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How do I get a home - home ownership and financial security

08 November 2021

Home ownership is a crucial aspect of women’s financial security. These tips from experts on how to get a home may help unlock the property market for you.

Lucinda Habeebeh

Every day seems to bring another headline about the property market. Not all of them positive, but there are ways into the housing market – and it all starts with talking to your bank, says Westpac Home Finance Manager Lucinda Habeebeh (above).

“The first thing I tell absolutely everyone is speak to a lender and know your limits and budgets. You want to avoid the disappointment of finding a property you love, and then going to the bank and finding it’s out of your reach,” she says.

“A lot of people wait until they find a property they love and then come to a bank. The best way to go about it is talking to a lender and getting an understanding of what your borrowing power is. Based on that you can reverse engineer it with your deposit and figure out your ideal purchase price.”

You can hear more from Lucinda on our Ruby Connection Lunch and Learn panel on home ownership, alongside buyers’ advocate Cate Bakos and conveyancer Jennifer Pham.

Home ownership for security

Head of Women’s Markets Felicity Duffy believes home ownership was important when it came to building a secure financial future for women.

“Home ownership is a crucial aspect of women’s financial security, both throughout their working lives and in retirement. Yet women are underrepresented in home ownership. On average, women still earn less than men, and their superannuation balances are lower,” she says.

“If we are serious about women’s financial security, we need to do everything we can to help increase the number of women who own property, by addressing inequities in wealth, income and retirement savings.”

Recent research from CoreLogic suggests women are underrepresented in home ownership.

The Women and Property: State of Play report published earlier this year found in Australia, 26.2 per cent of properties were owned by a woman, compared to 29.9 per cent owned by a man, and 43.9 per cent owned by at least one male and one female.

In New Zealand, 20.3 per cent of properties analysed were owned by females, with 22.9 per cent owned by males, and 56.8 per cent owned by both males and females.

But many women are motivated to enter or increase their presence in the market.

The 2018 Westpac Home Ownership Report found women were more likely to be considering action on the real estate market than men – either buying a home (28 per cent of women versus 20 per cent of men) or selling one (17 per cent, 14 per cent).

Buying a home

And those trends anecdotally seem to have survived the pandemic, Lucinda says.

“In terms of single purchasers, I’m seeing more women,” she says.

While everyone’s circumstances are different, in the current hot market Lucinda said she was increasingly seeing people rent where they want to live and buy where they can afford to.

“One possibility is if you can’t afford to buy in the area you want to live in, rent there and buy an investment property you can afford with a realistic budget, at least you have a foot in the market,” she says.

And she urges women not to be discouraged by headlines about housing affordability.

“If people think they’re never going to get into the property market, talk to a lender because you don’t know until you ask.”

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

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