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First home buyer skips Sydney property for half-price regional home

View of the breakwater with marina, and Jetty Beach.

With frenzied auction scenes and properties selling within days of hitting the market, first home buyers have to be proactive and resourceful to get into the market.

That means looking outside of their ideal, preferred or even last-choice local suburbs, when searching for a patch of bricks and mortar to call their own.

For 33-year-old marketing professional Samuel Nolan, current booming property conditions have prompted him to extend his property search north of Sydney – well north, to the tune of several hundred kilometres.

Picture not described"Right now I live in an apartment in Surry Hills, but I'm looking outside of Sydney as the prices here are astronomical," he tells Finder.

"I want to get my foot in the door in the property market so going to Coffs Harbour, where it's more affordable and where… it seems like a logical and hopefully profitable venture."

With a budget of up to $480,000, Samuel is looking forward to being able to stretch his dollar much further in Coffs Harbour than he would in Sydney.

In Coffs Harbour, this budget would snag him something like:

In the Harbour City, you'd need a budget of at least $1 million (and the rest) to get even close to securing properties of this size and quality.

Perhaps this is why Samuel's not alone when setting his sights on a regional property.

Affordability drives buyers to regional properties

New research from ING Australia has revealed holiday towns are becoming just as appealing as city suburbs for Aussie property investors, with almost a third (32%) considering purchasing an investment property in a holiday location compared to inner city (30%) and outer city (37%) suburbs.

A recent boom in local travel could be partly driving this interest, with a quarter (25%) of Aussies saying they want to take advantage of the growing local holiday market. The huge value for money on offer when comparing regional properties to city-based homes was another key factor for 50% of survey respondents.

Affordability was definitely a key factor for Samuel, who "has the deposit saved" and is ready to buy.

"I should be getting first home buyers grant too, which will assist in getting me on the [property] ladder. I was born in Coffs Harbour and my parents own a real estate agency there, Nolan Partners. I can see how much the market is booming, especially with holiday hotspots like Coffs, and it's a great lifestyle and place to settle… I'd be silly to not try and enter the market ASAP," Samuel shares.

"Ideally I plan to keep the property for six to nine months as a rental and then move in myself to do it up, renovate and then move onto the next project in two or three years. I would hold onto the property for at least five years to make a decent enough profit to grow a portfolio."

Samuel's tips for other first home buyers

  • Ask professionals for their support, guidance and recommendations. I'm lucky that my parents are in the industry so can advise me on what areas are hot and what are not.
  • Engaging with a mortgage broker who can assist with all the paperwork and your borrowing capacity will also help immensely.
  • Actively look at property trends; this has guided me with my decisions and helped me to understand that this is not a "get rich quick scheme", but rather it's about the long game.

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