When the buying bug bites, a quick visit to one of the popular real estate websites is both enlightening and depressing. Even with about five years’ worth of savings, many people, like me, will find themselves priced out of the market.
But there are compromises that can make it easier. You can decide to look further out of the city than you intended. Or, you can consider starting out in a studio apartment.
Many people live in them as renters but, with a good deposit, the price of repaying a mortgage on a studio does not need to be significantly higher than rental cost.
With investors who bought studios to rent out at the peak of the property boom struggling to get a decent price, it’s a buyers’ market.
It’s definitely worth shopping around and, like any property purchase, working out how much you’ll need to spend post-settlement. A current bargain on domain.com.au is a 32 sq metre studio in a landmark art deco building on Darlinghurst Road, which seems a steal at $189,000, and looks big enough to actually live in. Buyers will probably need to spend an extra $10,000 on a new kitchen.
Would-be studio buyers/ renters also need to consider how they will feel living in a small space. Entertaining can be difficult, and furnishing and storage can also present problems. One solution that remains popular is a wall bed, a bed that can be folded into a vertical cupboard when not in use.
Wall beds can be custom made to fit in with other furniture, or used as a starting point for the whole apartment’s interior design. Without a full-sized bed in the room, 32 square metres will seem a lot more spacious. Building features like balconies, separate kitchens and good natural light will also make life more pleasant.
The majority of studio apartments are located in inner city areas, which can make up in some ways for the lack of internal space, if the resident is not reclusive.
Many residents consider their neighbourhoods extensions of their homes, utilising nearby caf?and restaurants as meeting places. Some studio apartment buildings have excellent communal facilities, from rooftop gardens and barbecues to swimming pools and gyms.
With a bit of planning and some good interior design, studio purchase can be an excellent decision for those who want to live in the inner city, without the crippling price tag.