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01 December 2023

'I just bought my first home for $100,000. But there's a catch.'

'I just bought my first home for $100,000. But there's a catch.'

Homeownership has long been considered a rite of passage for young adults in Australia. We grow up, we get a job and we save a portion of our wages until one day we are ready to put down a deposit for a home of our own.

But with the exorbitant price of real estate in 2023 that’s part of the greater cost of living crisis, will Millennials be the last generation to own property? 

A survey, conducted by Resolve Strategic earlier this year showed that 72 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 said they may now never own a home and according to the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare when the average price of a home in Sydney is $1.2 million, it is no great surprise.

Renting is no longer the affordable option it once was either and costs have risen sharply across the nation since COVID-19. Advertised rents in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne have risen the most -  by 13 per cent in just 12 months.   

Eryn Norris, 23, and her boyfriend Zac, 26, of the Central Coast in NSW are a Gen Z couple who may have found a solution. They just purchased their first home for $100,000 in July this year - but all is not quite what it seems.

We were living out of suitcases between my mum’s house and Zac’s parents' place and we just wanted some space.

“I am one of four sisters and while I had a bedroom at Mum’s, we had no privacy! After five years as a couple, it felt like it was time to take the next logical step. We wanted to be able to come home from university or a day of work, cook dinner, relax and go about our routine without getting under anyone’s feet. 

“Except when we began to look for places to rent, there was nothing in our price range.”

University of Newcastle student Eryn said that the salary from her part-time job when combined with Zac’s apprenticeship electrician income was not enough to pay the high rents in her region and that even if they could scrape enough money together to manage it each month, they would not be able to save for their own home.

“It was frustrating as we knew that homeownership was way down the track for us so we felt trapped by our situation.

“The turning point was when we got our dog, a German Shepherd called Tonka and she had to live at Zac’s parent’s place because the fences at mum’s property were not secure enough. When we first read about relocatable van homes, I was aware of granny flat-type options but assumed they were strictly for elderly people. I did not think they would work - or be big enough for us. 

“We were very surprised when we went to view one in the display village that it looks like a real house with a kitchen and a bathroom. There were several different layout and size options but we felt like the one-bedroom home at $100,00 was perfect for us and Tonka!”

“We still needed to secure a loan to help us pay it off, but unlike rent, our VanHome is an investment because even if we outgrow it, we can still sell it.”

Eryn’s mum kindly agreed that the couple could place their home on her property.


Affording your own home - mamamia.com.au


“Mum’s house was built by my grandfather and is very modest in size but is on a large block that was typical for his generation. 

“The day the VanHome was delivered on the truck was super exciting. They backed it in and then sort of unfolded it in place to its true size. It was then good to go! We have all the usual kitchen appliances; a TV and washing machine, a bed and even a clothesline in our fully fenced garden to keep Tonka safe. It gives us so much independence and space. It is now very much our ‘home’ and the only reason we need to go into the main house is for social reasons.”

The couple made sure they did their sums before making such a big purchase.

“We sat down together to work it all out. We looked at our weekly income to ensure we could afford it. We spoke about everything from phone bills, groceries, insurance, things for the dog and everything in between. We used a spreadsheet to enter the costs for everything and how we would spend our income."

“We know we are lucky that we have the option of somewhere to put the home and we pay my mum to use a share of her water and electricity as our home is connected to her supply. We also pay for gas bottles for cooking and heating water and they cost $145 each. It is affordable.”

VanHomes - Affording your own home

While Eryn believes her generation still strives to own a home eventually, it is different now thanks to the cost and she genuinely worries about some of her friends.

“One of my friends that lives close by is always complaining that they have no money because the rent just keeps going up. They struggle a fair bit and it is not okay."

“While there is still a sense among my peers that home ownership is something to aim for, I don't think it is seen as a top priority like it was for previous generations."

“I think a lot of my friends just hope to have a bit of space in some capacity and that many are planning on staying in their parent’s house indefinitely. Money-wise that was the only option we were looking at until we came across the idea of a VanHome.”

Eryn says that she and Zac adore their new lifestyle and would recommend it to anyone of not just their age, but any age who have the means.

“We have both lived in “normal” homes, and there is no difference to our new VanHome. We have every creature comfort we could desire. A lovely bathroom, washing machine, oven, stove, fridge, TV. everything you would have in a regular house we have in our own except we have saved a lot of money."

“It is the best of all worlds, and we love it!”

How to Buy a Vanhomes Granny Flat


This article was originally posted on Mamamia.