Sacrifices of a First Home Buyer

Sacrifices of a First Home Buyer

Read the full Domain article here. Or, refer to the excerpt below. 


From original: 

Saving for a first-home deposit is a challenging journey. Often, it comes with a heavy price tag and a series of significant sacrifices. That was the reality for recent first-home buyer Ben Bailey, but he managed to save more than $100,000 on his own.

The journey was far from easy, says Bailey, who became a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) miner 18 months ago and recently bought a property in Springfield, in Greater Brisbane.


“I’ve had to be away from home and not see my family or mates for long periods of time,” he says. “You sacrifice that social life, your sporting commitments that you enjoy and just spending time with people … I haven’t had a Christmas at home for years now.”

In 18 months, Bailey saved $120,000 for a house deposit without help from his family – otherwise known as the Bank of Mum and Dad, a common resource that many first-time home buyers rely on amid high interest rates, rising prices, and borrowing restrictions.

Ben Bailey in front of his new home in Springfield in Greater Brisbane. Photo: Supplied

Ben Bailey in front of his new home in Springfield in Greater Brisbane. Photo: Supplied

Bailey says before joining the mines, he was living in Melbourne, where saving wasn’t easy, as he had to pay rent, utility bills, and vet bills for his two dogs – who are now living with his parents.

“Sometimes, things were pretty expensive and with just one income, I was struggling to save,” he says. “It took me about three years to save $15,000 … it probably would’ve taken me another 10 to 11 years to get to $100,000 at that rate.”

Domain chief of research and economics Dr Nicola Powell says the time it takes for a first-home buyer to save for a property has blown out in recent years. 

It takes five years and two months to save a 20 per cent deposit on an entry-level house in Brisbane. In Sydney, that time is stretched even further to six years and eight months, according to the Domain First-Home Buyer Report.

“We know the length of time to save is long, and is particularly lengthy when you’re saving individually,” Powell says. “It’s challenging in this economy to save that much money – it’s years and years of sacrifice.


“The reality for many first-home buyers is that they’re saving in every way they can so they can fast-track that home-ownership journey.”

Brisbane buyer’s agent Lauren Jones of Lauren Jones Buyers Agency says the Bank of Mum and Dad is the only option for many first-home buyers (and not at all for many others) but some buyers have managed to save a deposit all on their own.

“About 50 per cent of my first-home buyers saved on their own, and the other 50 per cent are using the Bank of Mum and Dad or have received some help from their family, like staying with their parents while saving,” Jones says.

“I think a big part of why buyers are out and about, especially first-home buyers, is because rents are so expensive and they all want the same thing – properties under the $700,000 mark.”

1/51 Australia Street, St Marys NSW 2760

1/51 Australia Street, St Marys NSW 2760


Bailey bought a three-bedroom standalone property for about $670,000 . With a deposit of $120,000, his weekly mortgage repayments would be about $864 on a standard variable interest rate of 6.44 per cent.

Now officially a home owner, Bailey intends on working in the mines for a little while longer.

“The plan was always to work for 12 months and get that initial deposit,” he says. “But I guess since then, I’ve enjoyed the work more than I thought – even though I’m away from family and my mates – so I’ll probably look at working for another five to 10 years.”

Mortgage broker Matt Turner of GSC Finance Solutions says the first-home buyers he deals with save between $50,000 to $60,000 for a house deposit.

12 Zamma Street, Augustine Heights QLD 4300

12 Zamma Street, Augustine Heights QLD 4300


“We have buyers with less savings but I would say that’s the average,” he says. “Buyers want to get that 5 per cent minimum deposit so they’re eligible for all the first-home buyer concessions.”

Turner says that some clients, whom he describes as “outliers”, have managed to save more than that over an extended period of time.

“I’ve had clients who’d been saving since they left school, close to 10 years,” he says. “I’ve also had buyers who been in circumstances where they had access to that deposit much sooner, and clients who are FIFO workers who’ve been able to save more a lot quickly – but of course, they’re away from their family and friends – so each buyer has different circumstances.”