Property ownership has never been less affordable, but one platform is aiming to breakdown some of the barriers for Australians by matching aspiring buyers with strangers in the same boat.
A new digital platform is turning the traditional notion of home ownership on its head by asking the question – “If we are happy to fall in love with a stranger, would you own a house with one?”
Mortgage Mates is a new platform dubbed an “innovative solution” to the housing affordability challenge and is being heralded as a game-changer “for those who otherwise would not have the opportunity to enter the property market”, according to co-founder Jess Vesely.
Acknowledging Australia as the third most expensive housing market in the world, and with the cost of housing being 10 times higher than the median income in Melbourne and 13 times higher than the median income in Sydney, Ms Vesely said, “You can understand why many young people are giving up on the possibility of buying their own home.”
“Significant university debts, unstable employment, limited salary growth and growing rental prices” are not helping the situation at all.
Mortgage Mates joins the “share economy” – an environment whereby individuals can utilise collective buying power to achieve what they otherwise would not be capable of – and in Ms Vesely’s opinion, “personally improve their housing situation”.
“If we had asked you five to 10 years ago whether you would get into an unmarked car with a stranger, you would have (quite rightly) said ‘not a chance’,” Ms Vesely said.
A similar response would likely have been garnered about letting strangers stay in your home, she also flagged.
“These days however, these opportunities seem extremely normal to us and have become part of our everyday life,” Ms Vesely said.
“In the last five years there has been a significant shift in the way in which individuals live and exist, with the sharing culture improving areas including transport (Uber/Ola and Didi), holiday accommodation (Airbnb), relationships (Tinder and Bumble) and income generation (Park Hound, Spacetoco and Spacer).”
From her perspective, Mortgage Mates is just “the next stage of turning strangers into mates”.
“By opening up the opportunity to buy with others, we are increasing each young person’s housing opportunities in a way that has never been possible before,” Ms Vesely offered.
She explained how innovative housing choices such as co-living are already seeing rapidly increasing uptake from users due to the negative impact of rising house prices.
“Mortgage Mates is taking this innovation and stability one step further by applying similar principles to home ownership,” the co-founder said.
Ms Vesely has acknowledged the widely-held understanding that “investment properties are often a safe and attractive return on investment”, but conceded that the reality of young Australians having such opportunities “is extremely slim”.
And while the Tinder-style approach to co-ownership “has initially been designed for the younger demographic”, Ms Vesely did highlight a belief that Mortgage Mates can also fill a space for home ownership across a number of cohorts.
“By pooling resources we eventually want to assist older adults re-entering the property market after a family/relationship breakdown or loss, those with a disability who require adapted accommodation and can co-own to share care and housing resources, single parents who are currently left marginalised in an expensive rental system,” she outlined.
Similarly, those exiting the social housing space, who are primarily required to enter rental accommodation, may also be drawn to the idea of co-ownership with a stranger.
By pooling resources with others, “the market for home ownership is increased whilst the financial risk decreases”, with the result of positively impacting home ownership rates for both ‘co-live’ and ‘co-invest’ opportunities.
Ultimately, “this means individuals can experience the positive social impacts of co-living, whilst also experiencing a positive financial impact through home ownership”.