$500K in Melbourne - where would you buy? (Needs to be west)

Hello everyone,

I've always found the information here useful and was hoping for some assistance and advice in regards to our situation.

We have about $500K max budget to buy a house in Melbourne's west. We have been looking around West Footscray, Maidstone, Keilor East, Glenroy, the reason being that we are from here and all our friends and family are here so we'd like to remain close.

From an investment perspective we already have a property in Footscray and love the area but our budget isn't looking like it will buy much nowadays.

The other problem is schooling - we have a toddler and another baby on the way and would like somewhere with access to good education facilities (hence looking at the Keilor East area.)

It needs to be a detached dwelling with a decent sized yard, 3 bedrooms and decent living area - it may just not be a great time now before Christmas as we aren't having much luck in finding the one.

The other thing to note is whilst this will become our PPOR and we aim to keep it for some time, I'd still like it to be in an area that will see growth.

Where would you buy in our situation?

Thanks in advance!
 
If I were to live in this area with max $500k to spend, I will personally pick Avondale Heights. Quite a nice area and the primary school is pretty good. Public transport is not that good though depending on where you need to travel to for work.
 
Thanks chrispy - Niddrie would be perfect and that house is lovely but about the size of what we are in now so we really need a 3 bedroom place with room to move!

Aaron_C - that may be the case but there's west and then there's west. The areas we are hoping to move in to don't have much under the $500K mark.

The Y-man - thanks for the link. Gladstone Park has popped up for me a few times especially as I searched around the Airport West area however we did used to live in Tullamarine and whilst we did make a profit on the home when we sold, house prices have moved very slowly in the area. Now that we live so much closer to the CBD the thought of going back so far is not ideal.

I should note, that whilst I know $500K may get us a mini-mansion in Taylors Hill and the like, I'm not keen on anything that is past the calder freeway (the traffic is horrendous!!)

Willfong - yes we have been looking at Avondale Heights, lovely area, just haven't seen the right thing come up yet and median prices are around the $520K mark. Close proximity to public transport would be preferred but that doesn't leave much in our budget range - other than Glenroy from what I'm seeing.
 
Cazza it sounds like you know where you want to live and you understand the areas around you as well. So it seems that the problem here isn't "where to buy" but rather your expectations for both accommodation and location are out of line with the market.

If you're primarily location focused and need a 3br in a certain school zone, but you can't afford a place that you "like" then guess what?
You're going to have to choose to compromise on the quality of the accommodation to achieve what you "need".

If you're primarily accommodation focused (which doesn't sound like the case) then you're going to have to choose to move further out until you can afford the interior that you desire.

$550,000 will get you a moderately well kept 2BR cottage in West Footscray... OR it'd get you a renovated 4BR in Sunshine West.

Now I'm not saying that you can't have it all. There is a better way of approaching it though.

Sit down and really think about your minimum requirements and then work to achieve those first. Then when you've got those properties/areas shortlisted pick the best of the bunch.

It's easier working from low expectations upwards than high expectations downwards.
 
Thanks so much Jake, yes we have been studying the market for a while now and have our wish list of areas we want to live. You are right, location (and budget) are both equally important to us. I don't mind having to do the dirty work to fix a place up but ideally I'd like the foundations to be there for us to make it a true family home in an area that will see good growth.
 
Thanks Cazza :)

If you're buying a PPOR it is my personal belief that you should focus on making the property fit your life. If you buy in an area with good growth that's a bonus.

If you're committed to buying your home as an investment to afford something bigger and better in the future then I'd suggest purchasing solely for growth. There is plenty of advice in other threads about how to find good growth areas.

Additionally, please understand that there's a natural dichotomy when buying a home and looking for ROI as well. Most people will lean toward the left, or emotional side which can lead to poor investment decisions.

The investment result though is somewhat arbitrary. The best place to live is often the worst place to invest but what does it matter?? ...We should invest to live... Not live to invest. Having happiness is far more important than having money. So find somewhere that will make you happy and if there's growth or room to improve the property that's excellent.
 
Thanks Jake, that's great advice and I suppose we are trying to have it all and don't want to sacrifice location for the perfect home and vice versa. You are right, I'd rather be happy about where I live then worry about it making money for us.

Here's hoping we find the right property soon! Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 
For investment I would consider:

Altona Meadows, north of Central Ave/Queen St

Maidstone

Albion

Altona North

Unit in Newport or Williamstown

Glenroy or Hadfield (actually north not west)

As for Schooling in the West.

This is my current dilemma, I have a young one starting school in 2015.

I will not send her to any of the public schools near me. The private schools are pretty average bar Westbourne Grammar and PEGS, but both those are full (cost is not an object).

The best public primary schools I have found are
Strathmore, Ascot Vale Central, possibly Keilor (none of them zoned).

I am looking to move to the East, Camberwell/Hawthorn just for the primary schools, unfortunately my expenses will rise by around $15k pa in doing this and my efficiency will drop by an hour a day extra commuting..

Use the myschoools.edu dot au website if schools are a major consideration.
 
As for Schooling in the West.

This is my current dilemma, I have a young one starting school in 2015.

I will not send her to any of the public schools near me. The private schools are pretty average bar Westbourne Grammar and PEGS, but both those are full (cost is not an object).

The best public primary schools I have found are
Strathmore, Ascot Vale Central, possibly Keilor (none of them zoned).

I am looking to move to the East, Camberwell/Hawthorn just for the primary schools, unfortunately my expenses will rise by around $15k pa in doing this and my efficiency will drop by an hour a day extra commuting..

Use the myschoools.edu dot au website if schools are a major consideration.

Moving to the eastern suburbs for primary seems a bit extreme. Especially if you will have an hour less with your child and its going to cost 15k. There are plenty of very good primary schools in the west who turn out absolutely fantastic kids. Have you done any tours?

You will have the biggest impact on your child's values and interest in learning. Spend that hour reading to them/with them, talking about their day, helping with projects and spend the 15k on a tutor, music lessons and trips that will expand their horizons.

Having said all that, I agree with you about moving for high school if necessary. Purchasing a peer group is worth it at that level.
 
I am looking to move to the East, Camberwell/Hawthorn just for the primary schools, unfortunately my expenses will rise by around $15k pa in doing this and my efficiency will drop by an hour a day extra commuting..

Use the myschoools.edu dot au website if schools are a major consideration.

I think you may want to reconsider your target suburbs in the east or you may have to move again come secondary schools unless the kiddos are going to private schools for secondary. Camberwell is good for both but Hawthorn is pretty ordinary for secondary (thanks to the many private schools nearby). Median VCE score for Hawthorn secondary in 2012 was 28 and Swinburne secondary was 27, worse than many high schools in the west.
 
There are plenty of very good primary schools in the west who turn out absolutely fantastic kids. Have you done any tours?

.

I care not for tours and spin in my initial filtering.

All I care about are results.

I know there are many schools out west with good teachers, it is just the cattle on the paddock and thus the level at which the teacher has to pitch the classes.

For example the school opposite me has 1% in the top 25%, whereas the ones in Camberwell/Hawthorn have 75% plus in the top 25%. It is also the a matter of the kids she associates with, their grammar and mindset, which I hate to say is different out West to out East and not a difference I find positive.

However I am looking more to the better areas of the west as a compromise. I have a personal belief that in general the better the house price the better the public schools.

As for Secondary, well there is Canterbury Girls High School which is pretty decent if you are in the zone, however I am intending to put here into a good private school for secondary, most are in the East (except Pegs).
 
Property in Glenroy

Hi Cazza, I have a property in Glenroy (3 X 1) that I am looking to sell in the near future. It's near the lawn bowls club, tennis courts, milk bar, fish and chips shop and next to a big beautiful reserve called the ATC Cook reserve where cricket and footy practice is played. There is also a children's playground, barbecue and exercise equipment in the reserve.

My property has a large lounge, 3 bedrooms and a sunroom with French/sliding doors that lead to a jarrah deck that overlooks the backyard.

Oh yes, I have polished floors for the lounge and 2 rooms. The kitchen, sunroom and 3rd bedroom has bamboo flooring installed 2 years ago. There's a garage shed and a garden shed. The size of the land is 629 m.

The backyard is a mix of green grass and concrete. Loquat tree (sweet fruit), liquid amber tree whose leaves turn beautiful red in autumn, bird of paradise, Chinese lanterns, even short fir trees and 50 year old tree ferns, ha ha!

Front yard has hibiscus bushes with different coloured hibiscus, white, pink and deep red, red bottle brush and green hedges.

PM me if you're interested.

best regards,
Beanie Girl
 
However I am looking more to the better areas of the west as a compromise. I have a personal belief that in general the better the house price the better the public schools.

But areas like the City of Stonnington have only one public school within the entire municipality...
 
I care not for tours and spin in my initial filtering.

All I care about are results.

I know there are many schools out west with good teachers, it is just the cattle on the paddock and thus the level at which the teacher has to pitch the classes.

For example the school opposite me has 1% in the top 25%, whereas the ones in Camberwell/Hawthorn have 75% plus in the top 25%. It is also the a matter of the kids she associates with, their grammar and mindset, which I hate to say is different out West to out East and not a difference I find positive.

However I am looking more to the better areas of the west as a compromise. I have a personal belief that in general the better the house price the better the public schools.

As for Secondary, well there is Canterbury Girls High School which is pretty decent if you are in the zone, however I am intending to put here into a good private school for secondary, most are in the East (except Pegs).

I understand where you are coming from, but I think you have overestimated the influence of peers and teachers at the primary level. These kids have good grammar because that's how their parent speak. They are good readers because their parents have read to them regularly from a young age. They are good at maths because their parents taught them basic numeracy when they were still in a stroller.

The stats I think you have referred to indicate the socio-economic profile of the school. So you have identified that primary schools in the eastern suburbs have wealthier parents. My argument is that those schools score so highly because that type of parent also generally provides support and encouragement at home (which you can too from the west).

Those kids would probably score the same if they happened to live in the west. What you need to look for is a school that adds value to whatever the parents have given them. So I do that by comparing the school to 'similar' schools (there is lots of debate about how that data is selected).

I had a quick look at sunshine heights (2% top socio-econ quarter) and auburn south in hawthorn (80% top socio-econ quarter) and I think I prefer sunshines value added. I wouldn't worry about the teacher being able to differentiate for bright students, incredibly bright students come from poor backgrounds every year so any decent teacher should be able to meet different needs.

Again, this all changes in high school as the peer group has increasingly more influence than parents.
 
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I have a personal belief that in general the better the house price the better the public schools.

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That only holds true in labor/green suburbs. Try looking for the awesome gov high school in toorak.

You need to find affluent labor/greens areas for great public high schools, eg: willie high, strathmore, northcote, princes hill, uni high, Albert park etc etc....
 
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