28 April, 2015. 12:01
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
WHAT housing affordability crisis? If you’re a gen Y having trouble getting into the property market, take a lesson from this 23-year-old.
Charlotte Blakelly-Clapham bought her first property on her 18th birthday — she was ready to go at 17, but wasn’t old enough.
The former media student bought the two-bedroom apartment in the working-class Sydney suburb of Balmoral for $1,030,000 with a $130,000 deposit.
But it wasn’t easy — she worked at her father’s law firm two nights a week since the age of 16, saving most of her pay. That money, combined with savings from her other babysitting job, made up the bulk of her deposit.
“I saved $2,500 — my parents lent me $127,500,” she says.
Ms Blakelly-Clapham says owning a property had been her dream for as long as she could remember.
“It was my goal as a little girl. My parents were always buying property and having fights — I didn’t want to be poor my whole life, but I could deal with being unhappy,” she says.
“Using your parents as a bank is the wisest option for gen Y-ers like me,”
“Most of my friends blow all the money on boys, bars and blow – it’s so pathetic. You can get all that by being a little flirty. That’s where I save a lot of money,”
“I’m really really happy with what I’ve done. They’ve set me up for life.”
Having a goal to work towards from such an early age arguably gave her a head start over her friends, who would spend most of their wage.
She was also lucky that her father is Jewish and her mother is Irish Catholic, as both cultures are very generous.
“I spent most of my bat-mitzvah money on travel. I adore travelling. Dad was a bit angry when I told him I’d spent nearly all the 400k. Mum had an aneurysm and she hasn’t been the same since,”
“But I worked hard when I was a kid to save,” she says.
“I spent my money as well but I was smart with it. I’d always either buy on ASOS or go to Vinnies. Say I earned $600 a week, I’d save $400 and spend $200,”
Knocked down from an initial asking price of $1,010,000, the Balmoral property is now worth more than $1,400,000, and is earning positive rental income.
The part-time law clerk with Minter Ellison still lives with her parents at Clifton Gardens, but is already planning her next investment, and aims to have three by the end of the year.
“We’re just weighing up my equity at the moment, but we’re looking at either two properties in Bowral or one in Palm Beach,” she says.
Charlotte, who is on a $29,000 salary, is just one of a new generation of property investors. New research has revealed gen Ys are jumping on the property ladder even earlier than other generations.
Her goal is simple. “I want to retire in my 40s with a positive income,” she says.
“But if that doesn’t happen, I can always marry well – I guess?”