and being ready to make a strong offer to help you secure the property and avoid missing out!”
4. GET A PRE-APPROVAL
“It’s important to know exactly how much you can afford – and how much a lender will approve you for. Given how hot Brisbane’s make is, reducing the days on your finance clause can help get you in ahead of other home buyers bidding for the same property. In order to do that you’ll need your lender to do an in-depth review of your documents, and do a full pre-approval.”
5. WHO THE AGENT IS REALLY WORKING FOR…
“A good real estate agent will work hard for the vendor, or person selling the property to get the best price. Remember most agents are paid commission only and they don’t waste their time own buyers who are unsure or unlikely to commit. So it’s critical you put your best foot forward at open houses, and be nice to agents they will remember you.”
6. MAKE IT PERSONAL
“When dealing with agents the more they like you, the more information they will give. Find out as much as you can about the person selling the property, other competing buyers and terms they are looking for – for example, finance or settlement conditions – to help make your offer more appealing than others.”
See how much you can afford here.
Home Loan Application Process in Brisbane
There has been a rising trend of buying a property in Australia. Most individuals want to buy their own house with a home loan. By making regular loan repayments, they invest a portion of their income in their own property instead of making rental payments with no future benefit. Besides, the real estate market is booming and people can find a house at a reasonable price. Banks process thousands of home loan applications every year. Most of the times, people who apply for a home loan are not familiar with the application process. In order to get a better understanding of how home loan application works, the steps of the process are given below.
When you plan to buy a house, you must pre-approve the home loan for a specific amount. It allows you to know the maximum amount you can afford to pay that is helpful in negotiating a deal. In addition to that, you should also look for concessions, such as first home owner grants and find out if you are eligible for that. You can seek help of the mortgage broker as well in this regard.
Home Loan Application
If you do not have enough capital to buy a house, you definitely need to apply for a home loan. You can submit a loan application to lenders or you can ask the broker who can arrange this for you.
Lodging an Application
Every lender offers a different loan package. Therefore, it is important to compare the packages to see which one suits you the best. Once you finalize the lender, inform your mortgage broker. He will lodge a loan application on your behalf.
Contract of Sale
When you lodge an application, you are required to provide a copy of the contract of sale. This document contains the property details. It is prepared by the solicitor of a seller. You must have it approved by conveyancer or solicitor before signing it.
Approval Process of a Lender
The lender takes about three to five working days to review and evaluate your loan application. Once the process is complete, the lender contacts the mortgage broker to tell him whether the loan application is approved, rejected, or accepted based on certain conditions. Conditional approval means the application is approved in principle, but further work is required, such as property valuation by an independent valuer.
Valuation of Property
It is normally the lender who needs a valuation of a property. The valuation is carried out by an independent valuer and takes about three to five business days depending on the availability of property for inspection.
Once the valuation is completed, the lender may need a mortgage insurance approval from mortgage issuer. This normally takes one or two business days after receiving the valuation of a property.
How Long does the Entire Process Take?
Before you apply for a home loan, you must know that there are a number of factors involved in the process, including
- Valuation requirement
- Complexity of home loan
- Availability of supporting evidence, such as credit card statement, salary slip, bills, etc., and
- How soon you return the documents after signing them
A bank can also provide approval in just one day if an applicant fulfills the above requirements and is eligible for the loan. For example, the required documents are provided; there is no guarantor, and there is a maximum of only two individual borrowers. However, it is important to note that not all loans are alike. Some loans are more complex than others and normally involve companies or trusts. In such cases, it may take more than a day to process as you will normally receive your documents in four to seven working days.
How to Speed up the Loan Application Process?
In order to speed up the loan application process, you must prepare a list of all the documents required for the application. Many times, incorrect or incomplete documents cause a delay in the application process. Moreover, inform your broker if the lender needs property valuation. The sooner a valuer can access the property, the quicker he will be able to do a valuation. If you keep these points in mind, you will definitely be able to plan better and find yourself in a position to take the right decision.
Buying a home in Brisbane
How much deposit do I need?
Becoming a homeowner is a massive milestone in most peoples lives, but it can be hard to know when you’re ready. At Hunter Galloway, we’ve found that many people don’t take the next step because of how daunting it can seem to save up for a large deposit.
According to some analysts, the time taken to save a 10-20% home deposit putting aside $500 a week at a generous 3 per cent interest is more than a decade – during which time house prices in Melbourne and Sydney have doubled. The challenge is struggling to build up savings for a home deposit, you may have rented for years with no issue and can afford a mortgage but come short on the deposit.
Find out what you can afford with a 5% deposit here.
Always attend the building and pest inspection. A report can only tell you so much, being there with the inspector will give you a better understanding of what the actual problem is and what needs to be done to fix it which will help if you are negotiating a price reduction. The reports also read a lot scarier than what they can be when talking to the inspector in person
Adam Stefan, Real Estate Agent Brisbane.
When a 5% deposit could work
You may have heard that 20% is the magic number for a deposit. It is true the greater your deposit, the less you’ll need to borrow which in turn can mean lower monthly payments and more favourable rates. Putting down 20% or more also means you won’t need to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) which lenders typically require if your deposit is less than 20%. That said, for borrowers with a steady income and a good credit history a 3-5% deposit loan can still be a financially sound option, allowing you to start investing and building equity sooner.
Let’s say you have a high HELP (student loan) debt, but a stable career with a steady income. And you live in a city where your monthly rent is high – even higher than what a monthly home loan payment might be. In this scenario, you may not have a chance to save up for a 20% deposit. But if your debt to income ratio and credit score are strong, it could be a better financial decision to buy now with a lower deposit than wait several years more to build up to the 20% benchmark.
Read more about when 5% deposit works here.
How to buy with no deposit at all
You might have read different articles, some say no deposit, some say you need a deposit – which is it? When I bought my first home it felt like everyone was trying to sell me something so it’s important to clarify a few things.
Buying a property with your parents as a guarantor lets you borrow up to 105% of the purchase price! This means you don’t need any savings as your parents provide a guarantee secured on their property.
The idea is for you to get into the property market sooner. Once you have paid off part of your loan or your property has increased in value you can remove the guarantee.
Guarantor loans have become very popular in recent years as they cost less than standard home loans, they allow you to buy without a deposit and some lenders now allow you to limit the size of the guarantee.
FIRST HOME BUYERS GRANT
Some states in Australia are giving up to $15,000 towards first home buyers to purchase their first homes – Best of all, this grant can be used towards your deposit! So for example, on a $300,000 property, you need to provide a 5% deposit, or $15,000 – the First Home Buyers Grant can help you get into the property market without any deposit at all.
There are some caveats on this like needing to qualify for the first home buyers grant, and at the moment these are limited to being available only on new properties so you’ll need to see if it is suitable in your situation.
Generally, you will need to have a smaller deposit like 3% to 5% and a very high income to make a personal loan as deposit work. Using a personal loan you can borrow up to 95% of the purchase price plus a personal loan, but you need a clear credit history and cannot have more than $10,000 in existing debt.
This option isn’t suitable for all people, and we recommend that you speak with your parents about a guarantor loan before you consider this option.
Around 50-60% of first home buyers receive help from their parents, gifted funds work if your parents can give you 5% to 15% of the purchase price. And while this isn’t available for everyone might help you get your foot into the door.
Hunter Galloway beat four other lenders to get my business. Using the tips and ideas they gave me I was also able to outbid 5 people who were trying to buy the same property as me. Thanks guys without these simple ideas I would have still be stuck renting and would never have been able to get my own place!
Home Purchaser, Brisbane.
Refinancing in Brisbane
Home values are on the rise
The median house price in Brisbane has increased by 4.80% between July 2016 to June 2017 with a 5 year average for capital growth of 3.60% according to RP Data.
Rising home values means more equity for homeowners. You may want to take advantage of any increases equity through a refinance. For example, you could refinance to a better interest rate, to pay off your mortgage faster, or take cash out for home repairs or renovations.
See if refinancing is right for you here.
Common refinance myths in Brisbane
- You won’t save that much money by refinancing.
- You need 20% equity or deposit to refinance.
- Your current lender can offer you the best rates.
- Refinances are only about getting a lower rate.
- Applications require a lot of documents.
- You need cash to cover exit and switch costs.
- You’re supposed to be an expert.
Next steps to get started with buying your home
Our team here at Hunter Galloway is here to help you buy a home in Brisbane. Nathan & Joshua Vecchio are Senior Mortgage brokers who specialise in making your home journey easy.
Unlike other mortgage brokers who are just one person operators, we have an entire team of experts to help make your home loan journey as simple as possible.
If you want to get started, please get in touch here and we can book a time that suits you – either a phone call information session or a face to face meeting (which doesn’t cost anything for you)