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Here's how long it really takes to save a first-home deposit

Are you looking to get on the property ladder? Here’s how long you’ll need to put away your savings for, according to RateCity.com.au.

Sydney is still the toughest market for first home buyers to get a foot on the ladder, for someone saving $200 per week at a rate of 2 per cent, it will take 9 years and six months to save a 10 percent deposit for a median priced unit, plus lenders mortgage insurance and stamp duty. For couples saving $400 per week it will take five years.

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In Melbourne, buying your first home is far more achievable. For singles, buying a median priced unit, it will take six years and three months to save a deposit.  For couples, it will take three years and three months.

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Brisbane remains to be one of the more affordable capital cities. To save the required deposit for singles it will take four years and one month. For couples, able to save $400 per week it will only take two years and one month to save the required deposit. 

HOW LONG IT TAKES TO SAVE A DEPOSIT

Location Median apartment price Total deposit (10% plus LMI and stamp duty) Time taken to save ($200/wk) Time taken to save ($400/wk)
Sydney $740,093 $109,171 9 yrs 6 mths 5 yrs
Melbourne $566,148 $69,048 6 yrs 3 mths 3 yrs 3 mths
Brisbane $382,601 $44,871 4 yrs 1 mths 2 yrs, 1 mth
Adelaide $324,477 $49,413 4 yrs 6 mths 2 yrs 4 mths
Perth $390,680 $45,819 4 yrs 2 mths 2 yrs 2 mths
Hobart $366,126 $49,231 4 yrs 6 mths 2 yrs 4 mths
Darwin $303,889 $34,519 3 yrs 3 mths 1 yrs 7 mths
Canberra $441,787 $61,818 5 yrs 7 mths 2 yrs 11 mths

RateCity.com.au. Sources and assumptions: see notes.

RateCity research director Sally Tindall said the new figures show getting into the housing market is tough, but not impossible.

“As the property market declines and investors dip out, there’s now a real opportunity for first home buyers to get into the market.

“There are a couple of things they can do to maximise their chances of getting a home. They include saving a big enough deposit to avoid paying lenders mortgage insurance and taking advantage of the first home buyer grants and stamp duty exemptions in your state,” she said.

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Tips for first home buyers

  • Avoid shelling out dead money: If possible, save a 20 per cent deposit to avoid paying costly lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).
  • Stay under the stamp duty cap.  In some states, you can avoid paying stamp duty on entry level priced homes. In Melbourne, if a first home buyer purchased a property under $600K they will be exempt from stamp duty.
  • Take advantage of first home buyer grants: In some states, first home buyer grants and concessions still exist, particularly for the construction of new homes or units. 
  • Make your money work hard: Park your cash in a high interest earning savings account or term deposit.
  • Consider using the federal government’s First Home Super Saver Scheme where you can use your superannuation account as a way to help saving your deposit, taking advantage of tax concessions.