Since taking home her first pay slip when she was 15 years old, Simone had been saving for her own home.
“I’ve been pretty good with my money in terms of saving more so than spending,” the 25-year-old told Mamamia.
“Then when I got my first full time job two years ago I tried to knuckle down and save really hard because I wanted to be able to buy a home as soon as I could.”
On the other hand, these Mamamia staffers are in serious debt.
While her friends moved out, Simone stayed with her parents, saving the money she’d otherwise be spending on rent.
“They were living out of home and having a fun time. I kind of had it still in the back of my head that I wanted to buy. I wanted to pay off my own mortgage rather than someone else’s.”
That attitude paid off when in December last year, she purchased a one-bedroom apartment in the south-east Melbourne suburb of Ormond.
Simone may be the first of her friends to buy a house, but she’s not unique. More and more women are making the call to step onto the property ladder, a recent survey by Westpac shows.
In fact, the survey of more than 1000 Aussie homeowners showed women were more likely to be making property purchases than men. Just over 70 per cent of women surveyed had plans to buy, sell or renovate in the next five years compared to 61 per cent of men. It backs up Westpac’s own lending data showing a 16.5 per cent increase in the number of women buying homes over the past five years.
Meanwhile, ABS data shows 60 per cent of women live in their own homes compared to 56 per cent of men. Of course, that’s not to say all these people own their homes alone, but it’s still pretty impressive considering it was just 30 years ago that women stopped needing a man to co-sign their mortgages.
Westpac Group’s head of women’s market Felicity Duffy told Mamamia women have been coming increasingly financially savvy and are thinking more long-term.
“We know that women face unique challenges to men in looking at their long-term and short-term financial security. Income inequality continues and so women are looking to another source of income, which an investment property can fulfil.
“There’s also the impact of parenthood many women – and more men are starting to – consider. I will potentially need to spend part of my working life working part-time – and that’s going to be a hindrance to my ability to earn an income.”
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Felicity said women were also motivated by a sense of accomplishment that comes with buying a home and aren’t thinking they need to wait for a future partner to help out.
That was certainly how Simone saw it. She told Mamamia that while she had thought having a partner might allow her to buy a bigger home, it didn’t seem worth the wait.
“I kind of liked being able to be like, ‘this is mine, I worked for it, it’s nobody else’s’. I don’t need someone else to come into my life and help me set up a financial future or get me into the property market. I can do it on my own.”
“It was nice to be able to say, ‘this is just my thing that I did’.”
For anyone else who wants that feeling, Felicity has some advice for where to start.
Get friendly with your bank statement
Felicity said if you’re going to start saving for a deposit, it’s important to take a good look at your finances and figure out where your money is going and where you can make changes.
“You need to take control of your own finances and really understand what are those streams of money coming in, what are the spending trends, how are they changing. Just so you understand how money is flowing in and out of what you do.”
You can have every intention to save money without actually doing it, but there’s a way to save money without even noticing – a practice you may or may not already have in place.
Open a savings account, Felicity recommended, and set up a direct debit so that every pay day a portion of your income is going straight into a savings account.
Be aware of the extra costs
“You need to understand what’s your income, minus the everyday expenses that make a difference when you’re a home owner,” Felicity said.
Right now you might be factoring in your normal expenses, plus a mortgage repayment in figuring out how much you can afford to borrow. But there are several other one-off and ongoing expenses you’ll need to factor in. For instance, insurance, stamp duty and council rates.
Chat to an expert
To make sure you’re aware of all the costs and know exactly what your price range is, speak to an expert, such as a home finance specialist, Felicity recommended.
“They can talk about serviceability in a loan. They’re not just there to talk about how to talk about how to process the paperwork, but really help you understand your financial situation.”
Have you bought a home? How did you manage to save for it?