Original article by Charles Tan of kopiandproperty.com
This article was first published in Property Hunter magazine, February 2015 edition.
For the past few months, I have seen a few marketing promotions for properties in Perth here in Malaysia. Their advertisements could be seen online, in newspapers and some property fairs. I think for the past few years, when people talk about Australian properties, it would most probably be Melbourne or Sydney. These two are bigger and more vibrant cities as everyone would tell you. In November, I travelled to Perth. I have been to 18 countries thus far but have never been to Australia. So, what do I think of Perth as a city for potential property investment? Statistics are one thing but what about actual on the ground experience? Read on.
Family friendly. It’s really a friendly place for a family of old and very young. Google for Perth CBD, enlarge it and look at all the little parks and gardens that Perth has. Do note that I said Perth CBD because city centre is normally the place where there are least public spaces compared to suburbs. In Perth, these are available everywhere. My parents do not like huge shopping centres and they prefer natural surroundings where we can have a nice family picnic. My baby had lots of fun running here and there in a safe surrounding in some of these parks and gardens. It was truly a family friendly place to visit. All in all, we had two picnics and visited no less than 6 different parks and 3 different beaches. All clean and the public facilities, working.
Food diversity and of course, affordability. I estimated RM50 per pax per meal. This is around AUD$15 which is a normal price for one set of lunch. I spent much lesser. Not just because of the price but because of the diversity. From Chinese to Japanese to Vietnamese and of course the famous Fish and Chips, Perth seems to have everything. Including the very delicious Apple Strudel of Corica Pastries. All of us (whole family) enjoyed different meals every day and needless to say I rate their food diversity and affordability as better than my expectations. In the end it was just an average of AUD10 per meal per person. Mind you, the portions are bigger than our usual. No matter which country we go to, do you seriously want to eat the same type of food everyday? For food, in Perth, there’s no need to worry.
Convenience shop closes at 5pm. Oh dear, are we able to buy anything at all since everything closes at 5pm? No offense but I think this labeling is a little unfair because every evening, I was still able to buy stuffs at the supermarkets there. Yeah, its true that MANY are closed by 5pm but there are still many specific stores of the supermarket chains which are open till 9pm and for one nearby CBD, it’s open 24 hours. Just to name a few of the chains, they include Woolworth’s and IGA. Both offer attractive prices for some of their products and some of their dairy products are cheaper than Malaysia, after conversion. As for the eateries, there are still many which remain open even up till 9 including those in the neighbourhood of Belmont. Even the casino is easily accessible.
Property prices and the potential gains. Please note that foreign buyers are not allowed to buy secondary properties from the market in Australia and of course that includes Perth. However, we can buy new properties or newly redeveloped ones. In terms of the prices versus the quality in terms of location, size, convenience and environment, Perth is really pretty good even when compared to Malaysia. Not many of us can buy a home just within walking distance to a nice park with a garden or even water features for just AUD$400,000 or lower. In terms of capital appreciation, Perth remains to be a growing city and buying new properties would not be that easy because many of the more popular suburbs are already pretty mature and new units are not easy to come by. This is why when we buy a good one, the chance of it appreciating is definitely good. There is the potential for AUD$ to appreciate again since today it’s lower than their historical highs. Thus, potential for a further gain due to currency exchange. I have not changed back my AUD$ to RM because it has depreciated more than RM from the day I bought them. Sigh…
Services are expensive though. Yes, this one is not a myth. Your plumber will be charging you a number that would make you feel ‘dizzy’. So would your dentist and so would the electrician you called to your home. Australians love to DIY for a good reason. There are lots of huge DIY stores too and I think if you DIY, the overall cost savings would be huge. Thus, if you are thinking of staying for a longer term than usual, be prepared for this or you can prepare your funds too, to pay them. On second thought, if you intend to learn some new skills, why not think of this as an advantage too? Haha.
No thick smoke, no burning of rubbishes, clear water right beside the housing area. Perth is surrounded by water. Lots of water. I went to Mosman Park for a stroll and when I was taking pictures, I noticed that the water was clear. In fact very clear. This was right beside a restaurant and I told my wife and we were very impressed. I did not see a single vehicle spewing thick black smoke. There were also no rubbishes on the streets. Perhaps I have only passed good areas? I have no idea but when we look at this aspect, Perth is by far ahead of many of the cities I have visited thus far.
There are lots of other factors. Just go and experience it yourself. Perhaps Sydney and Melbourne would have all these that I have mentioned above. Perhaps they are more exciting. However, both of these are also further than Malaysia. Both of these cities have also been ‘hotter’ for many years where properties are concerned. If you do think that some of the reasons stated above are valid, it’s time to take a look at Perth. Properties are not just about where everyone is buying or where everyone said we should buy. It should also be where we have been and we feel good with it. If one whole family of different ages, background and even occupations can all agree that Perth is worth another visit soon, I think there’s something right about it. Happy visiting or considering.
Charles Tan is the writer of popular Malaysian independent property blog kopiandproperty.com. His site averages over 1,000 visitors per day, and is updated daily with his thoughts and perspectives of current property investment issues from 12 years of experience. His articles have been published in New Straits Times, Property Insight, Property Hunter and other property related magazines as well as property fair publications, developer magazines and various property websites.