PATH TO WEALTH: First-time property owners Olivia King and Gavin Calnan stand in front of their block of land in Ballina Heights.
PATH TO WEALTH: First-time property owners Olivia King and Gavin Calnan stand in front of their block of land in Ballina Heights. Jay Cronan

Million reasons to buy

BY the time they’re 36, Gavin Calnan and Olivia King will be millionaires.

For now though, the 26-year-old Ballina couple are on struggle street.

They’ve just bought a block of land at the Ballina Heights estate and are saving for a deposit to put a house on the block, while paying rent.

By the time the final brick has been put in place, Mr Calnan said the couple expected to have spent about $460,000 – just under last year’s median price for Ballina of $475,000.

However, projections from Australian Property Monitors suggest if the couple can stay in their new house for a decade, their home will be worth nearly $1.25 million.

Mr Calnan was already pretty excited about buying his first home and the news of his property’s potential future worth just helped justify that excitement.

“It makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing, that you’re making the right decision to invest,” he said.

“Ten years seems like a long time, but I’m 26 now and I’ll only be 36 then. To think that could happen is exciting.”

Another one on the path to property wealth was Kristy Murray, also 26.

Ms Murray and her partner have just spent $470,000 on their first home, also at Ballina Heights.

“It’s hard when you’re a first home buyer, unless you have help with an inheritance or a fantastic job,” she said.

In Ms Murray’s case, that help came in the form of an inheritance from her late mother, however, even that was no ticket to easy street.

“It’s going to be very tight, managing a mortgage, particularly with rates going up,” she said.

Ms Murray’s job means she is seeing Ballina’s population boom wandering through her doors each day and says it is wrong to characterise them all as retirees.

Instead, she said she was seeing a steady flow of young professionals – in particular medical staff who had come to work at Lismore Base Hospital as well as accountants and architects.



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