Sydney family with $250k savings unable to buy a house

Sydney family with $250k savings unable to buy a house

Hazal Cairns, her husband and 18-month-old daughter have moved to QLD due to Sydney’s ridiculous property prices. Picture: SuppliedSource:Instagram

Hazal Cairns is “bitter” about the Sydney property market because despite huge sacrifices to save a deposit of $250,000 her family of three are not able to buy a home.

The digital expert and her husband, who works for NRMA, have an 18-month-old daughter and chose to move in with Hazal’s parents to boost their ability to save.

But they have watched as house prices skyrocket and pushed first home buyers like them out of the market.

“We were bitter. We were so mad. We worked our butts off and have always had full time jobs and I worked in the digital space and have also done freelance work on the side and we have been saving for over three years now,” she told

“We don’t shy away from hard work but when you are working so hard and looking at house prices go up and up and up, it makes you bitter. We are just like – its ridiculous, it’s a joke. “Then there are shows like Luxury Listings Sydney on Amazon and there are people worth billions buying property and we are thinking how it this fair?

“Knowing how many people suffered for the last two years, my husband and I don’t want to watch as it’s depressing, it’s infuriating. Why do people have that much money to spend on incredible homes that they barely live in?”

Sydney family with $250k savings unable to buy a house

Hazal wants to give her daughter a better life and more space. Picture: SuppliedSource:Instagram

Sydney family with $250k savings unable to buy a house

A search for a home in Sydney was fruitless for the couple, despite having $250,000. Picture: SuppliedSource:Instagram

The 34-year-old said their property search was out in the Sutherland Shire looking for four bedroom, two bathroom houses that needed some work.

“But houses were going for $1.8 million out near Illawong, which is not even close to the city and the commute to work would mean sitting in traffic for an hour a day there and back, and for $1.8 million that is just ridiculous,” she noted.

“My brother-in-law and his wife were looking around $900,000 for houses in the Sutherland Shire too, and not in Cronulla, but Menai and Illawong and they couldn’t find anything and they were getting really depressed. They would go to auctions and barely get their hand up, so they were already out of market before they could get anywhere.”

Ms Cairns said the soaring prices made it feel like you were working for nothing.

When the pandemic hit and changed the way people could do their jobs, with a greater emphasis on working from home, having a home that wasn’t a shoebox also became important, added Ms Cairns.

So the couple made a drastic decision to leave their family behind in Sydney and move to Brisbane, escaping just before the city was plunged into its latest lockdown.

Ms Cairns’ husband was able to relocate with his job at NRMA, while she has taken on the role of general manager at her sister’s US-based loungewear and bedding company called Oddbird, which grew 800 per cent during the pandemic.

Sydney family with $250k savings unable to buy a house

The couple are looking to buy a property in Brisbane for less money, more room and closer to the city compared to Sydney. Picture: SuppliedSource:Instagram

The couple are looking at four to five bedroom houses 10 minutes from Brisbane city in suburbs like Camp Hill, Cannon Hill and Morningside and can’t believe the difference compared to their Sydney search.

“These houses are gorgeous. They are big and roomy and have kitchens with walk in pantries and kitchen islands and we are looking at $1.1 million to $1.3 million. So it’s significantly more affordable and offers a greater quality of life, especially if we are going to work from home. We want to be comfortable and create a space that is a working space away from the living space and we don’t have that option in Sydney,” she explained.

“Where would you buy in that price range in Sydney that allows you to have those separate facets of life, to have some calm and stability and a bit of break between the two worlds that now have merged at home.”

Even renting while they look for their forever home is a huge difference to the tiny apartment with a mould problem they had in Sydney before moving in with her parents.

They are paying $735 a week in Brisbane for a property with a backyard the size of some people’s homes in Sydney, as well as three bedrooms and two bathrooms, said Ms Cairns.

“We don’t need to take the dog to the park we just throw ball up and down in the backyard, there’s a two storey garage and that has a mezzanine area, and it's so big we don’t have enough furniture to fill it,” she said.

“For $735 you just would never get that in Sydney and it’s 10 minutes from the city, so it’s significantly different.”

Sydney family with $250k savings unable to buy a house

The family are excited for a fresh start. Picture: SuppliedSource:Instagram

Despite missing friends and family, Ms Cairns said the family is excited about the fresh start and the potential for a better quality of life with a bigger house and more space.

“I’m quite bitter about Sydney and feel quite jaded … It shouldn’t allowed to be that expensive and (the government) are pretty much knowingly saying that first home buyers can’t get into market and I don’t understand what’s supposed to happen – it seems like a real joke,” she added.

With plans to launch Oddbird in Australia, including a retail store and warehouse space, this has also been a financial win, with prices much more affordable in Brisbane, she said.

Sydney’s housing affordability has definitely become worse and it’s a continuing trend, according to Dr Shane Geha, managing director at property group EG Advisory.

“Real estate prices have outstripped wage growth by a very long way in the last decade. If you look at housing, I’m 52 but when I was a child of 13 or 15, it was three times the average wage earnings and today it’s close to 12 or 13 times,” he noted.

“In Sydney, the average house is around $1.3 million, the average apartment is at $800,000, and there are a multiplicity of fees and charges charged by local and state governments. Fees and charges account for around 30 per cent of the price of a new dwelling and it increases the price of new dwellings and lifts the price of alternatives, such as an existing dwelling.”

Sydney family with $250k savings unable to buy a house

Dr Shane Geha, managing director at property group EG Advisory said housing affordability was getting increasingly worse in Sydney. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Taxes in particular are an enormous cost, he added, giving the example of an $800,000 brand new apartment in Epping attracting $240,000 in fees and charges.

He argued that land taxes and stamp duty bring no immediate benefit to home buyers and should be abolished.

Dr Geha predicted that housing will continue to climb in value by 10 to 15 per cent and that federal grants like the First Home Buyers scheme should be doubled to at least $50,000 to reflect the reality of prices.

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