That house I was interested in on the park near my place…

You may recall a week or so back I was somewhat interested in a place that was up for action – a townhouse facing onto a park near our place.

Finally found out what it sold for. AU$541,000. Which is… well, it’s a lot less than some places I’ve seen. That’s practically achievable… Although of course we’d have to wait for another one in that row of townhouses to be for sale!

There used to be an old saying about an income multiplier, a rule of thumb about buying a property. I think the rough guide about housing affordability was to multiply your yearly income. If the house was more than three times that number, it was beyond you. This rule has been completely shot by the way real estate has gone berserk in this city, but still, that place is about five times our combined annual income. Hmmmm… gears are whirring in my head… I still need a place to store my child!

Finally, a story of real estate past. In about 1972 or 1973, my parents bought a house in Hawthorn. For $5,000. If I could go back in time, I could put that house on my credit card. The scary part, thought, is that at the time my dad was making $3,000 a year… Something is broken in the housing economy these days…

A Sudden Interest in owning Real Estate

I’ve never been much interested in owning real estate. Well, except in the most abstract sense. I could just never see myself committing to owning anything that large. Although if I think about the amount of rent I’ve paid over the last… Well, must be twenty years since I moved out of home. Suffice to say, at lot of land lords have made a killing out of me over the years, and indeed still are.

D is more interested in this stuff than me. Partly because she works with the homeless, and can go into great detail about how bad things can possibly get. I tend to think she’s seeing the really rough end of the housing market – literally.

And also the price of houses in this town have gone feral over the last ten years or so. My occasional glances at real estate ads became even more occasional as property prices went from steep to exorbitant to positively obscene over the last decade. Seriously, who are the people who can afford these prices? There can’t be that many asset rich baby boomers out there!

But then, since Pip was born, my mind has suddenly focused on a whole raft of things I’ve not given much thought to before. One of them is real estate. Suddenly I need a place to store my child in the long term.

Reasonable town house

Reasonable town house

This place was up for auction today. I didn’t make it to the auction – Pip had other ideas – but I did go to an inspection a few weeks back. It was actually a really nice place, a well laid out town house with a garden, three bedrooms and so on. It’s literally maybe one hundred metres from our place, but the thing that excited me about it no end is that it fronts onto a park. It’s front door is literally in the local park, really close to the play ground there. It would be an ideal place to raise a kid – walk out the front door to the park, go on the slides, kick a ball.

No idea what price it sold for, or indeed if it sold, but they were quoting $550,000, which is real estate agent speak for $600,000.


Not going to happen in the next few years. I’m the sole earner in the house at the moment, and if this Pip thing works out we might have another in few years. Aside from winning the lottery or getting a really, really well paid job, these things will be out of reach for a while yet.