Consistently, saving for a deposit is listed by first homebuyers as one of the top three challenges to home ownership, which isn’t surprising given many lenders now require that homebuyers have at least a 5% deposit saved to get started.

On a $400,000 home, that translates to $20,000 to meet the upfront deposit requirement, as well as about the same amount to meet other fees and charges associated with the purchase. Additionally, only having a deposit of less than 20% will most likely mean homebuyers need to wear the costs of Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

When considering these combined costs, it is not surprising that a getting foot in the door to ownership has become so difficult.

With this in mind, there are groups of young South Australian workers who are well equipped to handle the financial responsibilities that come with owning a home, but may not have had the time in the workforce or capacity to save a large deposit.

Many of these workers are recent graduates who have been studying at University,TAFE or another Registered Training Organisation for numerous years, but who haven’t been able to save for a deposit because of the many competing financial priorities operating when studying.

It seems that giving these young South Australians a hand to overcome the deposit barrier is a low risk way of stimulating more activity in the State’s housing sector. They have the earning capacity and future prospects to manage the responsibilities that go with home ownership, but just need a hand getting a foot in the door.

That was the philosophy behind HomeStart’s Graduate Loan, which was launched more than a decade ago and enables eligible graduates to obtain a home loan with as little as 3% deposit..

The eligibility criteria for the loan has recently been expanded to include anyone with a Certificate III or higher qualification, meaning more than 170,000 South Australians, from accountants, engineers and designers through to nurses, teachers, police and those with trades, are now able to access the loan.

In total, almost half a million South Australians who are enrolled in tertiary courses at a Certificate III level or higher have a pathway into home ownership that significantly reduces the upfront costs required.

Finding innovative ways of stimulating homebuyer activity at all levels of the housing continuum is important, not only for the health of the industry and the economy, but so that more people can experience the social and financial benefits associated with home ownership.