After years of skyrocketing property prices, owning a home outright has become out of reach for many Australians.
But one Melbourne mum has paid off her mortgage in just 10 years and is now giving advice to others wanting to live debt-free.
Heidi Farrelly has achieved the real estate dream after buying her home in 2008.
“I finally own my own house and it feels amazing,” she said.
“Having paid off the house – that freedom, the freedom that you can do things you didn’t do before – you can go on an overseas holiday.”
Ms Farrelly bought a lime-green 1960s fibro home in a suburb she liked and said people should consider buying the worst house in a suburb you like, and buy something that does not reach your loan limit.
“We looked at the very bottom of our price bracket, so we had enough money left over to make extra repayments,” she said.
Ms Farrelly also urged people wanting to pay off mortgages quickly not to make unnecessary purchases.
“Going to the shop and going, ‘Oh I really love that dress – I want to buy it,’ and we would just go, ‘You know what? It can wait, it’s not necessary’,” she said.
Ms Farrelly also said she took a thermos to the beach on a day-out and would eat a picnic lunch from home instead of relying on restaurants or cafes.
She made fortnightly payments on her mortgage, meaning she made an extra repayment throughout the year without really noticing.
The mother suggested anybody who got a pay rise at work should put extra cash into the mortgage account rather than it getting sucked into everyday spending.
Ms Farrelly’s achievement of owning her own home is even more notable given the drop in ownership rates.
The Grattan Institute analysed 2016 census data and found it had been falling for three decades, mostly among people under 55.
According to the 2017 research, less than half of Australians aged between 25 and 34 owned a house.
In Victoria, only about a third of residents own their home outright. Another third have a mortgage and the final third rent.
The greatest number of paid-off homes are in Wheelers Hill, followed by Vermont South, Bulleen, East Keilor and then Templestowe rounding out the top five.