It took Crystal Dredge two years to clear her debts and a further year saving before she could finally achieve her dream of owning a house in Orange.
Miss Dredge has just moved into her new home after making plenty of sacrifices to ensure she could save the minimum deposit.
And she is not alone.
A report released on Tuesday by BankWest showed that it now takes 3.18 years for a couple to save for a deposit to buy a house in Orange.
It would also take them 2.15 years to save for a unit.
The situation is basically unchanged since 2010 when the Bankwest report found it took couples 3.2 years for a house deposit and 2.3 years for a unit deposit.
However, the average annual income for a couple used to calculate the savings time has virtually doubled from $57,000 in 2010 to $110,686 now.
The report also revealed just how much more affordable homes are in Orange compared to Sydney where the saving time is now more than eight years.
Miss Dredge said she paid off her credit card bills and car and personal loans first, deciding “it would be my best option”.
“I created a budget and stuck to it. I made sacrifices, I didn’t do any outrageous spending,” she said.
But the amount she needed was higher than she expected.
I ended up spending so much on fees, $11,000.Crystal Dredge, first home buyer
“I ended up spending so much on fees, $11,000. I thought they’d be added to the loan. It was a little bit of a shock,” she explained.
But now she is happy after three weeks in her own home.
“I’m now paying what I did on rent on my mortgage payments,” she said.
Mortgage broker Mark Page arranges finance for Century 21 Combined real estate customers.
He said for a first home buyer to purchase a $300,000 home they would need the five per cent minimum deposit [$15,000], $2000 for legal fees plus about $6500 for lender mortgage insurance, which totalled $23,500.
Mr Page said people needed to first reduce other debts.
“If you have the luxury of still living at home you should be saving and not wasting it on depreciating assets like a flashy car,” he said.
Century 21 real estate principal Andrew Vogler said first-home buyers were looking for properties from $200,000-$450,000 in Orange.
“It is very difficult to be paying rent and save money for a home,” he said.