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Owning VS Renting: Houses, Cars, Appliances..... (long sorry :))

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 

I am questioning the true validity that if you own something you are actually better off. I have made the commitment to live debt-free so that colours where I am coming from too...

 

I mean if you own your own home, most people can not afford to buy without a mortgage. If you use one of those mortgage calculators it will show you how many tens of thousands of dollars (Usually HUNDREDS of thousands yikes.gif) you will pay in interest over the course of the loan. I just did one based on a $100,000 home loan (not that you can buy ANYTHING that cheap in Australia, except a tin shack in the middle of the bush LOL). Even if you paid it off in a few years, you would still accrue thousands in interest. Most people here are doing 60 year mortgages as its all they can 'afford' to actually pay. But on a standard length mortgage (30 years here) you would pay over $159,000 interest on a property of that value!!!! This is just an example. I can't imagine the interest incurred for a loan to buy a regular house $300,000-$500,000 minimum where I live.

 

Ideally someone would be able to save the entire cost of the house before buying- I know personally I will never buy unless I can manage just that. But I also know I will most likely never buy because of this. And how long would it take to save the entirety of a whole house?? Probably the same length of time as the mortgage. Then you add in the astronomical costs of owning a house: rates, water, electricity, maintenance, repairs, gardening, gas etc etc etc. And I wonder why people think that owning a home is a form of financial security and is somehow cheaper?! Maybe in our grandparents day when 'owning a home' meant you ACTUALLY owned it, outright. I think its actually cheaper to rent forever and then at least you have the flexibility to live where you want and the landlord has the bills for fixing things that go wrong in the property. I used to think renting was 'throwing money down the drain', but actually owning a home seems much more of a waste of funds than renting to me now. Since its so much more expensive and you wont actually own it truly until you are elderly or very close to it. 

 

Then there's cars- arghhh. Add in all the costs, licenses, fuel, insurance, registration for the vehicle, the initial cost of the vehicle, loan interest if you took a loan, repairs and general upkeep, tyres, Im sure Im forgetting some....

 

I need a new car at the moment. But when I added up the costs of just the rego and fuel alone it was a minimum of around $100 a month. That is not including any of the other costs associated. Say if you buy a $5000 car and it last you 5 years, that's another $80+ a month. There are car rental places here where the price is $25 a day, I'm sure if you shopped around you could find better. It would actually work out a lot cheaper to just rent a car once a fortnight and get whatever you need done on that day. Taxis are expensive but not as expensive as the costs to own your own- unless you were using them all day long. Obviously if you live very rurally this is not an option.

 

I was very reluctant to buy my first car and waited til I was pretty old compared to most before finally doing so. I can't count the thousands of dollars poured down the drain so far- and still no cars to show for it. Rentals/taxis are a lot more reliable than the used cars I've had and cost way less- and hey at least their air con works lol.gif So I'm actually considering just staying car free doing a combination of living near our needs, public transport, and using a taxi whenever its needed. Still is working out WAYYYYY cheaper when I do the math. Like thousands a year cheaper. 

 

Then there's appliances....I don't even know where to start. They are built to die and they all burn out on me so fast- even though I take incredibly good care of things I own. Planned obsolescence I guess irked.gif If laundromats weren't so impractical, even at $4 a load I would still come out cheaper than what the washing machine costs to buy vs. how long it lasts (not including the added costs for gas, water & electricity). Plus there are appliance rental companies here where you can rent all household items at a very cheap weekly rate and at the end of the term you have the option to upgrade or keep it. And they are responsible for replacing any ones which break on you. 

 

I'm sure I've forgotten some of the things I wanted to say, but this is already too long..... 

 

So I guess I'm not asking something specific, just wanting to start a dialogue and hear others thoughts on renting VS owning things. Because I feel like 'ownership' is not the financial relief/stability that it is touted to be!

post #2 of 85

In most cases, owning is going to work out to be financially better.

 

In the case of a house, the one thing that I don't see noted, is that fact that a majority of homes, over time, DO increase in value.  My home is currently worth approx $170k.  We paid $160k for it.  If we were to sell it now, after the loan was paid, we would walk away with additional money.  Utilities like water, electric, we had to pay in our apartment anyway, though they vary based on the apartment.  Repairs and maintainence, I know we haven't put more into that than what the house has increased.  I do realize that not all homes will increase in value, but in general, over time, most houses do go up in value.  Not to mention that you can things you want to/with the house-you want to put in a window in a room that doesn't have one, go for it.  You want to paint your master bedroom blue with green wallpaper strips, go for it.  Can't do those things with a rental.

 

Cars, well those totally are usually money pits.  Buying a new car, especially with a loan, thats usually wasting money.  Cars go down in value, fast.  But, if you buy used, keep it well maintained, and can do basic maintainence, like oil changes, on your own, it could still work out to be better than no car at all.  And where you live is a BIG factor in this.  Where I live, walking isn't an option for most things, and there's no busses or other public transport.  And, taxis can be EXPENSIVE here.  But again, maintainence is the big key here, learning to do the basics yourself, and then finding a good and inexpensive mechanic for the stuff you can't learn is a big part of whether or not owning a car can work out better.

 

Appliances, again, maintainence is key.  If you can learn to do some basic repairs yourself, that's going to be so much better.  Plus, I have never heard of those appliance rental places you mentioned.  The only appliance rental I have ever heard of is a rent to own type of deal and THOSE are total money pits.

 

 

post #3 of 85

I think that for houses, the assumption has always been that they would increase in value and therefore are a hedge against inflation.  Recent market collapses have proved that to be an incorrect assumption.  At this point, it is probably worth considering this on a case by case basis -- and I feel that you have to include the flexibility of renting in the equation.  If all of the jobs in your area suddenly vanish, a renter can just up and follow the market while a homeowner  could have a tremendous loss.  Also, since most people only need a larger size house for a few years while their children are growing, that should be considered as well.  If your house is partly so you store your possessions, then a rental storage unit and a very small apartment could reasonably be a cheaper alternative.  (Of course, you could get rid of the stuff as well).

 

If you can live without owning a car and just rent (or even borrow) one when you need it, that would absolutely save you tons of money.  One thing to consider when you are looking for a place to live.  For some people, owning a very cheap, small car might serve their purposes most of the time and they could occasionally rent a larger vehicle, say for a vacation or when they need to move something large.  I currently own a small car that might not work for camping or a long drive.  But it saves me $ daily because of good gas mileage.  I always figure I can rent a mini-van the couple of times a year I might need it.

 

As far as appliances go, most people do not consider the price of the original purchase in their thoughts.  It is just considered something everyone has.  But as for a washing machine, you could purchase one used at a fraction of the cost, or even buy a little plunger to agitate your clothes and wash by hand.  A cheap clothes line or rack eliminates the need for a dryer completely.  In the US, for the most part renting such things by the week would end up costing more in the end.  There are, however, some tools used only occasionally that can be rented when needed at great savings. 

 

I think you have moved outside of the box in your thinking and that is always a good thing!

 

 

post #4 of 85

I think there's a level of security from ownership that can't be measured in dollars...esp. home ownership. No one can foreclose on you, no one can up the rent, or decide to sell, or in a real life case I heard the other day let the rental go into foreclosure on the tenants.

 

If you have an unexpected job loss/medical expense/death/tragedy you never have to worry about paying the rent or mortgage. Maybe you can't keep up with maintenance, but there's still a roof over your heads.

 

The other benefit is at some point, aren't you going to retire? You will have to draw down that much more of your retirement money to cover your rents and leases. Lugging laundry at 70 is definitely now where I want to be. (I'm 40 and I don't want to lug laundry anywhere! LOL).

post #5 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post
In the case of a house, the one thing that I don't see noted, is that fact that a majority of homes, over time, DO increase in value.  My home is currently worth approx $170k.  We paid $160k for it.  If we were to sell it now, after the loan was paid, we would walk away with additional money.  

 

 

See this is what I don't get- how many years would it take to increase in that 10K? How much interest would you have paid on the mortgage by then? What about the fees to sell the home- I'm not expert, but I would assume there are listing fees, realtor fees and some kind of government taxes? Here its called stamp duty and can be very high. Unless you bought the home outright I don't understand how you are coming out ahead? Even if you don't renovate/remodel or need to repair the home I'm sure there are plenty of general upkeep costs and small things which need fixing just by it being lived in.
 

 

post #6 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post

I think there's a level of security from ownership that can't be measured in dollars...esp. home ownership. No one can foreclose on you, no one can up the rent, or decide to sell, or in a real life case I heard the other day let the rental go into foreclosure on the tenants.

 

But isn't losing homes a huge problem over there at the moment? I thought people were having their houses taken away every day because they can't pay their mortgages in the bad economy. How is owning, say $30 on a $180,000 property 'security'? Cant mortgage rates inflate at any time? I'm genuinely asking these things, as I have never owned before. 

 

If you have an unexpected job loss/medical expense/death/tragedy you never have to worry about paying the rent or mortgage. Maybe you can't keep up with maintenance, but there's still a roof over your heads.

 

How so? Or are you talking about when people own their houses outright? Cause that is just not happening where I live. *Minimum* house price is $300,000. People are taking out 60 year mortgages so they can afford the repayments to 'own' their own place. I guess I am asking about situations where it will take several decades for the owners to actually pay off the home. Obviously if you can afford to buy the home outright then it is a better option to renting. But I don't think most average families have that kind of cash in hand. 

 



 

post #7 of 85

I can honestly say we would be better off to have rented verses home purchase. We do not have the skills, time, or money to put into this house. We would be better off being renters. Even if we paid more a month on rent, not having to worry about the cost of replacing the roof, water heater, toilet, et would be better for us. We bought our house at 63000, appraised at 65000 to have it go up to valued at 124000 within 10 years and now appraised at 90000 -- thanks to the housing market bubble. This increased valued increased our taxes and insurance. So our manageable fixed rate mortgage payment of 550 went up 800.

 

Car rental is not always that cheap. Try looking that rate during the holiday season. Plus you have to add coverage which can double the cost of the rental. Cars do depend on were you live. Some areas it does not make sense to have one, others is a necessity.

 

 

Owning a washer is cheaper than going to a laundry mat...but as for the drier, I would love to be able to line dry but I legally cannot put one in my yard (grr!!) and having one in my basement does not work. There is no air circulation to dry, adds unwanted moisture, and the fan plus de-humidfier running 24/7 can cost more than using a drier (plus in the winter the drier warms the basement lowering heating cost). I bought my washer 12 years ago for about $300. In that time I have had 2 dries. One drier caught on fire do to bad home electrical wiring - that experience in the end saved us a lot of money because we fixed the issues and didn't have our home burned down. The second one was real cheap. It broke but I fixed it for about $90.

 

In 10 years we did have to buy 2 stoves.  We were hit by lighting and for some reason that was the only thing that didn't survive.  If we did not own it we would have still had to pay for it.  Rental agency don't replace for this type of damage.  

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 85

I have never heard of a 60 year mortgage!  That's crazy.


I think the house ideal is from a time when you bought right away, say age 20-25, paid it off in 25-30 years and then had the rest of your life to live without a payment.  Now, so many people wait longer to buy and move often so that just isn't reality.  Still, over time I think purchasing can make a lot of financial sense.  You can write off the interest and your house should increase in value over time.  It all depends on how long you stay there.

 

Appliances.  GRRR.  I think a lot of them are throw aways now.  They just aren't worth fixing.  Some are but you have to spend so much upfront that you have to wonder if it is truly worth it.  We have really good appliances but last year we paid about $600 on a fridge repair.  Granted, it is 15 years old and the guy said it should last another 10 but still.  My microwave is dying and will cost $400 to repair.  New it is $800.  Not worth fixing.  But really, there's no appliance rental option that makes financial sense unless you are speaking in terms of renting vs buying a home.  And I think over the life of an appliance a washer/dryer is always going to be cheaper than trips to a coin laundry.

 

Cars.  On ours maintenance is free for...I dunno, a while.  4 years?  Something like that.  But the amount we paid for them upfront will never be justified.  Ever.  Leasing can be a great option if you can write it off.  We can so DH's car is always going to be a lease.  Mine will always be a purchase because we can write a portion of that off as well.

post #9 of 85

We're some of the ones that got caught in the housing bubble.  We bought at $185, at the peak.  Nicer houses than mine are going in the $90,000 range right now.  That is a HUGE hit, and really, how long will it take to get the value back???  For. ever.  At least it seems that way, and realistically, probably 15 or more years.  I wish we had rented instead of buying.  Next time (if there is a next time) will be very different. 

 

But, for appliances, some of it seems to work itself out.  My washer was about $300 (near bottom of the line, bought new) when we bought it 9 years ago.   I've had to fix one $30 part over the years.  I LOVE having a washer in my house, and that sucker has paid for itself over and over compared to laundromat prices.  I haven't done the math on other purchases, but I do like some of my other appliances, and I'd be hard pressed to do without them (dryer, dishwasher, stove, microwave).  And, we aren't in a position to have top of the line stuff, either, so that factors in.  Our fridge came with our house 5+ years ago.  It's not new or fancy, but it gets the job done.  I'd say it's one of the $500 types.  My freezer is 8 years old.  Again, probably $150 new.  And, I've more than saved that back with buying food on sale, plus preparing ahead when my babies were born (saving us takeout bills).  So, it all works out. 

 

Maybe if you were a $5000 fridge type of person then owning wouldn't make financial sense.  But, I dare say, if you want a $5000 fridge, you're not going to be satisfied by renting it.  You're going to want to own it. 

post #10 of 85

After owning and losing a home, I'm happy to rent forever until we save up enough to buy a house outright. We were in a situation where we had to move out of state for work and couldn't afford to pay the mortgage on the house we "owned" and our rent here at the same time.

 

With cars, we do save up and buy them outright. For our family, with where we live and my job, I feel like having a car is a need.

post #11 of 85

Although I agree that there is a niceness factor that can't be measured in dollars when you own a home, strictly speaking money it's usually cheaper NOT to own.

Sure, if you buy a home without a mortgage in an area where property taxes are low it can be cheaper but how many people can do that?

 

I know people who pay more in property taxes annually than my annual rent on a house. Seriously, I would have never thought that possible but I swear it's true and it's not that my rent is low or anything. Not having a mortgage does not mean you have no payments anymore. In the US anyway ... you still need to pay property taxes, sewer and trash, possibly HOA fees, etc. All of that comes to a lot more than it seems. Sometimes more than rent would be. So, when you ADD the mortgage payment along with all those things you are usually paying a lot more than someone renting. IDK if that makes sense .. it's still kind of early ... lol.

 

Also, I just googled quickly the situation a pp mentioned about making 10k on a home going up in value. Say you sell that home after 5 years and make your 10k. If you are on a regular 30 year mortgage on say a 200k home you have paid a whopping 58k in interest at that point. It may seem like you've made 10k but you've really lost 48k. I know people make the argument that you can sell the home at the end of the 30 years and get all that money back but I don't think that's true either. Even if you sell the home for double what you paid for it, you have paid that much in interest over the years so you are really just breaking even. And again you are breaking even just on the home price and mortgage, when you factor in all those years that you paid for taxes and a new roof and new appliance and fixed the floors, etc. you've paid a lot more than the renter who had none of those expenses.

 

Of course there's exceptions to every situation and I'm in no way a financial expert but that's how I see it. Honestly, I don't think either way is right or wrong. IMO, this is one of those things where each individuals situation really determines if it's worth it or not regardless of whether they are making the best financial choice. I know some people who wouldn't be able to sleep at night if they didn't have a house and others who could literally care less and enjoy the freedom that renting provides. 

 

As far as cars and such I think it also depends on the situation. When I lived in a big city, I would never have thought of owning a car. I walked or took public transit and I was THRILLED about it. I pitied all those people who spent a half hour driving around the block over and over to find a parking space only to get a ticket in the morning for parking in this or that zone or it was alternate side of the street parking day, etc. There is no way you could convince me that it's cheaper to own a car in the city than to use public transit. However, where I am now, there is NO way I could go without a car. Nothing is in walking distance, there is no public transit. It's certainly cheaper to own a car here. The only other way to get around would be cabs and they cost sooooooo much here because there's so little demand. 

 

post #12 of 85

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

How so? Or are you talking about when people own their houses outright? Cause that is just not happening where I live. *Minimum* house price is $300,000. People are taking out 60 year mortgages so they can afford the repayments to 'own' their own place.

I would say where you live is experiencing a housing bubble. If housing prices there are significantly higher than the historical norm (as they were in the US during our housing bubble), it's definitely a housing bubble. Taking out a loan for 60 years to buy a house is NOT normal. It does not make sense to buy a house in a housing bubble---you're much better off renting. We finally bought our first house because, as my husband put it, "Ben Bernake forced us to" by starting QE2. Interest rates on mortgages started going up and we became quite concerned that nominal housing prices had hit bottom and were only set to increase along with interest rates.

Are we paying more than we did while renting? Yes, but we also have LAND that we can do stuff with, like grow food. We couldn't do that in our apartment-- our balcony didn't get enough light. We also don't have to deal with shady neighbors and if we don't like something in our house, we can change it. We don't have to deal with maintenance coming in and turning up our heat or changing out all of our lightbulbs to energy efficient ones (even though we already had energy efficient ones installed...). Even though we have a mortgage, it's still OURS and we don't have to ask permission to paint a wall a different color.

 

Appliances are the same thing. We used the washing machines in our building and they SUCKED. They had no special washing options. I could pick Hot, normal, permanent press, and cold. Hot took 34 min, the middle two 32 and cold 28 min and they didn't do a very good job getting things cleaned. Cloth diapering was very difficult, especially since most people used fabric softener and we even had some people who thought those dryer static removal things went in washers. I LOVE having my own washer where I can set all sorts of different settings, I know what I put in it and I don't have to worry about someone else leaving lipstick in there or something like that.

 

Car ownership...you can do it cheaply. We drove an old beater I bought for $3000 in college for 5 years before buying a more reliable car with a loan last year. We only have one car and we save a lot of money that way. The few times I've had to use a taxi (when our old beater was in the shop, for example) it was VERY expensive...over $20 to get me back from the mechanics and the drive wasn't that far. I  can't see how that could be cheaper than owning a car in the long run. Plus, there is again the independence factor. You have the car there when you need it and it's yours...you can change whatever you want about it (hey, lots of people love tinkering with cars!)

post #13 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan View Post



See this is what I don't get- how many years would it take to increase in that 10K? How much interest would you have paid on the mortgage by then? What about the fees to sell the home- I'm not expert, but I would assume there are listing fees, realtor fees and some kind of government taxes? Here its called stamp duty and can be very high. Unless you bought the home outright I don't understand how you are coming out ahead? Even if you don't renovate/remodel or need to repair the home I'm sure there are plenty of general upkeep costs and small things which need fixing just by it being lived in.
 

 

How many years it takes really just depends on the area, the house and the market.  Houses are like the stock market as far as how it works as an asset.  Sometimes the value goes up, sometimes it goes down, and the speed at which it does these things changes all the time.  However, over time, in most cases, the value of the asset will increase How much interest?  I dunno, I haven't calculated it.  And that also varies, depending on the interest rate of the mortgage.  It also depends on how fast a person is paying it off.  The more principle you pay with each payment, the less interest you pay.  Selling the home, again, the fees are really individual.  This is the only home I own, and unless DH gets a job in another state, it's probably the only home we will ever own. So I can't really answer selling questions, but I am pretty sure that the buyer pays a lot of the fees.  Government taxes, I don't know that there are any on the SALE of a home, other than perhaps sales tax?  Unless you are selling within like 2 yrs, then you might pay a capital gains tax on the increased value.

 

General fixing...depends on how hard you use your house lol.  We DID have to just replace our roof, but our insurance covered that.  And yes, homeowners insurances is another expense, but you pay renters insurance in a rental.  Other repairs, I can't think that there have been that many...we put in a fence, which was expensive, but it's certainly not a requirement to owning a house, it is one of those perks that you CAN do because you want to, that you can't do in a rental.  We haven't had to replace walls or plumbing...oh, we had to replace the garbage disposal, that was probably $200.  And put in a garage door opener, but like the fence, that's optional.  (course, so is a garbage disposal.)  We have had the furnace cleaned and tuned up, that was probably a couple hundred.  Maybe lawnmowing costs?  For the gas for the lawn mower?

post #14 of 85

As far as houses, I think it makes a HUGE difference where you are and what your family's situation is.  I feel owning makes sense for us, in our location and situation, but I think for a lot of people it doesn't.  We were also able to put 20% down and have a 15 year low-interest fixed mortgage which saves us a LOT on interest. Houses are cheap here and DP makes a decent income.  It's still expensive with property taxes & such though.


Cars - I think are even more location dependent.  DP works in the middle of nowhere.  There are literally no houses within walking distance of her work.  To take a taxi every day to work would cost us about $900/month.  There are no carpooling opportunities.  Owning a car totally makes sense here if you have a job. We currently own one, but may get a second at some point in the future.  I consider the second car a luxury (because I don't have a job), but the first car a necessity for us.   When we lived in Chicago, however, we were very happy to live without a car.   But we had transit available and different jobs...  Rent was a lot more expensive though.


Something to keep in mind is that sometimes it's more expensive to live close enough to walk to your work.  It may be cheaper to live farther out  but pay for a car.  For some people two cars are completely sensible, if both people work and carpooling/transit is not an option.


As far as appliances, well, I honestly can't imagine renting an appliance being cheaper than buying.  I agree modern appliances are all too often junk, but my washer ($400 new) had easily paid for itself within 6 months of purchasing.  I've had no problems with it for the last 2.5 years.   Even if I have to get a new one tomorrow, it is far cheaper than a laundromat here!  I wish appliances were built to last more, but they're not so I just tend to buy inexpensive ones and replace as needed.  To actually rent an appliance here would be a weekly rent-to-own deal, and they are absurdly expensive.  Usually with what you'd pay to rent, you could buy a new one every year.

post #15 of 85

I also want to mention that I in no way think that owning is better or less expensive in all cases.  DH owned a mobile home, yeah, that's not worth it at all, IMHO.  And there are LOTS of other situations where owning isn't going to be better, financially or otherwise, for particular people. 

 

But, I think that the most important thing about owning is the level of control you have over the space you live in.  You want to have pets, you can, no pet deposit required.  You want to add a wall to one room to make it two, go for it.  You want to fence in your yard, go for it.  You want a garden, no problem.  Don't like the paint, carpet or cabinets, change them up.  And while debt on your home is a risk, the risk of losing the home isn't inherent in the home itself.  A renter can be kicked out at almost any time, for whatever reason.  Owner gets forclosed on, owner sells the place, owner decides he wants to live in it, owner just doesn't like the renter.  There are laws regarding eviction and the whens and hows, but ultimately, the owner of a place has control over the place, the renter does not.

post #16 of 85
It probably is cheaper to just rent but if you were to save up for a house, you'd be renting at the same time anyway, so what's the difference between that and paying interest? My house has gone down in value and we owe probably about 50k more than it's worth. It is depressing, but at the same time, we still have a house that we can do what we want with, I can hang dry my laundry, have a garden, big yard for the kids...plus, I like knowing that when the mortgage is paid, the house will be ours. That sounds kind of nice in old age to not have to worry about a giant mortgage and use that money for enjoyment in retirement instead. Also, we bought a house that was well below our means so now that DP is making more $$ and eventually I will work, we'll be able to pay off the mortgage very early. And in that way, pay less interest. I just look at the interest as rent I would have been paying anyway. Our property taxes are low where we live too. I realize that this is not the same for everyone, but it works for us. The only regret I have is buying at the top of the bubble!
post #17 of 85

Oh, and yeah, 60 yr mortgage, not normal, I haven't ever even heard of it before, and I don't know that anyplace here even offers them.

 

 

Quote:
  I think the house ideal is from a time when you bought right away, say age 20-25, paid it off in 25-30 years and then had the rest of your life to live without a payment. 

 

And for me...this IS us.  (and actually most people we know.) We bought our house to stay in our house, and I was 26 when we bought it.  We got a 30 yr mortgage, but when DH is done with school, we intend to attack our debt with every penny we can and I honestly believe that we can and will have our house totally paid off before our younger ones are in college (I have a teen who will be in college in 4 years, I don't believe we can pay it off that fast.)  And I guess for me, that's the biggest thing.  When you rent, there's no such thing as "paid off."  Owning the house, paying the mortgage is temporary.  There's a point that it gets paid off, and our income and ourselves are what determines that point.  Renting, there is no paid off goal to get to.

post #18 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Geist View Post
I would say where you live is experiencing a housing bubble. If housing prices there are significantly higher than the historical norm (as they were in the US during our housing bubble), it's definitely a housing bubble. Taking out a loan for 60 years to buy a house is NOT normal. It does not make sense to buy a house in a housing bubble---you're much better off renting.

 

No, I don't think its a bubble. Its just the prices here in Australia, however I'm pretty sure that my city is the most expensive in Australia or was when I last heard. Barebones crappy 2 bedroom apartment you are looking at about $300,000+ If you want a 2/3 bedroom house in a relatively bad suburb you can get it for that too. Houses in the area I live in are around $500,000 (2 bedroom little cottages)- over a million for bigger places. Its a nice suburb, but its just that, a suburb. Basically I think it boils down to greed. At one point people just decided they could and would charge more, and since they can charge whatever they want its what people have to pay. If everyone is charging high amounts then buyers have to pay up. The housing market is one that will always have demand so there is no reason for costs to go down. They were saying a few years back prices were gonna crash back down, they didn't. Then they said when the US economy prices crashed they would go down, they didn't. They just keep steadily rising. Unfortunately the only way for some lower/middle income families  to own is to take out a 60 year mortgage. Its the only way they can make the repayments. But I wonder if they will ever pay it off? I'm not sure they care about that though. The drive to own real estate seems to be very intense for a lot of people. 

 

Car ownership...you can do it cheaply. We drove an old beater I bought for $3000 in college for 5 years before buying a more reliable car with a loan last year. We only have one car and we save a lot of money that way.

 

Does your husband do your car repairs? I have bought cheap cars both times and they just die sooner or later. Mechanic repairs on cheap cars (which usually have expensive problems) can be astronomical. Not worth fixing in most cases. So you end up spending thousands every 6 months-a year to get a new (used) car and all the costs that go along with that. I have lost so much money on cars and I have only owned 2 so far. Only a small portion of what I have spent on them was actually the cost to buy the car. I keep swearing if I ever buy another it will be brand new so at least its reliable and I can get years of use out of it. But even that doesn't seem like a wise financial move with the huge cost and instant devaluation. Ugh I hate cars smile.gif Good thing we are moving to an Island where we hopefully wont need one! 


 

post #19 of 85

 

Going into debt for home ownership can pay off if you are careful. As pp explained, the increase in the value of the asset exceeds the principal and interest payments made over the course of the investment. 

 

Australian real estate is crazy though and I think you have to be careful comparing Australian and North American situations.  Despite its huge landmass, the vast bush and desert, Australia is one of the most urbanized countries in the world. 90% of Australians are city dwellers. Over 50% of Australians live in just 4 cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, and I think if you take into consideration the greater urban regions of these cities, it's something closer to 75%. It places enormous pressures on housing demand and real estate prices are accordingly astronomical. Yet if you compare Australian wages to North American wages, there isn't an astronomical difference.

 

I once read a comparison between the number of U.S. towns and Australian towns with populations less than 100,000. The article was comparing "small town values" in the 2 countries. I can't recall exact numbers, but in the U.S., it was very, very high and in Australia, it was very, very low. From that information, I would extrapolate and say there is going to be a lot more affordable housing in the U.S. and it will be easier to manage a reasonable down payment and mortgage than in Australia, where the concentration into a few major cities will create a very different real estate market.

 

All this to say, I have no idea how anyone in Australia manages home ownership. My impression is that the average Australian is highly leveraged and lives with a lot of household debt, but accepts it as a normal part of the Australian way of life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #20 of 85

I have to say this depends so much on where you live and what your work situation is.  DH and I are currently on our third country that we've lived in since we got married and with every country there are very different laws in regards to buying property, taxes etc. 

 

We're also at a very, very different stage in our life than when we first met.  We're both academics and when we met we were both grad students who were both foreigners who just moved to a new country.  At that time we had zero credit, no credit cards and had to pay for all our furniture outright.  Now we could've paid much more per month for a furnished apt but that was more than we could afford on a consistent basis and you can end up paying a lot in the end if something happens to the furniture (laws in that country were NOT friendly at all to the renters).  However, the public transit was AWESOME so a car would've been redundant. 

 

Then we moved to the states and had a very similar situation.  I was still a grad student so buying property would've been unrealistic.  DH was not an American and I'd lived outside of the states many,many years so we didn't have any credit (or credit cards for that matter either).  We had to rent, buy our own furniture upfront, and rely on public transportation (thankfully that wasn't a problem where we lived). 

 

However, now we're in a very different situation.  We live in a country where they will not even consider you for a mortgage if you don't have a 10% downpayment AND mortgages only run for 16 years at the most.  We plan on buying ASAP because housing prices are increasing AND DH is a tenured professor so he won't get fired. Everything here is very standardized in the sense that with his job he will be guaranteed a certain interest rate and have a limit for what size of a mortgage we can get.  We already have to pay property taxes on rental property so buying is not going to make a difference in that sense.  We'll also only be looking at apts (and not big ones for that matter because we don't feel we need the space and would prefer a place with more amenitities than space) so we're not going to have nearly as high costs of upkeep.  So for us buying makes a lot of sense.

 

As for owning a car.  We do have public transportation here but the time difference is incredible.  If you compare the time it takes to get to work and DD's schools with public transit vs. a car it's a huge difference.  For work it's 1hr vs. 20 minutes and to DD's school it's 20min vs. 6 min.  That's a pretty big difference and that means more time at work and more quality time with DD, which is worth the hefty ticket price of a car to us.  That being said we'll buy a smallish car from a hopefully trustworthy brand that's used so we're hoping to get a good amount of use out of that car.

 

I also wanted to mention something about appliances.  We use our appliances A LOT.  I do cloth diapers and try to cook from scratch as much as possible.  Because of that I want a fridge that will keep everything good for awhile, a stove that regulates the temperature well, and a washer that's going to get those diapers really clean! We don't use dryers here so that's not an issue for us.  But I have a feeling (ok, I haven't done the math) but just with the savings on stuff like bread, diapers, eating out etc that it's going to make up for the price on the appliances fairly quickly. 

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