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Walking the independent path to homeownership

The Australian dream of homeownership is still alive among buyers in Western Australia, with a surge in women and millennials driving a mindset shift in homebuying confidence.

A 2022 Bankwest Home Truths survey revealed that 57 per cent of WA women felt homeownership was obtainable, compared to only 30 per cent in the first poll conducted in December 2020.

There was a similar increase for the state’s millennials, with 65 per cent of people aged 23-38 now believing homeownership is achievable in comparison to only 30 per cent in the first survey.

Collecting responses from more than 1800 Australians, with a focus on Western Australians, the Bankwest Home Truths survey aims to better understand the needs and preferences of those who own, or aspire to own, a home.

These figures aren’t surprising to Realestate 88 East Perth Founding Director and Licensee Jasmyn Wright, who has seen an increase in female buyers hitting the market.

“With the lockdown and government grants that have been on offer, we are seeing more solo female buyers in the marketplace,” she said.

“The cost of moving and the increasing rents mean there is not a lot of options out there, and the cost of rent is similar to mortgage repayments, so a lot of people – single women included – are taking advantage of this.”

Ms Wright said she had seen a rise in female buyers purchasing in the inner city to be closer to work and amenities.

“Having the lock-up-and-leave lifestyle with the amenities available – not only in apartment complexes, but within the city – and free public transport is a consideration,” she said.

“The added benefit of security is also a huge factor.”

Realmark Urban Residential Sales Consultant Lucy Baker had similar observations.

“Anecdotally there has been a shift in priorities over the past decade among young women,” she said. “While purchasing property independently here in WA is seen as very much achievable, many women see property as a smart move for their future.

“WA offers young women the opportunity to earn good money. High-income potential, combined with WA’s affordability for housing compared to other states means many young female buyers see homeownership within reach and, therefore, it becomes a goal.”

Ms Baker has experienced a strong interest from independent female buyers within the apartment sector – a popular choice for its affordability, low maintenance and security.

“Four out of seven apartment sales I have facilitated over the past six months were sold to sole female purchasers,” she said.

“There has also been an increased appetite among young women for houses and land. The packages offer a manageable land size, are new and low maintenance, and buyers can build a home to their personal taste.”

First homebuyer Caitlyn Underwood recently purchased an apartment in Nollamara after deciding she wanted a home to call her own.

Following a spree of window shopping in January, she placed an offer during the third home open she went to.

“As soon as I walked into the house, I could immediately see myself living there – it was a love at first sight moment,” she said.

“I found out pretty quickly that there were already about eight offers on the apartment, so I had to put in a competitive offer that was still within my budget.

“My offer was accepted, which was such a surreal feeling.”

Ms Underwood said there was often an expectation for women and millennials to settle down with a partner before climbing the property ladder.

“I think, however, women are wired for stability and are keen to become financially secure prior to settling down and having a family,” Ms Underwood said.

“If you have a stable income and find the right mortgage broker, there will most likely be an option that will work for you.

“The way I think about it is that I’d much prefer to pay off my own mortgage than someone else’s mortgage if I was renting.”

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