For six years Tamara Matthews has worked at KFC and saved her henny pennies.
When she'd go out with friends she'd set a budget and keep to it - when the money ran out, she went home.
"I wanted to move out of home and have my own space, and I worked out early on when I was looking at properties and looking into everything, that it would work out cheaper than having to pay rent," Ms Matthews said.
"So I worked really hard to save my deposit."
Inch by inch, the 21-year-old edged closer to her dream of one day owning a house.
"I looked at houses while I was saving my deposit to get an idea how much money I needed," Ms Matthews said.
In the middle of 2020, having squirrelled away $25,000, she got loan approval from a bank that would allow her to spend up to $250,000 on her first house.
"I spent three months looking at properties," Ms Matthews said.
"I looked at a lot of places that were outside my budget to give me an idea of what was out there.
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"But I was watching the prices go up and up and I thought I had to make a decision or ... I'd have to save for another 12 months."
In August she found the one - a modest, three-bedroom house in Glenroi - and made an offer.
"It's very exciting," said Ms Matthews, who moved in "straight away" with her boyfriend.
"I wanted to be able to do my own thing - paint the walls, hang things on the walls," she said.
"All the things you can't do when you rent a property."
The house sits on a block of about 950 square metres.
"The mowing is crazy, it takes about an hour," said Ms Matthews.
The Glenroi property was sold to Ms Matthews by Ash Brown from One Agency.
Mr Brown said it was a myth that the spike in property prices in recent years had forced young home buyers who didn't earn big money at the Cadia mine, or have a leg-up from their parents, out of the market.
"It's still achievable - our biggest market is first home buyers in the 20-30 age group," he said.
"You have a young woman who works at a fast food restaurant who can save and buy her own house without any help.
"If that's not the Australian dream then I don't know what is."
Mr Brown said first home buyers tended to buy properties under the $600,000 mark.
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