Emerging saving trends suggest that first home buyers are taking a more cautious approach to debt post-GFC and saving up larger deposits before taking the plunge into the property market.
It wasn’t so long ago that some first home buyers were using cash advances on their credit cards to scrape together the bare minimum deposit required to get a home loan then buying a property days after getting loan approval. Nowadays, those in the market for their first home are more cautious and are using a range of strategies, some old, some new, to build up a healthy deposit.
Anyone trying to build a nest egg quickly has to slash their outgoings, boost their income or, ideally, do both at the same time. When it comes to reducing expenses, the time-honoured tradition of moving back in with the parents to save on rent is alive and well among the current generation – surveys suggest around half of first home buyers spend some time living with a family member. Two other tricks used to cut rental costs are subletting rooms (check your rental agreement first to see if this is allowed) or moving to a cheaper property.
Other popular cost-cutting strategies include:
- Opting to get by with one car rather than two and/or downgrading to a cheaper vehicle.
- Downsizing grocery bills by shopping at the new generation of discount stores.
- Purchasing items online, such as clothes, to avoid the large markups often charged by Australian retailers.
High-tech income boosters
The good news for today’s first home buyers is that modern technology has made generating extra revenue streams a lot easier.
If someone of your parents’ generation wanted to increase their income, it usually meant getting a second job, which almost always required them to be at a set location for a set period of time. With the move to a digital economy and the rise of sites such as Freelancer.com and Elance, those wanting to moonlight have the option of taking on as much or as little work as they want and, more often than not, being able to do it from home at a time that suits them.
Similarly, online auction houses and classifieds mean that unwanted items can now be quickly converted into cash without the rigmarole involved in holding a garage sale or arranging meetings with prospective buyers.
Smart money management
Unlike previous generations, today’s first home buyers have grown up with access to easy (but expensive) credit. Many are deciding to cut up their credit cards, which both restricts their ability to make impulse purchases and ensures they’re not squandering money that could be going into a high-interest savings account on making interest repayments of, typically, 15 to 20 per cent on credit card debts.
Saving up enough for a home deposit always has and always will require some discipline and sacrifice, but the saving trends among first home buyers suggest they are using their imagination to reach their saving goals in the shortest possible time.