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For some people the rivalry never ceases, but a growing number of home hunters are now turning to their siblings to make the biggest purchase of their life.

With first home buyers having to save harder and longer than before, joining forces with a brother or sister is the only way to get a foothold on the property ladder. The median house price jumped 10 per cent to $600,000 over the year to May, while the median unit price rose 6 per cent to $422,000, Domain Group data shows.

Sisters Helen, 20, and Anna Shaw, 23, started funnelling their savings into property when they were teenagers.

But it certainly wasn’t easy. They started working in part-time jobs when they were in high school and continued throughout their law degrees at university.

The sisters built up a deposit together – with some help from their family – and bought a solid brick two-bedroom Victorian house in Cremorne.

‘At about 15, we had an informal discussion and agreed that it was a waste of money to rent,’ said Anna, who shares the house with a flatmate while her sister lives at home.

‘We worked out that if we borrowed an amount of money between the two of us – if we just paid a little bit more than what people our age were paying for rent – that we could make the repayments at a rate that was enough to make it worthwhile.’

There could be challenges if personal circumstances changed, she admitted, but they wrote a contract that ‘covered every possible scenario’.

‘If one of us wants to sell, the other one would have to buy them out. We couldn’t sell to a third party,’ she said.

And just like these sisters, a growing number of first home buyers are looking at this option. A survey by Mortgage Choice in 2013 shows 3.8 per cent of first time buyers bought with a sibling, compared with 1.8 per cent five years ago.

The senior economist from Domain Group, Andrew Wilson, said there had also been a shift, over a long period, from one wage being able to support a mortgage to two significant full-time wages.

‘There’s nothing that will stop the underlying demand and aspiration for home ownership, but it will require a longer wait in the queue or other means of saving faster to be able to get into the queue or to be able to borrow more to get the loan,’ he added.

Rob He, 26, a sales agent at LJ Hooker Hampton Park, said he bought an off-the-plan two-bedroom apartment in Abbotsford as an investment with his sister Michelle, 24, because shouldering monthly mortgage repayments by himself would challenging.

‘With the one income, it is a big commitment. Now I’ve got my sister in the picture, the risks and also the pressure is shared among the two of us,’ he said. ‘What better person to enter into [the market] with than your own sister?’

Kelly McBean, 22, and her brother Mark, 20, share the same thoughts.

They recently paid the deposit for a 375-square-metre block of land just five minutes’ drive from their family house in Berwick, and plan to build a three-bedroom house when it settles next month.

‘We decided to purchase together because neither of us would be able to do it ourselves,’ she said.

‘We both want to move out but neither of us want to rent, so this is a long-term investment and we can move out at the same time.’


Posted by Christina Zhou – Domain (The Age) on 11th July, 2014