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Housing affordability expert warns millennials are likely to be trapped in the rent cycle forever

While some young people may have their family’s financial support at the ready to help them jump the deposit-gap hurdle, housing affordability expert Ian Ugarte has claimed “ignorant” millennials are making “bad assumptions” which could put them at risk of never owning a home.

“There are three underlying beliefs that are entrenched in the minds of most Aussie millennials that are keeping them ‘trapped’ in the rental cycle forever,” housing affordability specialist Ian Ugarte said.

“Firstly, people believe they need to live in the house they buy. But there’s nothing wrong with buying a property you have no plans of living in long term, if ever,” he said.

“Naturally, there are tax benefits to buying and then living in that property, but given so many of us are working from home, there are also tax benefits to running a home-based business from a rented home office.”

Mr Ugarte said millennials believe they must “abandon their chosen lifestyle” in order to afford a home.

“But it’s far better to buy where you can afford to as soon as you can, and then use the investment income to help pay the rent where you do want to live – a process known as ‘rent-vesting’,” he said.

“That’s because the sooner they get into the market and reap the rewards of capital growth and cashflow, the faster they’ll be able to save for a deposit in an area they do want to live in.”

The second belief Mr Ugarte wanted to bust was around government grants. He warned budding homeowners against claiming a government grant, just because they were eligible for it.

“While it’s tempting to grab any first home buyer’s grant or stamp duty relief that you can get your hands on and plan your purchase around that, be aware that not all grants are created equally, and there’s often more financial gain to be made by being strategic.

“I’ve seen people use a $25,000 grant to spend $50,000 too much on a property. Not only that, taking up a grant might also limit the way you are able to use the property for best returns.

“And if you don’t buy your first home to live in, but instead buy it as an investment, many states allow you to access those grants down the track – even five or 10 years later – when you do decide to become an owner-occupier,” he said.

Finally, Mr Ugarte flipped the lid on the idea that you have to own a property in order to make money from it.

“This third one is a bit out of the box, and needs a genuine entrepreneurial mindset to think through it, but we’ve helped our ‘rentrapreneur’ clients with limited savings get into the market by learning how to legally have their own tenants in a property they don’t even own.

“This approach is clearly not well known, but the system can definitely give renters a cash injection when saving up for a deposit.

“Obviously, strict regulations apply to this approach, but those who use it accumulate savings a lot faster to help them move on from renting and into their own home,” he said.

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