Now that you know your budget, it’s time to determine how much ‘home’ it’s likely to buy you – and the suburbs you can afford to live in. The real estate section in newspapers, local papers and real estate agents themselves are all useful sources of pricing information, but when it comes to getting comprehensive comparative sales information, it’s hard to go past Australian Property Monitors (APM), a joint venture between the publishers of Your Mortgage and John Fairfax & Sons.

APM publishes Sydney, Victorian, Canberra and Perth Home Price Guides. Expanding the service even further, the Home Prices Guide will soon be expanded to cover all of Queensland from the distant outback of Mount Isa through to the high-rise apartments of the Gold Coast.

APM systematically tracks residential property activity from a variety of sources including government and semi-government agencies, real estate advertising, real estate agents and the company’s own researchers. This vast base ensures APM’s databases contain the latest and most detailed property information available.

Each Home Price Guide lists recorded residential sales in the previous 12 months and details the full address of the property, the type of property, descriptive features of the home and exact sales date and sales price paid by the buyer.

If the home of your dreams in your desired suburb is too pricey, it’s time to either lower your expectations or save some more money. However, remember that while you are saving more money, prices can often increase at a similar (or faster) pace.

It’s important to remain flexible with your housing demands because it’s simply impossible for everyone to purchase their dream home immediately. Sometimes it is better to settle for something that isn’t perfect, pay it off quickly and then step up to a better home down the track.