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How Aussie sisters bought first houses in their teens - and it's wasn't the bank of mum and dad

The Sydney sisters say they've still been able to travel and are calling on other young people their age to 'stop wasting their money'.

Two young Aussie sisters have done what many deem impossible in the current cost of living crisis. They sacrificed half their salaries to start their own property portfolios.

Siblings Chanelle, 18 and Maddy, 21, each bought their first investment properties after saving half their pay cheques for three and five years. They are from Sydney, but the growing median house price has hit $1,139,375, according to Core Logic.

Even the smallest units in Aussie capital cities selling for sky-high prices, the sisters opted to invest in a regional area and each purchased a $600,000 four-bedroom house and land package in Baldivis, Western Australia, about a 30-minute drive south of Perth.

“When we started working, Mum sat us down and told us how to separate out our money and save it. Obviously, the big one was saving for the house. That account was our focus," Maddy told Yahoo Finance.

Chanelle and Maddy stand on a balcony together (left) and smile in a car (right).
Chanelle and Maddy saved half of their pay since they started working and have now both bought properties. Source: Supplied

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"We always put 50 per cent of our wages in there every week and before our next pay cycle any left over money we would add to that account as well,” Maddy told Yahoo Finance.

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Both Maddy and Chanelle started working at the age of 14 and lived at home rent free while they saved.

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Maddy jumped between working at McDonalds, KFC and Boost Juice during her teens, earning about $15 per hour, for a minimum of 20 hours per week while at school and taking on more hours during school holidays. She is now a trained beauty therapist and was able to purchase her property in 2021.

Chanelle worked as a pharmacy assistant starting at $12 per hour with pay increases each year, working similar hours to her sister while at school. She now works as a dental assistant and bought her investment in 2023.

The properties are estimated to have climbed $80,000 in value since purchase.

Despite saving away half their earnings, the girls said they didn’t miss out on having fun during their teens and were even able to travel with family.

“I saved primarily for the house, but I also put money into other accounts for entertainment or birthdays. So, we had money to do these things,” Maddy said.

“Not many people my age even think about this stuff. Most are leading a 20-something lifestyle. Living week-to-week, or just paying off HECS or car debts. Not future planning.”

“I haven’t missed out on anything. But I am ahead of everyone else.”

Chanelle and Maddy McAnulty in two selfies together.
The sisters say they don't feel like they missed out on anything while they were saving for a house. Source: Supplied

Chanelle feels the same, saying she wanted to get into the market as soon as possible, but feels judgement when talking about property with others her age.

“This will change my future as I will be financially independent earlier than everyone else my age,” she said.

The sisters plan to expand their investment portfolios and have advice for others who want to do the same.

“Save as much as you can, don’t waste your money. Don’t spend it all on silly things just because you can. You can save and have a life,” Chanelle said.

Michael Beresford, executive director of property and investment services at OpenCorp, said WA was a good investment choice because it ensured the girls didn’t overextend themselves.

“Western Australia was the logical choice given the affordable entry price, high rental yields and extremely strong fundamental drivers for growth. Both the girls have now made at least $80,000 each since purchasing.”

Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee said WA was a great place to invest, but could also be a gamble.

Chanelle and Maddy McAnulty pose together.
The duo say they would advise other young people not to waste their money. Source: Supplied

“We know at the moment the highest yielding places are mining places, but they can be high risk.”

If a mine shuts down, the knock-on effect can be a significant reduction in workforce leading to high rental vacancies, she said.

“Conversely, there’s buying something that is low yielding and that you can afford to offset with your income.

"For example, buying an apartment in inner Sydney which you could buy from $750,000-$1 million, probably wouldn’t get a good rental yield, but the capital growth is higher.”

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