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Who is Mortgage Mates?

Who are we, what do we do and why are we here?

Mortgage Mates is like a dating app for home ownership. We match you with other users who have the same housing needs as you, enabling you to co-buy your home.

This is our first post using the Mortgage Mates blog. We have developed this space to enable us (your Mortgage Mates co-founders) to let you know more about who we are, what we do and why we are here. We hope to keep this blog active with information on how the website works, why we set it up and what our impact may be on the Australian Housing Market. The below is a little bit more about the website, and us, and we will be following this shortly with our first ‘original’ blog!

Mortgage Mates is like a dating app but for home ownership, matching you with individuals with the same housing preferences, i.e. location, cost and property type. Mortgage Mates is a revolutionary website for the Australian housing market, assisting you to enter the property market in half the time. It will allow you to choose the security of home ownership over rental properties and share houses. 

Using a unique algorithm Mortgage Mates matches you to other like-minded individuals to search for, apply for and purchase housing together. By matching with another user who shares your housing aspirations you can afford to purchase a home to live in, land to build on or an investment property with less financial risks and increased legal protection.

Daisy Ashworth – Co-Founder

Throughout her 12 years experience working within the legal, housing and welfare space Daisy began to identify a growing gap in the market leading to individuals finding themselves without a roof over their head. She noticed that younger generations were simply being priced out of the housing market, with no opportunity to purchase their own home and enter a competitive housing market. It was through this experience she developed the idea of connecting individuals together to allow them the opportunity to co-own a property.

Jess Vesely – Co-Founder

In 2017, Daisy and Jess crossed paths while working in the humanitarian sector and the idea for Mortgage Mates came to life. Jess has worked in the community development and humanitarian space for 5 years, working in Nepal post earthquakes providing strategic support and has since worked in strategy and program development in the youth and community development space. Jess has provided strategic direction and knowledge on the demographics of users, clarifying the importance of the sharing culture we live in today and a partnership began to form.

Since then we have worked alongside an engineering and software team to develop Mortgage Mates into what it is today – a space to connect with like-minded individuals to purchase a home, investment property or buy land to build on. 

“Through the use of innovative technological solutions, Mortgage Mates will disrupt the house market, providing all Australians the opportunity to own their own home.”Daisy Ashworth & Jess Vesely, Mortgage Mates

Now is the perfect time to buy!

Coming through a pandemic, it might seem unlikely that now is the right time to be buying a home. But research is showing, that for individuals, the economy and community, now could be the perfect time to buy a home, build more housing and invest in our futures.

For those of us who have remained in employment and are likely to have stable employment moving forward, there are some compelling reasons as to why now, might be the best time to buy.

Firstly, the cost of housing in some major cities is reducing, and whilst the reduction has not been significant, it is still of benefit to individuals looking to take their first steps into the property market. For example, Melbourne, a severely unaffordable market for home ownership, saw a reduction of 0.5 percent in early May.

With reduced housing cost, comes increased housing affordability. Realestate.com.au highlights in this in their piece ‘Five reasons why first-home buyers should buy right now despite COVID-19’. They believe there are five reasons why buying a home during a pandemic, is a good idea, and it seems like first time buyers are listening. The Urban Developer states that during the start of 2020 ‘first home buyers have remained active, edging up to capture a 32 per cent share of the lending market, the highest proportion since November 2009.’

With the risk associated with buying in the current market, investors have all but cancelled their interest in home ownership, at least in the short term. Again, this is substantiated by the Urban Developer who states that ‘investor lending dropped 1.3 per cent during the March quarter compared to the December quarter’ although this is still higher than the same figure last year.

Any decrease in activity in the current market, however small, means that sellers, who may themselves be impacted financially due to the pandemic, may be more open to offers from first time buyers.

Mozo.com.au explains what this actually means for first time buyers… ‘Prices may come down more and with less competition at open inspections, first homebuyers might have a chance to buy into a suburb that a few months ago they may have thought was out of reach,”. This is important, as research conducted by Mortgage Mates, has found that buying in the right location, is often of significant importance for homebuyers.

Interest rates are also at all time lows, which, combined with a lenders demands to fund, may mean there are increased opportunities for first time buyers and lower income earners to seek a good deal. It also means that by entering the property market, the cost of housing may be less than remaining in the rental market.

Realestate.com.au quotes CoreLogic, stating ‘that … more than a third of Australian properties had estimated mortgage repayments less than local weekly rents.’

An additional benefit for first time buyers in the current climate, is that they still have accessibility to government initiatives.

Realestate.com.au states ‘Each state and territory government has its own version of the First Home Owner Grant (and exemptions to stamp duty) which can be found by visiting firsthome.gov.au. On January 1 this year, the Federal government kickstarted its First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which assists eligible first-home buyers to get onto the property ladder with a deposit as low as 5 per cent. In the wake of coronavirus, the government has extended the 90-day time frame for finding a home to 180 days.’

Choosing to enter the market, not only positively impacts the individuals buying the home, but also helps contribute to an employment market which could help support the economy moving out of Covid-19.

With housing, comes construction, architecture, painting and decorating, interior design, landscaping and many other forms of employment. By increasing affordability, we can increase the number of properties built and completed, and therefor the number of people supported through employment in these varying areas.

AHURI states ‘Investing in housing construction is a key post-pandemic economic strategy to both boost jobs and to provide infrastructure that benefits a great number of Australians. This can include both increasing funding for supply of public and social housing dwellings, and providing shared equity finance for lower to mid income households to buy and build new homes.’

Mozo supports this view point saying “Real Estate is a big rock of economics, so governments use it to stimulate growth as the spin off jobs are so huge,” says Saggers. “Think furniture sales shops, electronics, household goods, electricians, plumbers, roads and infrastructure to new areas. All link to the sale of property.”

In addition to the above the private rental market in some cities is at an all time low for available accommodation- meaning the ability to locate and secure a private rental is even harder than usual. Prospective tenants are competing against multiple other applications and are often require rental payments above market value. Tenants are actually paying their landlords more money for a short term housing option than they would be for a mortgage on their own home.

For those who are currently a step or two away from owning their own home, there are still things that can be done to improve their home ownership journey.

By signing up to a co-ownership website like Mortgage Mates, it is possible for you to sign up to and create a profile which matches you to another individual looking to own a property in the future. By taking these steps now, you can start the process into co-ownership without having to outlay finance in the first instance.

Co-ownership can be a short or long term step into owning a home, but by taking the first step now, it can stop you feeling like the market is moving further away from you- as you are moving forward at the same time.
 

Version 2.0 is coming!

Mortgage Mates launched in 2019 and since then we have be listening closely to what has worked, what hasn’t and where we can improve. We have asked many of you for feedback, have sought feedback through mentors and investors, and we have taken this all on board to be bigger and better! We are therefore excited to announce…

Mortgage Mates version 2.0 will be launching next week!

So what will be new…?

For those paying close attention you may have already seen a few changes popping up over the last couple of months. We have added a subscription function, added some quotes from our users and changed some of the explanations about how Mortgage Mates works.

Yet through talking to many of you, we agreed that the most important part to get right is the match page. So we went back to the drawing board and re-thought this entire page. From next week this page will be much simpler, streamlined and will provide an overall better experience (we hope!). We will continue to seek feedback and would love to hear your thoughts as you navigate through this new experience!

Looking back to where we’ve started, and how far we’ve come…!

So as we go to launch version 2.0 we can’t help but think about how we’ve continued to grow and develop as a business and team over the last few years. To give you a little insight, here is a few of our first website designs draw with an orange highlighter at the pub!

It is safe to say our developers weren’t overly thrilled with these first drawings but from here we learnt about the online tools and programs needed to complete mock-up drawings and began to draw up something our developers could work with. We have learnt so much and while at times it feels like like we are learning how to build a plane, building it, and flying it, all at the same time – we wouldn’t have it any other way…. well maybe some money because hey bootstrapping is hard!

We have come a long way and want to thank you all for your support over the last few years – particularly to our partners (one of which is our developers!) for our endless bugging and talking about MM. We couldn’t have done it with out you!

So as we look to launch our second version we look back on how far we have come from an idea at a pub. Through hard work, passion and a bloody great team we are one step closer to our M shaped infinity pool! So I’ll leave you with this montage of some of the highlights from the last few years… and join us at the launch of 2.0 to cheers to the next few!

The rollercoaster of 2020…

For those new to Mortgage Mates, we launched our MVP last year to test the idea, seek feedback and learn from others. Since then we’ve been lucky to participate in two pre-accelerator programs, gain insight from our mentors, commence relationships with a number of third parties and pitch to investors. We have been overwhelmed with support over the last 12 months, people have loved the idea and its innovative solution to the housing crisis in Australia and have encouraged us to keep going.

This excitement and support, however, has not been without challenges as it certainly hasn’t been an easy 6 months. With one co-founder living in WA and the other in VIC it has been quite a rollercoaster through this pandemic. We have felt moments of excitement, had virtual opportunities we may never have had without COVID but have certainly felt the downs where motivation has plummeted through the long periods of isolation. Similar to all of you reading, this year has definitely not turned out how we had planned both personally and professionally – one of us was supposed to get married, we both had overseas trips scheduled, we haven’t been able to see our families all year, we had planned a number of trips to work on Mortgage Mates, we had opportunities to do face-to-face networking, pitches and accelerator programs and unfortunately none of this has been able to happen.

But amongst all this we have kept putting one step in front of the other to get Mortgage Mates off the ground. There have been some fantastic highlights including TV and radio appearances and articles in a number of media outlets including The West Australian, and these have continued to re-energise us. While challenging at times, we have kept the momentum going and have some exciting news coming up (watch this space!).

We want to acknowledge that this year has had a different impact on everyone. Many have lost all their income… others have saved more than expected; businesses have been forced to close… new ones have opened but one thing we almost all have in common is that 2020 has turned our lives upside down in one way or another. If you had told us a year ago we’d have 8pm curfews, 1 hour limits outside our home and 5km restrictions it would have been incomprehensible, yet now it is our new normal. One thing, however, that has been remarkable to watch throughout this time is our ability to adapt and think outside the box. Businesses have completely shifted their models from drinks at a bar turning into virtual wine tastings with tiny bottles delivered to your door, painting workshops done via Zoom and 3-course restaurant dinners with the restaurant’s Spotify playlist in your living room.

It has shown us that there are so many different ways of doing things – and while they may not be perfect that can bring a unique excitement and opportunity that we didn’t have before. The flexibility of working from home and many jobs for the first time being offered to candidates in regional areas shows the standard way of having to live near a capital city, working a 9 to 5pm work schedule is no longer the only way.

Don’t get us wrong, we can’t wait to be able to have beers together and for things to be “normal” again but we hope that this year has taught us a few lessons… there is more than one way to do things and while it might not have been how you imagined (buying a house with a stranger for example?) it can bring some new and exciting opportunities. We need to shake up the “norm”, the world can throw spanners that can turn everything upside down almost instantly so cease the moment, take that leap.. (all the clichés!) But if we have learned anything from Mortgage Mates and 2020, it’s that we should do something we’ve always wanted to and never got around to and not be afraid to try something new that might be outside the box…you never know what you might achieve!

Mates tips for saving money.

Small changes in spending can make big impacts when it comes to buying your first home. Whilst thinking about the cost of home ownership can seem overwhelming, there are small, easy steps you can take to make sure you are on the right path when it comes to affording your own home.

Because there are so many awesome budgeting and savings websites- we won’t be going too in-depth on this topic. What we wanted to do was show you basic and easy ways that you can save money and enter the property market more quickly. We will include some useful links at the bottom of this post, to help you in the right direction for further information.

The biggest step you have already taken to entering the housing market, is looking at co-ownership. By reading this blog, you know about, and have hopefully signed up to Mortgage Mates! Whether you are looking to find some one to co-own with, or you are checking your housing options with an existing co-owner, by buying with two or more other people, you are already reducing the cost to build or buy in the current housing market.

In addition to this, by looking at your existing expenditure and making small changes to the things you buy, the way you save and the way you budget, you can put more money towards your own home and less to other, more frivolous (although possibly awesome) things.

In the Daily Mail (31st May), Susie Burrell looks at ways in which you can save when food shopping and this is a prime example of where small changes can make a big impact.

Susie compares two sets of items, which whilst similar in content, vary greatly in price. As an example, instead of buying a 500g punnet of raspberries for $22.00, you can buy a 500g of frozen raspberries for $4.00. You can also swap fresh spinach at $5.00 a pop for frozen spinach for 95c! If you change all the items Susie suggests you would be able to spend $17.20 per week on food instead of $63.00. The total saving in the suggestions made by Ms Burrell means you could have an additional $3000 a year in your own pocket.

Whilst not all savings apply to each person, by saving even $10.00 a week on food you can be $520 a year better off.

Before starting to save for your home, it is worth completing a full budget to look at all the expenditure you currently make, and to highlight any areas where you may be able to make some changes. As an example, do you currently have Foxtel at home? The cost of these TV channels can cost upwards of $120 per month. By swapping this to Netflix you could reduce the cost to as little as $10.00 per month. This saving would be an additional $1300 a year in money towards your home.

Your budget can be completed by yourself, or you can link in with a financial councillor who will walk through your budget with you to make sure its completed correctly. Even small savings can add up over a year- and by making a number of small changes this can add up to big financial benefits.

Again, a $4.00 coffee every work day is $1000 a year! If you and your partner purchase a Take-Away once a week, you could save up to $2600 by reducing it from $100 to $50 per week.

The reason we have developed Mortgage Mates is that we don’t believe you should have to give up all the things you love to be able to own your own home. By co-owning with another buyer, you can spend less than half the amount of your weekly rent on a mortgage. This means that once you have bought a house you can afford to have your daily coffee and the much needed smashed avocado on occasion.

It is important when completing your budget that you be as realistic and honest as you can be. Whilst it may look better on paper to shave $5.00 or $10.00 off each spend, the actual difference this will make to your budget will be significant. It also means any timelines attached to your budget are likely to be unrealistic and for every month you delay buying a property, you risk the property market increasing in value.

Another top tip is to make sure you think about all expenditures associated to a budget line. For example, when you consider transport as a cost, make sure you include both private and public costs, as well as additional, one off costs that may need to be included in the calculation (you may only pay your car registration six monthly but the cost will need to be included in your weekly or monthly budget).

The included diagrams are free for you to download and include as part of your budgeting journey. There are some fantastic apps which you can use to help manage your money and once you have made the savings that work for you- you will be one step closer to owning your own home.

Below are some useful links to start your savings journey.

https://www.savings.com.au

https://moneysmart.gov.au/using-comparison-websites

Welcome Page

If this piece has proved useful for you, be sure to sign up to our email subscription service. We will be providing more helpful tips and tricks over the coming months to help you enter the property market quickly.

You can also sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram handle to stay connected to all things Mortgage Mates.

Thanks Covid-19, now what?

If you were thinking of entering the property market in the next year or two, you may be wondering how this will work now, thanks to all things Covid-19. Depending on your current location and situation, the landscape may have started to shift quite significantly for you and you may feel less in control than you wanted to when it comes to all things housing.

However just because things may have changed for you, does not mean you can’t still plan to look for your first home over the coming months. What it may mean is the way you buy, the type you buy or the place you buy in may be slightly different.

If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that we can move and pivot much quicker than we probably imagined, and so whilst other things may be a bit further away from you at the moment, your home ownership journey doesn’t have to be.

If you are currently experiencing lock down, or, your savings have reduced because of a change in employment why not consider co-owning? Co-owning exists in many forms and there are a number of ways you can own with other people now in Australia.

Mortgage Mates specialises in our Mates being able to own a home with another person, so you can co-live together as well as create equity using property as an investment.

This may sound a little bit odd at first. Why would you live with a stranger and buy a house with them? But the way we see it, so many of us already do share our homes (hands up if you have shared a dorm room with others, rented a room in a property or lived in a share house?) This is the exact same premise as Mortgage Mates except YOU GET TO OWN A HOME!

We often think owning a home with some one else can only come when we find a partner, but at Mortgage Mates we think we can apply the same logic to buying with others. As long as you protect your legal interests (which we will absolutely help you with) it is a safer, quicker and easier way to enter the housing market.

Photo by Fox on Pexels.com

Whilst Covid-19 and the future as it may look for a while, pans out, you can use our website to start planning your housing journey. If you are interested in co-owning either to live in, or invest, all you need to do is sign up to the website. This means that you can start the co-ownership process whilst lock down is still in progress! It also means when we start heading back to normality you will be one stop closer to owning a home.

By buying with a Mate, you are also reducing the amount of deposit you need and the amount a mortgage repayment will cost. If you were originally looking at a 500k property before the pandemic, by buying with another person you would only need the deposit for a 250k property and the weekly costs (mortgage bills and outgoings) will be split in half! This makes home ownership much more achievable than it may have been without a co-owner.

If you aren’t sure about signing up to the website you can also chose to like us on Facebook or sign up to our subscription service, both of these options are still moving you forward to owning a home but are a smaller jump than becoming a Mate straight away.

We know buying with another person may not be what you had planned, but before Covid-19 came in to play many of us didn’t think we would be able to work from home, or do yoga online, so why not buy a house with a Mate and prove even in a pandemic, home ownership is absolutely achievable!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Steps to buying a house with your Mortgage Mate.

Buying a house is going to be one of the largest but most exciting things you do ever get to do. It might seem scary, and a bit overwhelming at first, but Mortgage Mates is here to help you understand the process and take the steps you need to take to co-own a home together.

We know that buying a house with a ‘Stranger’ is new and different, and possibly not the way you thought you would buy a home when you were growing up. But the rest of the process, and the impact owning a home has for you will be exactly the same as buying a house on your own, or with a family member, partner or friend!

To get the ball rolling you need to decide what type of property to go for, and start looking. It may take some time before you find the right place, and things you think you may want, may be different once you start looking at houses together. Consider the location, style and of course price of the properties you are looking at. If you are considering a strata home, or an apartment, look at any additional costs that may come with fees and associated extras with the property.

The first question to ask is whether you and your Mate want to build, or buy. Are you both going to live in the property, and if so what do you both need to make that work. Depending on which option you chose, will vary the time lines and processes involved.

For the most part, we will be focusing on when you buy a property together, but if you would like us to do a build version too- just send us a message and we will get writing that up for you.

As you start looking at houses, you should also start checking that your finances match your housing needs. The cost of buying a property comes with some hidden extras, such as fees, inspections and stamp duty. Not only do you need to pay for the deposit and organise the mortgage, you also need to manage the other costs associated with buying your home.

To make the process easier you can apply for Pre-Approval of your loan, which means you know before you make an offer, that you qualify for the mortgage you need for that house. There are lots of mortgage products out there, with different pro’s and con’s. Speak to banks and mortgage brokers to find the one that works for you. http://www.mortgagemates.com.au has links to a number of providers who offer specialised mortgages specific to co-owners. Use our ‘What’s Next’ page to start this process.

Buy the house! Again, the process will vary depending on the type of house purchase you are making. In Australia most homes are sold either via private sale or auction. In this instance we are talking about private sales but there are plenty of websites who offer specialised information on auctions and buying this way so we can add some information on this later on if you think this may be useful.

Provide the seller with a conditional offer. You can state the amount you are willing to spend on the property (this can be less than the seller is asking for) and make it conditional to finance and pest/other building inspections. Speak to your Real Estate Agent about what checks are needed and how these can be organised. This means you can be confident that the house you are buying meets the needs you have, and should prevent any surprises popping up later down the track.

Depending on where you are based in Australia, you may qualify for an exemption to Stamp Duty if your house is under a certain amount, or you may qualify for a First Home Buyer Grant. Your mortgage advisor should be assisting you with these things as you progress through the buying process. Make sure you ask questions of both the Real Estate Agent, and your Mortgage advisor so you feel clear and comfortable every step of the way!

Once everything is organised, you and the seller agree the settlement period. This often takes between 30 and 90 days and is the time you both have to get everything in order. Once the time period has ended the finance will need to be paid in full and the seller will need to have vacated the property.

Move in! You have done it! You have used an innovative way to own your home. Now is the time to enjoy being a home owner and creating your new community. Use the moving in period to put your stamp on the place, and with your Mate plan how the next few years are going to look for you as Mortgage Mates!

From Co-working to Co-living… why not both?

The idea of co-working has been around for a long time and co-living spaces is now growing and evolving both in Australia and internationally.

But what actually is it?

Realistically, it can be many things and is different for each situation and person but in essence it is the idea of a community living or working together in a shared space with shared intentions and values. In the working sense, it is about networking, bouncing off each other’s ideas and energy and sharing resources and office spaces. For living, it may be driven by wanting to increase social connection, reduce your carbon footprint, saving money or building a sense of community with like-minded individuals.

The world is rapidly changing economically and the need to embrace out of the box solutions is now more true than ever. Co-working spaces have shown huge benefits in the entrepreneurial space and for small businesses, allowing them to share resources such as boardrooms, office rent, in house support while being a hub for creativity, collaboration and networking.  This concept of co-working spaces links closely to co-living, with similar benefits.

Co-working space

While it isn’t for everyone, co-living can provide a lively, exciting and nurturing community. It can also be shaped in many different ways, there is the typical co-living space your mind might immediately jump to (think college dorm) and then there are places like Nightingale Housing where each person has their own separate apartment but also has access to communal spaces, communal laundries, shared rooftop gardens, bath houses, multi-purpose rooms and shared providers, while being sustainable and efficient at the same time.

There are many different forms of co-living and one that is currently growing is the idea of a co-living entrepreneurship. Many are now looking to combine the two and create co-living and working spaces into one flexible environment. Think – private apartments with shared office spaces, laundry facilities, gyms and swimming pools. By doing this it allows you to increase your work-life balance (no 9 to 5 grind), reduce costs associated with renting a traditional office, create a hive for productivity and creatively and create spaces to collaborate and grow new ideas.

If you’ve ever wanted to start your own business and turn the ideas you have into a reality – could co-working and living be for you?

I already have a Mate, so what about me?

Mortgage Mates specialises in enabling all Australians to be able to own their own home. We believe co-ownership is a key solution to housing affordability and have developed our algorithm to ensure users can match with new Mates, or, confirm their existing Mates match their home ownership needs.

If you have already found a partner, friend or family member to own a home with, Mortgage Mates can ensure that before you start the process of co-ownership, you are clear about how you want to buy, who you want to buy from and how long you want to buy together for.

Whilst many of us don’t view buying with a partner as co-ownership, it is actually the most traditional form of co-ownership available. By buying with a significant other, you are sharing the ownership, liability and profitability of a property, and potentially your home.

You may be asking, why you would need to use Mortgage Mates when buying with some one that you know, but our research shows, that the hard conversations that are needed when owning a house with some one don’t take place when we know the other person.

We don’t ask to verify our partners income and financial stability or request a police check from a family member before we sign the mortgage agreements. We assume, because of the trust we place in them, that they will share any information we may need to know before buying.

We also know that when deciding what style of property to buy, or what location to buy in, we are more likely to compromise when buying with some one we know, as we do not want to upset them, or damage the relationship we have.

This is where Mortgage Mates comes in. By signing up to our website with your partner, family member or friend, you can both enter your housing preferences into the website to see if what you say you want, and what you actually want, match with your co-owner. For example, you may both agree you want to live in Victoria, but one of you may want to live in Northcote and one may wish to live in Essendon. By knowing this information now- you can work together to look at which location works best for both of you, and where you both wish to buy a house moving forward.

Mortgage Mates uses F and Q’s, info sheets and blog posts, to support our co-owners in their co-ownership journey. Our website has a ‘What’s Next Page’ which links users into suitable mortgage providers, real estate websites and legal advisors who can ensure the relevant steps are taken and legal protections are provided.

It can seem tempting, when buying with some one you know and care about, not to worry about the legal side of buying a home. After all, we don’t go into the relationship assuming it may not work. But whilst putting a co-ownership agreement in place won’t damage the relationship when buying together, failing to have the agreement may enable the relationship to sour further than imagined, should a separation occur.

By following the steps on our website, you can seperate the emotion, from the process, and feel confident that both you and your co-owner are clear on what needs to be completed before you buy a home together. In this instance we aren’t turning Strangers, into Mates, but ensuring, Mates stay Mates.

Housing post Covid-19

The Great Australian Shame?

The face of the Australian housing crisis is often seen as an individual, currently without a home, visible but ignored on the streets of our capital cities across Australia. 

But the impact of unstable housing and the lack of affordable homes, runs much deeper than this and affects many more people than we would think. 

The definition of homelessness by the Australian Bureau of Statistics states:

‘when a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives they are considered homeless if their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
  • does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations.

The ABS definition of homelessness is informed by an understanding of homelessness as ‘home’lessness, not ‘roof’lessness.’ 

We know that not having a place to call home, impacts not only our ability to maintain connection to community, family and friends, but also reduces our physical, emotional, financial and mental health.

Pre Covid-19 housing at all ends of the spectrum, from crisis accommodation to home ownership, came with their own issues and failures. These impacts and challenges have increased throughout the duration of the pandemic, and will continue to escalate as more and more people have their income reduced, savings diminished and futures impacted. 

In particular our younger cohort, who were already struggling to enter the housing market due to systemic challenges are likely to face further struggles to maintain secure accommodation due to a loss of income and reduced savings. 

Prior to the pandemic, crisis accommodation was limited in number, with strict criterion placed on potential residents from age and gender to family make up and relationship status. With an increase in street present individuals caused by the reduction in employment there is going to further stretch to these resources. A failure to act quickly at this crisis stage can result in an individual facing a much more difficult transition out of homelessness.  For young people left without income due to Covid-19 it is possible that they will enter the homeless cycle if they are without family or friends to support them. 

Private rental accommodation is expensive and unstable, with tenants often being restricted to six and 12 month lease agreements and frequent rental increases. The Anglicare Rental Affordable Snapshot 2019 found that of 69,485 private rentals, only 2% were affordable to a single person on the minimum wage. This was reduced to 0% when looking for properties affordable to a single person on New Start Allowance.

For young people aged 18-35, who have little or no capability of owning their own home in the traditional sense, the volatile private rental market becomes their only housing option. This becomes even more precarious when a persons’ income is also unstable (casual or zero hour contracts) or part time (working to enable further study) or has been significantly impacted by the pandemic (hospitality and retail positions). Whilst government initiatives are being implemented at the moment to minimise the risk to renters, the long term impact on a young persons ability to secure an affordable private rental has diminished because of the pandemic. 

For individuals seeking long term stable housing options, home ownership is the strongest and safest option- however Australia already has the 2nd most expensive housing market in the world and prior to Covid-19 only 45% of individuals under the age of 35 owned their own home. The ability to enter the home ownership market is going to be further impacted, with young people under 35 facing significant financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic with a reduction in not only their current income, but also any savings they had achieved for a house deposit. 

The importance of viewing the housing market as a whole of continuum is that each sector of the market needs to create sustainable change to positively impact the housing choices of young people in Australia. 

Over the past 12-24 months significant inroads have been made in some areas of the market, with new, innovative platforms being created within the #proptech space. These models take existing restrictions and pivot them to create sustainable, affordable and achievable housing choices. 

In the private rental market ‘The Home hub’ has created an online platform that provides a social response to private rental accommodation. 

Home Hub is Western Australia’s first advertising service and one-stop hub for safe, secure and affordable homes – connecting people who need a safe, secure and affordable place to call home with the homes that are currently available to choose from.

We aren’t just talking about homelessness, in fact, over 60,000 households in WA are doing it tough…’

In the shared housing space, #coliving developments are being created to replace tired and expensive HMO properties (House of Multiple Occupation), pivoting the shared rental space into a creation of community, allowing individuals to benefit from an affordable place to stay, alongside shared amenities and collective outcomes. 

Since 2019, the co-ownership space in Australia has been growing with websites like Mortgage Mates (www.mortgagemates.com.au) being developed to enable individuals to co-own a home together. By matching two or more users to own a property, the ability to enter the housing market is increased, as the deposit and income amount required are reduced by half. By owning a property with another person, individuals are able to buy in the location they want to live in, not in the place they can afford to buy. This creates connection to community, family and friends. 

‘Mortgage Mates is like a dating app but for home ownership, matching you with individuals with the same housing preferences, i.e. location, cost and property type. Mortgage Mates is a revolutionary website for the Australian housing market, assisting you to enter the property market in half the time. It will allow you to choose the security of home ownership over rental properties and share houses.’

Whilst these options aren’t for every individual, and don’t eliminate the increased risk our young people face in the property market following Covid-19- they go some way to supporting a currently difficult housing market and ensure eventually, every Australian has a place to call home. 

Earn an income from your home!

Buying a house is probably going to be the most expensive purchase you ever make! But in the world of technology, not only can you reduce the cost of home ownership by owning with your Mate, you can also find ways to monetise your property in new and unique ways!

When looking at revenue streams, the first option is to purchase a house for the sole purpose of creating revenue. This is achieved, by owning as an investment property. Of course this means you will not be able to live in the property yourselves (at least in the first instance) but it can be a great financial option if you have an alternative place to live and either want to move in the future or want to keep a second property as an investment home. If you and your Mate buy to invest then make sure this information is clear from the beginning- and clarify what the time frames for investment might look like. You can use the co-ownership agreement to mark our the terms and conditions of the investment and any strategies for exit you wish to include.

If, however, you want to live in the property that you buy with your Mate there can still be ways to create an income whilst you are living there.

Below are some options for you to look into either as an income generator for your property or a cost reduction for your home.

If you want to live in the home but still want to make an ongoing or frequent income from spare bedrooms or space in the home, you can list the property on Airbnb. Probably one of the better known gig economies for generating revenue, you can use this platform to share your home, either on a temporary basis whilst you are there, or for periods when you are away from the home. You can use it to rent a room as and when additional income is needed, or offset the cost of your holiday accommodation by renting your home out to others whilst you are away. The income available from Airbnb depends on the location, style and time your property is available, but could be a great way to increase your revenue when needed.

This option for income, can now be extended further- with you renting the spare outdoor space you have, to set up a tent or camper trailer. Home Camper allows you to help individuals find the great outdoors, whilst also receiving an income as and when you want it. Whilst this option does require space and may not be for everyone, if you have a spare backyard to take advantage of, it may make you an additional $10-$20 per day.