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A marathon to mortgage: First home buyers need more than a decade to save for a home

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Younger Aussies looking to own a home could be waiting a while, according to new research by Finder.

Finder analysis* shows young Australians need at least 12 years to save for a deposit for the average unit and 16 years for the average house if they started saving today.

This would mean saving $299,868 for a house deposit, and $188,523 for a unit.

Richard Whitten, home loans expert at Finder, said many first home buyers can't afford to save such a significant amount.

"Wage growth over the past few decades simply hasn't kept up with skyrocketing property prices.

"Saving up enough for a deposit, especially when the cost of everything from food, energy, and insurance – not to mention rent – is rising, is a big barrier to overcome.

"Buying a home is becoming increasingly out of reach for many Aussies."

Finder's analysis shows the situation is the worst in NSW where households need on average two decades of savings for a house deposit, amounting to $470,660.

TAS comes in close second, with households needing 17 years worth of savings for a house. That would mean having $226,098 saved up.

Those in VIC will need on average 16 years to save the $326,625 required for a house deposit.

South Australians can achieve their dream 1 year quicker, needing 15 years on average to save $211,456.

Aussies in QLD and the ACT are not far behind needing 14 and 12 years to save the $232,960 and $312,386 respectively.

The NT and WA come in as the best places to save for homeownership.

Households in the NT need around 8 years of savings, equivalent to $151,584, to get a deposit for a house.

In WA, Aussies will need 10 years on average to save the $178,697 required for a deposit.

Aussies saving for a unit have it slightly easier, needing 14 years of savings in New South Wales ($258,914) and Tasmania ($165,720).

Whitten urged first home buyers not to feel discouraged.

"Having a realistic budget and getting into a good savings habit early on – even if it's just small amounts each month – will put you on the right track.

"See if you can find ways to stretch your dollar even further. Make sure you're not paying for things you don't need or aren't using, and don't pay too much for what you do need.

"Money management apps, like the free Finder app, are a great way to keep track of your income and expenses, and from there you can find ways to save even more."

Whitten reminded Aussies that loyalty rarely pays when it comes to financial products.

"From energy to insurance to your mobile provider, it's always a good idea to compare your options to ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck."

Prospective homeowners can expect to spend slightly fewer years saving for units in Victoria (11 years), Queensland (10 years) and South Australia (10 years) where they will need $182,052, $144,849, and $122,114 respectively.

Units are the easiest to save for in the Northern Territory, requiring 6 years of savings ($93,667).

Close behind are Aussies living in Western Australia and the ACT, where they will need 7 years of savings, or $105,406 and $150,232 respectively.

The main contributor to how quickly Aussies can save for a deposit across the country is how expensive their ongoing rental costs are compared to their household income.

For instance, states where it is quickest to save for a deposit have rental costs that are less than 30% of median household income: ACT (26%), NT (27%), VIC (27%), WA (29%).

StateYears to saveYears to save
(house)(unit)
NSW2014
VIC1611
QLD1410
ACT127
SA1510
WA107
TAS1714
NT86
Australia1612
Source: ABS, CoreLogic, Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, Finder analysis from June 2023

*Methodology

  • Finder's analysis is based on a 3.5% annual growth on home prices, 3% average savings interest rate, 3.5% annual growth in the median household income.
  • Analysis assumes households save 25% of their income after spending on rent, groceries, utilities, internet, phone and transport.
  • Property prices are based on CoreLogic data from March 2023.
  • Income figures from ABS data Average Weekly Earnings, Australia.

Use our complete first home buyer guide to make your first home purchase as stress-free as possible.

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