Sibling co-financing on the rise- but at what cost?

by Mackenzie McCarty30 Jan 2013

Siblings who purchase together now make up 10% of traffic at open houses and inspections, according to a News Ltd story published yesterday – but whether or not this is a positive sign is up for debate.

Real estate agents argue that the trend, which has grown over the past three months, allows buyers to afford properties that would otherwise be beyond their financial reach.

Agent Silvia Vitale of Laing + Simmons Potts Point told News Ltd that sometimes this is the only way siblings can afford to break into the property market and says most do it for investment reasons.

But Gold Coast mortgage broker, Heather Nyssen, says not only has she not witnessed an increase in sibling home loan applications – she openly discourages it.

“They’re usually quite young and their life paths diverge after a few years. In some cases they buy it so one or other can live in it, or they buy as an investment property, but they often end up in a bad position.”

Nyssen says major life decisions like weddings and having children then have to be put on hold, because one or both of the siblings is tied to a poor investment decision made when their personal circumstances were different – and that can lead to awkward moments at family get-togethers, to say the least.

But Forsyth Real Estate principal, James Snodgrass, told News Ltd that getting a mortgage with siblings can help would-be buyers ‘escape the rental trap’.

"For young families trying to get some equity to buy their own property, life can be hard. So what they're doing is teaming together with two to three other parties.''