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To buy a home or not to buy a home? That’s the question for Australians

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Millennials are choosing holidays over homes as prices make property too steep a goal.

Buying a home has been something almost expected of Australians for generations. But is that changing?

With rising property prices and a worrying economy, many are instead choosing to spend their money on other things. In particular, holidays.

Holidays are the new priority when it comes to financial goals of people in their 30s, according to research from trading platform moomoo.

48% of Australians aged between 28 and 42 listed their preference to spend on leisure above saving for a home deposit.

Is property just too unattainable?

I mean, it makes sense. moomoo calculated that a holiday to Europe costs $8,000 if you include flights, accommodation, insurance and eating and drinking while you're there.

The average first home buyer home loan, on the other hand, requires around a $130,000 deposit (if you're paying the full 20%). With property prices rising (for 15 months in a row now) this deposit figure just keeps going up.

It's no wonder that a lot of people feel property is simply unattainable. Or at least that to attain it it requires several years of chasing property prices and a lot of hard saving – years and savings that could be spent on several impressive overseas trips.

CoreLogic did the numbers. House values have risen 150% over the last 20 years, while wages have only risen by 82% in the same time. There are actually lower rates of home ownership and the people who are buying their first homes are older than they used to be.

For a lot of people as well they feel that "it's too late" to get their finances in check.

According to Finder research, 1 in 5 (19%) Australians feel they've run out of time to improve their financial situation. For millennials, it's about 13%.

So why not spend whatever money you do get on a holiday instead of buying a home? Off you go, don't forget to get travel insurance.

But wait, millennials are still buying…

Having said all of that, it's not as dire as I've made out. Millennials are actually the most active generation when it comes to buying investment properties, according to Commonwealth Bank's loan book. 46% of the bank's new property investors in 2023 were millennials.

Not only that, a third of those property investors bought their properties on their own.

CBA's executive general manager of home buying, Michael Baumann, said that diving into the numbers showed many of these buyers were 'rentvesting'.

"What we continue to see from many Aussies is the inclination to 'rentvest', buying property where they can afford and then renting where they wish to live," Dr Baumann said.

"Rentvesting gives Australians the chance to get their foot on the property ladder sooner rather than later and purchase a property in a lower cost area without having to give up the lifestyle they have become accustomed to when renting."

They're also buying with friends…

Research from ING shows that almost half of those who have bought or are planning to buy without a partner have considered buying with a friend. That's 3.5 million Australians.

Gen Z are the most likely to want to buy with a friend, but it's still 35% of millennials. Some of the main reasons for wanting to do so is because buying a home with someone else allows them to buy somewhere bigger than they could afford on their own and because they want to get started on building their property portfolio.

Michelle May, principal of Michelle May Buyers Agents, is seeing many potential buyers rush into the market for 'fear of missing out'.

"Undeterred by stricter financing and loan approval criteria buyers are pulling out all stops to get into the housing market sooner rather than later. This is evident in the surging demand for family homes and stubbornly high property prices particularly in in-demand suburbs," May said.

If you're considering buying, don't be put off and don't rush in. Here are some great tips to get onto the property ladder in the right way:

Number 1

Save your deposit

This might feel like a hard slog but it is a crucial step. The more you have saved for your deposit, the more you can borrow and the better interest rate you can get. If you're one of those people who thinks your financial situation is too late to save, you might need to get more serious about saving. But be consistent and save what you can, even if some months seem too difficult.

Number 2

Look at first home buyer schemes

Both federal and state governments have schemes and/or grants in place for first home buyers. These usually allow first home buyers to get a home loan with a smaller deposit, but take a look at what is available to you. You might not need to save as much as you think.

Number 3

Calculate your borrowing power

If you have an idea of how much deposit you'll be able to save (or have saved already) then it's a good idea to work out how much you'll be able to borrow. This helps to give you a better sense of what you might be able to buy and how much your monthly repayments would be. If these monthly repayments seem unachievable, rethink how much you want to borrow. Remember that interest rates can increase at any time and you could end up paying more.

Number 4

Compare home loan options

Once you have an idea of how much you want to borrow and your LVR, you can begin looking around at home loans. Compare interest rates, but also remember to consider fees and charges that might come with the loan and features you might need, such as an offset account, extra repayments or split loans.

Number 5

Speak to a mortgage broker

If you're not sure where to start or you're feeling overwhelmed (understandable) then speaking to a mortgage broker might help. They'll be able to look at your circumstances and tell you any grants you're eligible for and find a selection of the best lenders to suit you.

Number 6

Find the right property

Although some buyers are rushing to buy the first property they find for fear of missing out, this is a huge investment and it's important to do it right. Take the time to find the right property for what you need and get all the inspections and checks you need to before committing.

Prefer to buy a home than go on holiday? Compare home loan options now

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