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Rising rents and lack of available rental properties is a cause of concern for many Australians. Could buying a home instead provide a solution? It may not be as difficult as it seems.

Achieving property ownership does require careful thought, consideration of a range of aspects and planning from the property hunt's commencement right through to maintaining a mortgage. Australians who understand their limitations, options and opportunities, and are committed to their goal, are more likely to overcome the housing affordability challenge.

Mortgage Choice, Australia's largest independently-owned mortgage broker, discusses the rent versus buy equation.

Company spokesperson Kristy Sheppard said, "With housing affordability concerns rising, it's no surprise many renters turn their back on home ownership. However, those who are determined to achieve their goal and know they need to be dedicated to the cause over a period of time often find it is attainable."

"Owning a home is not, and was never, a matter of instant gratification. It's a serious commitment.

"Tenants who are keen to escape the rental roundabout need to contemplate their future wants and resist temptation to live only in 'the now'. With the housing undersupply issue looking to continue while population growth and rents rise, rental vacancy rates fall and housing prices trend upwards, some may find that now is a good time to set a property purchase plan in action.

"The median asking rent in the March quarter for a residential dwelling other than a house - such as flats, units, town houses, etc. - in Canberra, Australia?s most expensive capital city was $445 per week or $1,928 a month*. For Sydney it was $1,777 per month and for Darwin it was $1,681. Brisbane and Perth stood at $1,517, while Melbourne was at $1,473 and Hobart was at $1,170. The average Adelaide 'other dwelling' rented for $1,127 per week.

"In comparison, a 30-year $300,000 home loan at 7% is $1,996 per month in repayments.

"Of course, ownership costs such as land tax/strata fees, council rates, maintenance and water consumption need to be taken into consideration, but the similarity in cost between monthly rent and loan repayments within some areas is encouraging for potential buyers.   

"Today, lenders have much tighter home loan approval assessment criteria but there is still a broad range of options available. For example, more buyers are taking up family equity loans. These allow a borrower to retain sole ownership while having the financial assistance of a family member acting as a loan guarantor by offering their property as security.

"The trend of purchasing property with another via co-ownership is another option that helps borrowers enter the market sooner than expected.

"A reputable mortgage broker can help would-be buyers explore a wide variety of lenders and loan options and give guidance on the entire process of becoming a mortgage holder.

"If the thought of paying your own mortgage instead of your landlord's is appealing, then save hard, get professional assistance, make the commitment and stick to it!" 

Published: Jun 22, 2010 10:41am

Last updated: Jun 22, 2010 10:42am

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