Home buying advice for millennials

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Home buying advice for millennials

26 Sep 2014


Millennials all over the world have been much slower to enter the property market than their parents or grandparents were, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be homeowners.

If your income is too low for the loan you have in mind, you’ll need to get rid of debt to become a more attractive borrower, and try to save a bigger deposit.

This is according to Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterBond Home Loans, who says the demand is especially noticeable among this group in South Africa, where first-time buying still accounts for about 40 percent of all home purchases at the moment.

He says one reason for this is that South Africa has a ‘young’ population, with more than a third of its people (38 percent) currently falling squarely into the 15 to 34 year old millennial category and likely to fuel the residential property market for years to come as their finances and families grow.

He says another is that South Africa has, since 1994, experienced a huge rise in the number of middle-class people for whom homeownership is a major aspiration, and who can afford to satisfy that aspiration at a much earlier age.

However, to make sure that buying a home makes financial sense, millennials need to know that they will be living there long enough (about five to seven years) to be able to recoup the ‘hidden costs’ of their purchase, such as transfer duty and bond registration and legal fees.

In addition, Rademeyer says they need to scrutinise their finances carefully before buying in order to maximise their mortgage potential. “For example, they need to review their credit histories, reports and scores to get a sense of how attractive they are as borrowers, because this will have a huge influence on how easily they will be able to obtain a home loan, how much they will be able to borrow, how big a deposit they will need and what interest rate they will be charged.”

And the easiest way to do this is to seek the help of a reputable mortgage originator to get pre-approved for a home loan.

Millennials should also consider the following before buying a home:


The debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is a common term used in the mortgage industry that measures potential borrowers’ monthly obligations versus gross income, and most banks will be looking for a level below 36 percent.

If it is higher, the borrower will need to reduce debt, increase income or consider buying a cheaper home.


Lenders want to see that borrowers can sustain homeownership and have the income to support the bond repayments, which is why they generally ask for pay slips and tax returns for at least two years to establish an income ‘history’.

If your income is too low for the loan you have in mind, you’ll need to get rid of debt to become a more attractive borrower, and try to save a bigger deposit.

The deposit

Although the BetterBond statistics show that the average deposit required by first-time buyers is currently only 11 percent of the purchase price, the bigger the amount you can put down, the better, as it will enable you to secure a better interest rate on your home loan, pay off your home faster and save thousands of rands in the long run.


The costs related to homeownership don’t end when you move in and since some of them may be quite unexpected for new buyers it is recommended that they have at least six months’ of living expenses in savings before signing an offer to purchase.


Author: Shaun Rademeyer CEO Better Bond

Submitted 09 Oct 14 / Views 3696