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Housing in Australia

Housing in Australia

There is a wide range of housing types and styles available, especially in some of Australia's larger cities and their suburbs. House architecture is based on European and American styles but many have a distinctly local Australian flavour, reflecting the climate and geography. A combination of timber and brick dwellings provides character and individuality in most communities.

Newer properties are almost always equipped with air-conditioning. Electric fans are standard in all forms of accommodation in the northern states. In the southern states many houses have a fireplace or a central heating system (usually gas). Such facilities are not required in the north due to the tropical climate.

In the cities and most country areas, electricity and piped gas are used for heating and cooking. Wood, coal and coke are still used in the more rural regions of Australia. Heating oil is widely used for heating in the colder areas.
All properties in the urban areas have access to a clean, piped water supply. In the country districts, many homes have 'tank water', a rainwater catchment system whereby water is caught and filtered for drinking. 

It is easier and quicker to rent accommodation than it is to buy it. That does not mean it is easy though. It is just easier than buying. In the long term it is usually cheaper to buy than to rent. However, with very high property prices in certain parts of Australia, it takes some time of earning your money locally before being able to buy your own property.

Rental accommodation is traditionally found through letting agents or estate agents. These agents earn a commission on the rent paid and are responsible for dealing with any maintenance issues. Lately property owners are advertising their properties themselves through the Internet or in local newspapers. By doing this, they have to deal with all the issues an agent would, but keep more of the rent money. Rental contracts (or leases) are usually for a minimum of six months to a year. Every landlord will insist on a minimum period of tenure since they want a secure income on their property. A year is the norm. Shorter leases will usually mean a higher rental rate. Rental properties are usually unfurnished.

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases you're likely to make after settling in Australia. Like anywhere else, it can also be one of your best long-term investments, provided that you get it right. This means doing your homework and making sure that any property bought is the right one in terms of price, location, value, size and lifestyle. Don’t be too hasty to make this commitment until you are completely comfortable with the Australian way of doings things and are very familiar with the local community.

There are two main ways to buy a property in Australia: by private sale or by auction. Buying by private sale means you buy the property at the advertised price or a negotiated price with the vendor, the latter usually done through the vendor’s estate agent. The negotiation continues until both parties agree on an acceptable price. 

Auction is another common way of selling a property in Australia. It depends largely on the area and the type of property as to whether sale by auction is the preferred method of sale. House auctions are particularly common in inner city Sydney and Melbourne, but less so in suburban, regional or rural areas of Australia.


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