Brent Miller hasn’t given up on the dream of buying his own home one day, but admits “my circumstances would have to change fairly drastically for it to be realistic”.
“When you’re on low income, even saving that deposit is a process that takes years,” the 45-year-old Dapto resident said.
“Being older, I don’t have that many years left, 15-20 years, and I'm at retiring age.
“Realistically, even with the current income and circumstances, saving a deposit’s going to take ten to 15 years before I can even think about investing in property.”
A platform enabling aspiring first home buyers to purchase small stakes in residential properties has afforded him the opportunity to dip his toe into the market.
Mr Miller has been involved in real estate investment platform BrickX for about 12 months.
The retail manager and father of two has been a single parent for several years and couldn’t afford to buy a house.
“I was a low income, government payment supported person for quite a few years as a sole parent.
“So the chance to get some savings behind me... My kids have turned 18 the past couple of years, so I've managed to start putting some money away again.”
BrickX is a fractional property investment approach, which allows people to access property as an investment from as little as $100 per ‘brick’.
BrickX properties are each put into an individual trust and split into 10,000 units or ‘bricks’. Investors may then earn capital returns and monthly net rental income in proportion to the number of bricks owned.
Bricks can be bought and sold on the platform, at prices set in the market, with investors receiving a cut of rental income after property management costs.
Mr Miller, who rents and lives with his son in Dapto, has bricks in three rental properties in Sydney and one in Melbourne.
He said his current life circumstances meant he has more money to play with, so he “can invest 100 bucks here and there”.
He also said the platform meant he gets to experience the “benefits of the boom in Sydney and Melbourne”.
“They’re only a few bricks here and there, but that’s an advantage; you don’t need to put all your money into one property, you can diversify through different ones,” he said.
“So if Sydney’s market slows down, Melbourne could pick up or vice-versa. It’s a way of splitting your risk.
“This was the chance to put some money aside as an investment and get some capital growth back with a very low buy-in.”
BrickX now has more than 9000 active members invested in 14 properties across three capital cities.
BrickX is looking at a “rent to buy” model that could allow customers to move into a BrickX home and save a deposit by purchasing extra units in the home.
“BrickX makes property possible for all Australians and the Illawarra region is one of our most exciting growth markets,” Anthony Millet, CEO of BrickX said.
“People in the area tell us they love the accessibility and flexibility the platform provides. It empowers anyone to take advantage of property booms in cities like Sydney and Melbourne.”