Finance Property House prices: what you can afford to buy overseas

House prices: what you can afford to buy overseas

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If you own a house the chances are you just got thousands of dollars richer.

In the last three months of 2014, the average Australian home increased in value by $10,900 – or 1.9 per cent – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The value of the average Australian home now stands at $570,000.

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If you’re from Sydney, your house is probably worth even more than that. On average, house prices in the Harbour City increased by 3.4 per cent over the last quarter of 2014, and by 12.3 per cent over the year, twice the national average.

Brisbane properties, meanwhile, grew by 1.4 per cent over the quarter, Melbourne by 1.3 per cent, and Perth by one per cent. Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra were all under the one per cent mark, while in Hobart prices decreased by 0.6 per cent.

Overall, house price growth was actually considerably slower than the same time a year earlier, when the average house increased in price by 3.4 per cent. This suggests the heady boom times of the past few years may be over.

However, with all banks announcing cuts to their mortgage rates last week, the scene is potentially set for a pick-up in demand, and hence a return to strong gains in home values.

How does this compare to the rest of the world?

While that’s good news for home owners, it’s further bad news for people hoping to buy a house.

Last year, the Australian housing market was the second most expensive in the world, according to the Bank of International Settlements. Norway was the most expensive, while Great Britain and Sweden came in close behind.

This means that from a global perspective the average Aussie home owner is sitting on some serious wealth – or a large mortgage.

So what could that average value of $570,000 get you overseas? We had a look at properties in some weird and wonderful locations around the world.

 A studio apartment in Paris, France
€335,000 ($486,000)

There isn’t much glamour to living in the very centre of Paris unless you have seriously deep pockets.

There are two romantic visions of Paris: that of the chic, Chanel-wearing socialite, and that of the struggling artist. Unfortunately, with $500k to spend, you’re going to be living like a struggling artist in this decidedly modest bedsit. Still, you’ll be right in the centre of Paris, and the Seine is five minutes away.

 One-bed apartment, Upper East Side of Manhattan, NYC
$US450,000 ($577,000)

One bedroom
You can get a surprisingly good deal even in the swankiest parts of NYC.

If you want to live in the centre of New York City, you’ll get a bit more bang for your buck than you will in Paris. And you won’t have to sleep in the same room as your fridge in this one-bedroom apartment.

 Two-bed flat in London’s gritty-but-trendy East End
£285,000 ($556,000)

Forget red phone boxes and warm beer: nothing is more English than a council flat.

London is a notoriously expensive city in every respect, not least when it comes to property. But if you don’t mind living in a 1960s-style housing commission block, or tripping over the occasional hipster/banker (they’re increasingly hard to tell apart in this area of London), then a two-bedroom flat near Brick Lane in the post-trendy inner East End is within your reach.

Dingy two-bed unit, two mins from Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro
BRL 1,100,000  ($509,000)

Don’t expect much luxury in Rio de Janeiro’s most sought after locations.

If you want to live like a king on an average Aussie budget, then Latin America has plenty to offer. A six-bedroom B&B in rural Venezuela, for example, is yours if you want it. However, if you want to live two minutes from Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, you’re going to feel distinctly average in this dingy two-bedroom flat. Still, a similar apartment two minutes from Bondi Beach would probably cost you a lot more. And let’s face it, it wouldn’t be as fun.

A compact two-bedroom apartment in Shanghai, China
¥2,800,000 ($574,000)

Shanghai living
Shanghai living doesn’t leave much room for stretching out.

Space is at a premium in this city of 24 million people. So the chances are your Aussie dollars won’t get you any more space in Shanghai than they would in Manhattan. There’s barely room to swing a cat in this two-bedroom apartment.

Three-bedroom beachside villa in Corfu, Greece
€389,000 ($565,000)

Corfu – a good choice if you like lying down a lot.

It’s time to get luxurious. Thanks to Greece’s economic woes, now might be a good time to snap up a bargain on one of the country’s idyllic islands.

 Luxury three-bed beachside villa in Phuket, Thailand
B12,500,000 (AU$492,000)

Luxury in Phuket
Luxury in Phuket.

For less than the price of the average suburban Aussie home you could afford this luxurious three-bedroom house, with pool and jacuzzi included, in Thailand’s beach paradise island, Phuket. This one probably hits the sweet spot between location and size.

 Eight-bed mansion in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
US$400,000 (AU$513,000)

Phnom Penh
Live like a duke in Phnom Penh.

But if size is all that matters to you, then an eight-bedroom mansion in the opulent suburbs of Phnom Penh is the hands-down winner.

Four-bed house with backyard in Campbelltown, NSW

Four bedroom Campbelltown home.
Four-bedroom Campbelltown home.

And finally, the editor’s pick: a four-bedroom house and backyard in true blue Campbelltown, NSW. The statistics say this is the average Aussie home.

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