So far, most of my clients have been relocating to Melbourne from overseas and have never been to Australia. There are the occasional immigrants that I help out with house hunting but most of the times, my clients are moving to Melbourne for work. Searching for rental places for these two groups are very different.
One thing I’ve noticed is that when people relocate to Melbourne as an immigrant, the two main concerns are space and affordability. Being close to the CBD is not important. It’s not essential that they are in the thick of things. They just want space and they want it cheap. I use the word “cheap” loosely because when you hear a three bedroom house going for $345 per week, you’d say CHEAP! Move that price range to find a rental apartment in the city and you’ll be lucky enough to find a wall dividing your bedroom and the kitchen.
Recently, I had clients who moved to Melbourne. Both have lived in Australia before for a short period but it was quite interesting how they insisted on living in Werribee, Hoppers Crossing area. These two towns are about 40 kilometres from the CBD BUT it is linked by the freeway so it takes about 40 minutes which is about the same amount of time you’d spend looking for a parking spot in the city. And then you just suck it up and park in a multilevel carpark and have to fork out $25 to park for an hour. You can buy 3 lunches with $25!
So in Werribee and Hoppers Crossing, decent rental houses are around the $300 per week mark. Closer to the $300 and the houses look rundown but definitely a step up from a crack house. But crossing the $330 mark per week in rental, the houses start looking better. I was surprised that at $340, I checked out a house with a big manicured backyard, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a grand kitchen and a study nook. It was a family home and it was well maintained. My clients did not want a house this big because with their first baby coming up, cleaning will be a nightmare and will take too long. The more space you have in your house, the more areas you can filth up. So I eventually found them a three bedroom, one storey home. It was brand-new. One of the rooms can be the nursery and the third one for family members who will visit once the baby arrives.
Personally, I prefer the options the city offers. But then I live here. Maybe when they realise that the cost of taking public transport means that they have to add $55 per week to their expenditures, they might reconsider and live closer to the city. But then at $400/week, it will be a good one bedroom apartment or a horrible two bedroom and instead of the two beds they bought, it will be one bed and a sofa bed. Maybe they do know what they are doing.