Unlocking homeownership: Alternative pathways to housing affordability

Key takeaways

  • Alternative options for homeownerships, such as rent-to-buy schemes, shared equity homeownership, co-living, and kit homes.

  • The key benefits of homeownership, including housing security, financial stability, increased wellbeing, and a stronger sense of community.

The landscape of homeownership in Australia has transformed over the years. Escalating property prices, stagnant wage growth, and the high cost of living have combined to make it difficult for many individuals, especially younger Australians, to step onto the property ladder.

While the traditional route to homeownership through a straightforward savings plan might no longer be feasible or timely for many aspiring homeowners, various alternative and practical pathways are emerging, making the dream of owning a home more attainable.

These alternative options include:

  • Co-living or co-housing – A trend that’s gaining momentum is co-living or co-housing. Multi-generational families are exploring the idea of living together or building separate dwellings on their land for their children or parents. This concept is often referred to as ‘Accessory Dwelling Units’ (ADU).

  • Rent-to-buy schemes – These schemes allow you to rent a property with the option to buy it in the future, offering a stepping stone to ownership while you build up your finances.

  • Shared equity homeownership – This approach involves purchasing a home with a partner, like a government agency or non-profit organisation, which shares the cost and risk, making it more affordable for first-time buyers.

  • Tiny homes – Compact, energy-efficient, and affordable, tiny homes offer a minimalist lifestyle that has gained popularity in recent years.

  • Manufactured homes – These kit homes are cost-effective and offer a wide range of options, making them a viable alternative to traditional housing.

It’s important to note that each of these alternatives comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. For instance, co-living might involve complexities in shared decision-making and responsibilities, while rent-to-buy schemes may have strict terms and conditions.

We can help you to navigate these pathways successfully.

The ATO’s First Home Super Saver scheme offers a tax-effective way to save for your first home. It is a useful tool for aspiring homeowners looking to secure their place in the property market, as it allows them to make voluntary contributions into their super account to save for their first home. These contributions are over and above the compulsory super guarantee payments made by employers.

The key benefit of this scheme is the favourable tax treatment applied to savings made within super. Contributions under this scheme attract concessional tax rates, enabling individuals to save for their first home more efficiently. Withdrawals of these savings for the purpose of purchasing a home are taxed at a significantly lower rate, providing an advantage for prospective homebuyers.

While pathways like the First Home Super Saver scheme offer a viable opportunity, it’s important that you also incorporate education and strategic planning in your journey to homeownership. Understanding the nuances of the property market, financial implications, and long-term commitments is key.

The long-term benefits of homeownership

Commencing the journey towards homeownership early brings several advantages, with the most notable being the long-term benefits of property ownership, especially in retirement.

Acquiring a property can bring a range of benefits to you and your loved ones, including:

  • Housing security – Owning a home offers security and stability. It eliminates the uncertainties associated with renting and provides a sense of permanence and control over your living situation.

  • Financial stability – Property ownership can serve as a significant asset, potentially appreciating in value over time. This asset can provide a source of equity for further investment, and ultimately, greater financial security.

  • Sense of community – Owning a home often fosters a stronger sense of belonging within a community. Homeowners tend to establish deeper roots and connections, contributing to a stronger social support network.

  • Wellbeing – Research suggests that homeownership contributes positively to mental health and overall wellbeing.

Tips for prospective homebuyers

Once you’ve decided to embark upon the journey to homeownership, taking the following steps will help give you the best opportunity to achieve that goal:

  • Financial literacy – Educate yourself about personal finance, budgeting, and the implications of homeownership.

  • Long-term planning – Create a robust plan that encompasses your financial goals, potential savings, and strategies for entering the property market.

  • Use available resources – Explore options like the First Home Super Saver scheme and other government initiatives that can assist in reaching your homeownership goals.

  • Seek professional guidance – Consider consulting financial advisers or experts, like the good people of IOOF Finance Choice, to gain insights and develop a personalised strategy.


As the housing affordability crisis deepens and shows little to no sign of being resolved any time soon, exploring alternative options has become increasingly relevant and important. By diversifying our approach to homeownership, we can unlock those new opportunities.

Starting the journey towards homeownership early not only helps in securing a place in the property market; it also creates a multitude of long-term benefits, including housing security, financial stability, community integration, and overall wellbeing.

With education, strategic planning, and taking advantage of available resources, aspiring homeowners can still pave their way into the property market and turn their dreams of homeownership into a reality.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is current as at December 2023 and may be subject to change. The information in this article is factual in nature only and does not and is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. You should obtain appropriate advice before making any decisions based on the information in this article. You should not rely on this communication to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose.

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