What housing affordability crisis? If you’re a gen Y having trouble getting into the property market, take a lesson from this 19-year-old.

Nathan Youd bought his first property on his 18th birthday — he was ready to go at 17, but wasn’t old enough.

The former plumbing apprentice bought the three-bedroom brick house in the western Sydney suburb of Hebersham* for $330,000 with a $30,000 deposit.

But it wasn’t easy — he worked at a pizza shop four nights a week since the age of 15, saving most of his pay. That money, combined with savings from his apprenticeship, made up the bulk of his deposit. “I saved $28,000 — my parents lent me $2000,” he says.

Mr Youd says owning a property had been his dream for as long as he could remember. “It was my goal as a kid. My parents were always renting — I didn’t want to rent my whole life,” he says. “They’re really happy with what I’ve done. It’s set me up for life.”

Having a goal to work towards from such an early age arguably gave him a headstart over his friends, who would spend most of their wage.

“I worked hard when I was a kid to save,” he says. “I spent my money as well but I was smart with it. Say I earnt $600 a week, I’d save $400 and spent $200.”


Knocked down from an initial asking price of $350,000, the Hebersham property is now worth more than $400,000, and is earning positive rental income.

His goal is simple. “I want to retire in my 30s with a positive income,” he says.

The average age for owning an investment property is 34 but for gen Ys it’s 25, a Domain Consumer Insights Study shows. Sixteen per cent of generation Y own two or more properties, on par with baby boomers and gen X, according to the report.

Unfortunately, Australia also boasts one of the most expensive housing markets in the world. Between 2001 and 2011, the median house price in Australia more than doubled from $169,000 to $417,500, while median annual incomes only increased by half from $36,000 to $57,000.

Property investor Zaki Ameer, founder of buyer’s agency Dream Design Property, says he has helped young people like Nathan get into the property market on salaries as low as $30,000.

DDP has started a new program dubbed Kickstart, aimed at helping 18 to 24-year-olds buy their first investment property.


“The first thing we did was go to the banks and say, what’s the minimum income you need for a $200,000 property,” he says. “I thought it was impossible but then we did the numbers.

“We buy undermarket, renovate, refinance, take the equity out instead of paying capital gains, and then look for the next one. We only look for houses where the rent will cover all expenses.”

The best up-and-coming suburbs:


“With 11,000 new houses being built in this northern belt of Melbourne, just 35 kilometres from the CBD, and housing 30,000 people, it will feature schools, parkland, a shopping complex and excellent transport links. As a guide, a new house and land package (three bed, two bath) at the suburb the developer is modelling it off sets you back around $350,000.”



“Now one of Sydney’s fastest growing suburbs, Parramatta looks to grow even more with the building of 6,000 residences in the north of the suburb and a continuously expanding shopping and cafe scene. Currently, a newly built one-bedroom apartment on Parramatta’s waterfront is on offer at $496,000.”


“Only 15 kilometres from the CBD this suburb in the north of Brisbane, it also has great transport links, amenities and shopping centres. A newly renovated two-bedroom home on a large block will cost around $459,000.”


“Just five kilometres from the CBD and close to the airport, Brooklyn Park is close to Harbour Town shopping centre and Torens Linear Park which boasts a cycle and walking path from the city to the sea. A brand new four-bedroom, two-bathroom house with parking is $399,000.”



“Only five kilometres from the CBD in the north of Perth is Joondana which has good road and rail links to the beach and CBD and access to a well-established cafe and restaurant strip on Main Street. A new two-bedroom apartment will set you back $459,000.”


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