Average age of buyers has dropped

By Chris Guy

THE average age of property buyers has been hovering around 38 years for the past decade.

An ING Direct study found the average age of customers who bought a property in Queensland between October last year and September this year was holding 37.8. Ten years ago the average age was 37.9, with the annual average hovering under 38.1 throughout the period.

Western Australia was the only other state to see a fall, going from 38.6 to 38.4, while New South Wales rose (from 38 in October 2005 to 38.2 this year), as well as Victoria (from 37 to 37.7), South Australia (from 37.5 to 37.8) and Tasmania (35.7 to 38.3).

The territories saw falls, with ACT seeing a drop over the decade from 37.6 to 36, while NT went from 38.9 to 39.6.

The data included both owner occupiers and those who bought investment properties over the decade.

Perhaps in a sign of the growing influence of property investors on the data and soaring property values pushing purchase timelines out further, the average age nationally has jumped from 34.7 in 2005 to 37.7 this year.

The average age had been falling all the way through to the onslaught of the global financial crisis, doing as low as 34.3 before starting to climb over the 2007/2008 period.

In Brisbane, 32-year-old Baillie Ferris is onto his third property, after entering the real estate market with the help of his father.

“I bought unit at Clayfield in 2006., I was 23 then. It was cheap at the time for about $270,000 and I did a bit of renovation on it and later sold it,” he said.

“I bought the cheapest property I could find. I was working as medical sales rep and saving as much as I could. I had ING savings and ended up spending most of that on the renovation. I was gainfully employed so that helped and my dad helped out on that one.”

His second property, in Chapel Hill, was bigger and one he went into with his brother.

“Chapel Hill in 2008, I’d work on that renovation whenever we had the money. We did a lot of painting and other things ourselves.

“Then just this year I’ve bought an old Queenslander and had it moved onto a site in Kenmore. We’re renovating and extending and it’s currently half built.”

Mr Ferris said they planned to sell the Chapel Hill property once the Queenslander was ready – some time in January next year.

His advice for novices was to use expert help where it was offered, in his case, his stepfather “was a bit handy so he gave me a few tips and tricks” for renovating.

“My advice would be to buy something well within your means and settle for less than would be ideal,” he said. “Just try to afford to pay that down before getting too adventurous.”

Mr Ferris said the hope was that the third property would become his “forever home”.

“It’s costing enough,” he said.

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