With property prices soaring, many homebuyers can only dream of paying off their hefty mortgages.
But one man has done just that and he is happy to share the secrets of his financial success.
Not yet 40, Josh Hannaford is living proof that with hard work and some good timing, young homebuyers can not only buy property - but own it outright.
"I don't think we realised how much growth there was going to be in the Melbourne market," Mr Hannaford told 7 News.
His first stepping stone to financial freedom was a property in country Victoria, which was bought for less than $200,000 and then rented out.
Then five years ago his family bought a tiny house squeezed between the freeway and the railway line in inner Melbourne.
Over time they transformed the house, selling it for $1.1 million - more than double what they paid.
That allowed them to renovate his investment house, pay it off and sell it again for double its purchase price.
That left almost enough to build their ultimate family home in Bunbury, south of Perth, in Western Australia.
Mr Hannaford will join those households enjoying the lowest levels of mortgage stress, spending less than 30 per cent of pre-tax income on housing.
Figures released recently show those suffering the least amount of mortgage stress tend to live in a cluster of suburbs around the inner city.
- Neighbours hear screams, smell fuel: Chilling details from deadly house fire
- Dad thanks 'legends' who helped him after he fought off ferocious shark
- Flight attendants reveal what to wear to get an upgrade
- Tragic twist in 'suffocation' death of schoolboy trapped under car seat
In Melbourne, that cluster stretches from North Melbourne to South Yarra, rather than in the traditional blue-ribbon areas like Toorak or Brighton.
Consumer finance experts say simple steps can lighten the load on homebuyers - shop around for the best interest rate and throw every spare dollar at your mortgage.
"It will turn into thousands of dollars over the life of your loan and see you pay off your home loan years early," CityRate money editor Sally Tindell said.
Josh Hannaford offers these tips - stick to your budget but push the limits; if you cannot buy in the suburb you want, buy near it; get several quotes from tradies; and do jobs like painting and landscaping yourself.