Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Realestalking

Ok, so if you were to build this in Queensland, on the beach at Broadbeach, the end list price would be about 8 million plus, plus.... house and land. Easy. That's if you could find someone who is capable of building in a style that you just don't see here, someone who gets character and detail. Ask for detail here and you get a raised eyebrow and a "why would you want to do that"???

This is for sale for 1.1 million US in Galveston, Texas in the US... all of it... not just the land... the whole damn house... and land. Ok, even take away the location.... no matter where it is.... to build and finish this house in Brisbane would cost you close to 2 million, build... the house... no land. 

God save Australia, when the mining boom is over and we have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. What is happening with our real estate and our cost of living???? I chatted to a Canadian traveller in the Telstra shop the other day. He reckons everything here is at least double what it costs in Canada.
It wasn't always like this. When I was a new grad, with a pittance to my name, I never consciously thought about how expensive food, rent, everything was. I thought the first house I purchased later in 1991 was totally affordable. Petrol was cheap, rent was cheap,  food was cheap. I liked grocery shopping back then.

I'm sad. I see beautiful, great value homes like this and it reminds me that we're being boiled alive here in Australia and we don't even know it. We are one of the most expensive countries in which to live. Hey, I thought Paris was cheap! My Paris apartment was $125/night tariff in the 7th... lean out the window and touch the Eiffel tower stuff. I was drooling over 2 bed apartments for sale in central Paris that were half the price of 2 bed apartments in West End, Brisbane!!!

What's happened? 

Didn't mean to get all rant-y (is that a word?.... it is now) and political on this beautiful Sunday morning... but sometimes the reality of living in this expensive country just hits me like a tonne of bricks. Does anyone else get hot under the collar about this?

Although, I was very excited when I found a packet of pasta on sale for 80 cents yesterday. The boys and I 'mentally created' a very cheap meal from all the sale items in the grocery store yesterday. Pasta 80 cents, tinned salmon $2, 300g broccoli 80 cents, tomato base $1.50, 100g cheese $1. Family meal for approx $6. Good lesson. It's doable.... as long as you don't need to live anywhere, need electricity, have to put petrol in your car..... rant, rant. Breathe out!

That feels better!
Now, Happy Sunday! 

Images Courtesy HAR


  1. Do you import a lot of things into Australia? Countries like the Bahamas are really expensive because all their food (and everything else) is imported. My grandfather was a sugarcane farmer in Queensland, but I have no idea about the rest of your agriculture there.

    BTW, Texas is one of the cheapest places in the US. You can buy land super-cheaply and probably build very cheaply there. You could never build in California or the Northeast for the same price. In the US, there is also a lot of illegal immigrant labor used, which is kind of our dirty secret. It props up the economy, but everyone gets worked up about it. But no one who works for any contractor can speak any English.

  2. Agreed A-M. My theory is that everything in Aus is expensive because the value of property is too high. Bness oay too much rent to cover the capital cost of property, which means that people are paying for it in the products & services they buy. The govt also provide incentive to keep prices high through negative gearing, first home owners grants, building grants etc etc. All we need is an economic event to cause unemployment and we'll see property prices crash by 40% as in the UK & Europe, or more, as in the US ... and then our 'strong economy' & Aus dollar will falter just like many other western economies. It's also making the dividing line between rich and poor greater. Big issue, just not clear on how to fix it.

    On another note, that house is lovely !

  3. The biggest issue we have with the resource boom (and I am not knocking it, as I know it is doing a very good job of holding up our economy while places like Europe are having huge issues - although we now have a two speed economy) is sourcing labour for the farm. We mainly use backpackers who need a visa extension as most Australians who would be suitable to do farm work chose to do mine work for a lot more money than we can afford to pay. There is a huge skilled labour shortage in WA.

    And as for Perth real estate - it used to be amongst the cheapest in the country. But not any more!! Hard for people to afford if they aren't in the resource sector.

    I think the resource boom is a double edged sword - good for lots of reasons but with a definite down side.

    I love the house in Texas. Don't know how I would go looking out from my front verandah at all the other houses so close but I think I have obviously been on a farm for way too long!!

  4. Amen, I hear ya! This is the same rant my husband has been hearing out of me. I can't help feeling these same thoughts when our soon to be built single storey house through a run of the mill project builder costs so much, but with no where near the beauty of American and Canadian homes. We have such a beautiful country but why does everything keep going up and up? Deep breaths. Have a lovely sunday AM.

  5. I hear you. My Dad lives in central London and the last few times he has been over to visit me, he has complained bitterly about how expensive everything is. I kind of dismissed his comments as he is a typically frugal Scotsman, but when we visited the US and Europe last year I was amazed at how cheap everything was over there and how much more expensive the same things were over here. I don't understand why it is that way when it never used to be. No wonder people are shopping online in droves.

  6. American Houses are so big and beautiful - I would love to build a house similar (they have so much character!).

    I was talking to a friend in the US and his house is almost 3 times the size of mine and cost less then half of what mine did.

    Everything in Brisbane is way to over priced! If i didn't have a house and a good job here I would seriously consider moving over seas!

  7. Contrariwise A-M, I just can't get over how cheap things are in the US - and I live in California! There is high-end stuff, sure, but you can live well and eat well here for very little. I feel the US is subsidised by the rest of the world.

  8. I'd like the builders here to take some pride in their craft rather than have a heart attack when they hear the words 'fret work please'. Not asking for the moon people!
    Can I also rant a little about how a caravan park ( excuse me...TOURIST park) is no longer a cheap holiday for families? A weekend at one here on the mid north coast start at $175 night for family of 4- if your lucky!

  9. Fiona, we do import despite having the most wonderful resources here. Terri-Ann, I so agree. A Farmer's Wife, didn't know that! sad. Tash, I know, I know. F, it's easy to dismiss frugal scotsmen, my step-dad is one! Jenna, HMB, ridiculous prices. Trish... interesting! A-M xx

  10. Agreed A-M, try living in the inner suburbs of Sydney!! we think Brisbane is cheap...crazy times isn't it. I am not sure how our kids will ever buy a house.

    but also why would you even need a house as big as those in the photos. If i had a house that big I'd want it on a bigger block of land.

    cheers Fiona

  11. I just clicked through the link and checked out some of the houses. they are amazing in their details. not like new builds here at all are they! wow.

  12. Yes, yes and yes! My sentiments exactly and I can't imagine where it's going to end. But end it has to. While there are many benefits to living in Australia, my husband and I still despair at the huge lifestyle changes we have had to make. And we try not to think about the beach front house we could have bought in South Africa for the value of our tiny two bedroom town house in Brisbane. Or, well, yes, a mansion in Texas maybe.

  13. Rant away A.M. I totally agree I remember 50c a litre really well it cost $50 to fill my car now its $110. :( I really need to change my car.

    Mackay is even worse to build my house it cost twice as much rent is so high even food is more expensive due to frieght cost stupid thing is the veg is grown up here but it gets sent to brisbane to get processed then brought all the way back to us vie cairns???? so it never stays fresh for long. Oh I am on a rant now.
    Will have to go make a coffee to calm down tee hee have a great weekend A.M. x :)

  14. Oh I hear you CC, I am seriously ranting today. I need to step away from the computer. Off to make myself a coffee too. ... and then back to the BAS...blahh! A-M xx

  15. Be calm. Yes, i totally agree that prices are expensive here. However we can hold our heads high about universal medicare in australia and that we pay a decent minimum wage.
    I rail when I can get a superior salad in New York for $7.90 & same thing here is heading towards $20.
    But i reflect back on these other issues & take a deep breath.
    maybe the view around taxing the big miners makes more sense than you think.
    Enjoy Sunday

  16. I hear all of you - was showing hubby your bog today A-M and he totally agrees with everyone! We are in the process of selling our house, bought in the wrong location so are finally doing location over lifestyle but having great difficulty in finding a house that doesnt need a lot of work done to it, reasonably priced! Very frustrating! Oh to live overseas! Cathy

  17. It is expensive everywhere in Australia too. Everyone is under the impression that regional areas are cheap but, they are not (look up prices in North Ward, in Townsville). I agree, I remember looking at prices in inner city London/Paris and thinking they were affordable. Everyone also says that Japan is expensive but after travelling there three times (once for two months) I can say it is definitely cheaper than Australia!

  18. I know a great charter builder who has worked on our place...craftsman! WOuld be happy to pass on his details.

  19. ok darl, i need to know where your paris apartment was???!!!!!

    i was in the 7th, similar deal, but not at that price!! I need your tips for next time!!!

    i know what you mean about the aussie real estate price. man, it expensive. and a little bity depressing, paying a kings ransom for a fixer uperer and then having to try and find the money to removate.

    happy sunday xx

  20. A-M, I understand what you are saying, but, like another person commented, we need to be grateful for things like our health system, yes, we all whinge about it, but how many people do we hear have to go into bankruptcy after an operation? Ive not heard of anyone (possibly they are out there though) It is a common occurrence in the US. Also, ask the people in the US on Minimum wage if they think they are getting a good deal? We own a convenience store and I can honestly say that I am disgusted about how some people behave about the price of food from Australia, they look for the Indonesian coke over Australian made coke, they will then be wondering why so many Australians are out of work in years to come. We don't even realise we are saving countries like china and risking our own. And why are we trying to save on food prices? oh yeah so we can buy more IPads and have more holidays and drink more wine and pretty up our houses etc. No one cared about that stuff years ago, we brought Australian, possibly paid more for it than some Chinese rubbish but it helped our country out. God forbid this country,not when mining collapses but everything else does because we actually pay our workers half decent wages and therefore have higher prices on items that people don't want to buy because they'd rather support china and their cheap crap and their workers! Sorry for my rant, I love your blog but just had to say something!!

  21. Oh I know Emma, it's a two edged sword. So much to be grateful for... despite. A-M xx

  22. We are long term Aussie expats living in the US. We figure we will never be able to return to Oz to live due to the ridiculous price of real estate and every day costs such as groceries. It feels as if most Australians are so wrapped up in telling themselves they are living in the "lucky" country to realise just how ripped off they are for everything.

    As to it being related to Australians being paid a decent wage, why is it then that the service industry are trying to introduce the concept of tipping when they are already suitably rewarded? Don't get me started on how unreliable Australian tradesmen tend to be and as for their spiel that they will give you a 10% discount if you pay cash. All I say is wake up people, all they are doing is not paying the GST, they are taking the normal amount for the job and not paying taxes which means the tax burden falls on the rest of you.

  23. ... and thank you Toula! Hear you about the 'lucky country. the tips and the tradesmen! A-M xx

  24. A-M I am almost frightened to respond to this as I might just go on for pages!!!!
    But to Emma can I say I buy cheap so I can eat, I buy cheap so I can feed my dogs, I sit wrapped in rugs instead of heating so I can pay for the computer. Remember that there a few of us out here on limited incomes. I don't want to be but no one will give me a job not because I couldn't do it but because of a little detail like a birth date!!! 8 years ago our income was enough (not to be lavish but to be reasonably comfortable!)now it does not go anywhere and if I relied on medicare for my current health needs the wait is three years so I pay for insurance I will sell a piece of furniture and it is done in two weeks!!!!!
    Sorry A-M I did say I would go on forever and I haven't even started!!!!!!

  25. my brother lives in the US and has just been home for hols - he can't believe the prices ... both to buy and rent now in bris ...

    And we bought a beach holiday house in NZ - 20 mins from a city, 40 mins from the airport and 147 steps to a beach - even with airfares for four three times a year it was cheaper than here ...

    it's a sad state of affairs .. and don't even lets go to Perth or Townsville or Chinchilla with the resource booms ... le

  26. Hi AM, You have a right to rave. Yes Australia is a great country but it is far too expensive. When is someone,namely politians,going take a stand against these despicable elec,water and gas companies and their pure greed. It makes me sick~!! I am like you - I could rant and rave all day about how expensive everything here is. Victoria is as bad as the rest of the states. Now people are wanting child care centres to be build at the MCG and Ethiad Stadium. Such madness. I suppose they want them to be government funded as well. It is time for companies and people to get real. We live in a wonderful but mad worldNataliexx

  27. We live in regional Victoria (pretty tourist town) and the prices shock me to the core. However I was talking to my sister in law this morning about a house she's thinking of buying in an outer suburb of Melbourne and it is eleventy billion times worse there! 400k for a house that needs to be bulldozed in a rather undesirable location! I honestly done know how our kids are going to afford the great Australian dream as wages aren't increasing compared to the price of living :(

  28. After living 2 years in the UK I thought we were going to come back to Oz and cost of living would be cheaper. How wrong we were! We have had to locate to Perth... Ouch... and prices for everything are ridiculous here.
    But, we are an entrepreneurial bunch and it's great to see so many people starting small business from home and looking to create a better life for themselves.
    A-M, when you are sitting in your gorgeous new home it will all be worth it. :-)

  29. Oh my goodness I love that house, it is divine.

    I too think Australia is very expensive (compared to the US) and then we became PNG expats - Australia is cheap (most things) compared with here.

    Our rental accommodation (paid for by my hubby's business) is a 3 bedroom townhouse (similar size to an Australian townhouse) for approx $2,800 per WEEK. You would not believe it when you saw what we got for that, lol.

    Our grocery bill is also ridiculous (lots of imported goods) and so is internet...sob sob sob. Most things are, but we are here for the experience, as I keep telling myself.

    The mining boom does have a lot to answer for.

  30. Totally's getting crazy here.

    Loving that veranda shot first up!

  31. My son (23) and his girlfriend have scrapped together enough to buy land and build a house after refusing to pay hundreds of thousands for basic dumps in Melbourne. They live with us and her parents week about and we basically shoulder the cost so they can get a start. It's horrendous, the debt they have to take on to just get a start.

  32. Oh my, it sounds like things have even hiked in price since we left Australia four years ago. I remember that Will and I felt the cost of living comparable to Calgary ~ which was still pretty expensive. Not going to lie but it was the cost of living that drove us back to Canada early. :( Anyway love your simple meal/living lessons. It is doable, it is healthy - all you have to do is be creative and imaginative.


  33. OMG AM, where to begin with this, you've poked a bear! Australia is so grossly expensive compared to the rest of the world, in almost every way, but let's stick with real estate/building/decorating because that's my main focus now and biggest bug bear! Why oh why is it so expensive to build/renovate here? And get not much for it? We have spent over half a million bucks on our renovation, and it's pretty basic and very average standard I have to say. We got the best we could afford, but it's still pretty basic. There is no big splurges, no fancy fixtures, no radically expensive must haves, and most people probably couldn't see where all the money has gone. I know I can't and we haven't really got the house we wanted, just what we could afford. It's madness. Now trying to decorate it and I'm absolutely staggered by the cost of products here, compared to the US and now Europe, not just because of what we have to pay but for the utterly inferior quality utter crap we get dished up. Crappy, nasty, badly designed, badly made homewares that cost far more than they should. It's outrageous. I buy most homewares things wholesale and it infuriates me how much they cost for the quality you get, but if I had to pay retail I'd be beside myself. If you want real quality you have to pay thousands and most people simply can't afford that. I certainly can't. How did we get like this? I must shut up or I'll be here all day!

  34. I was really surprised recently to hear a run-down of grocery prices over there. I can understand imports being expensive but one item that leapt out at me from a whole long list was bananas - substantially more expensive than the UK. Huh?? What's all that about? That's a 'home crop' isn't it?

    Believe me, I do sympathise. Jersey is also one of the most expensive places in the world to live but given that nearly 100,000 of us cling to this little 45 sq. mile rock, I guess that's more understandable. I don't know what the excuses or reasons could be for Australia but like me, you must wonder how your children will ever afford a decent house of their own.

  35. I know there have been a few comments already so i will keep mine short. The cost of living has gone up a lot and not in-line with wages. Things that should be paid for by the government like education and dental aren't. But, you also need to remember that we have a relatively small and isolated population so we just can't support the same variety and low cost of things as countries like America. We also have a much higher minimum wage. Lastly, I think you'll find that the reason houses are cheaper in other countries at the moment is because their economies are in such dire straights. I don't think us in the "lucky country" realise just how bad it is. Europe is slowly becoming a third-world. I understand what you're saying A-M. I really do. There are many Aussies doing it tough and the East-Coast Capitals are VERY expensive places to live. But I think everywhere has its issues and I'm glad to live in Oz...except when I see the cost of our variations for the house we're building atm! Ash :)

  36. I often look at the price of homes in the US I see on blogs, particularly in Texas and marvel at how cheap they are compared to Sydney. I mean, all that gorgeous home on the water for a measly million? You'd barely get a semi with rising damp and an outside laundry for that here.

    I think the property market in Australia is vastly inflated. I fear it's a house of cards.

    (and as for the cost of living as in food and petrol and electricity - it's been rising something brutal the last few years hasn't it? Whilst some things are getting cheaper and cheaper, food and power are getting costlier and costlier - eg: you can buy a flatscreen tv for the same amount of money you spend on food and petrol in a fortnight. CRAZY.)


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx