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September 1, 2022

Founders Stories Podcast: James Bowe on tackling housing affordability in Australia

We speak to James about improving access to housing in Australia.

Casey Flint

September 1, 2022

Founders Stories Podcast: James Bowe on tackling housing affordability in Australia

We speak to James about improving access to housing in Australia.

Casey Flint

Homeownership and wealth inequality remain one of the greatest threats to our society. OwnHome is solving this by helping millions of Aussies get past the initial hurdle of saving for a home deposit before they move into their dream home. Earlier this year, alongside the Commonwealth Bank, Dan Krasnostein and Casey Flint led the $31m Series A investment in OwnHome, to get more Australians out of the rental trap, and into their own home.

Today’s Podcast episode tackles this enormous problem, explains the rent-to-own model and introduces you to one of OwnHome’s co-founders, James Bowe.

Why is housing affordability a growing concern?

Australian home prices soared 24% last year alone, with the median house price in Sydney growing by $103,000 in just 3 months from January to March 2021.

With homeownership rapidly declining, the great Aussie dream of owning a home is increasingly out of reach for hundreds of thousands of hard-working residents, who have the ability to repay their monthly mortgage but are unable to save towards a 20% deposit.

The housing market is no longer a meritocracy, as about 60% of First Home Buyers receive direct support from ‘The Bank of Mum and Dad’. For those without the benefit of intergenerational wealth, getting onto the property market is difficult.

If we don’t act fast to build new pathways to homeownership, the great Australian dream will die for this generation.

How does OwnHome work?

OwnHome provides a new path to homeownership, supporting hard-working Australians, by allowing them to save for their dream home while they live in it.

While the rent-to-own model is new to Australia, it is an important plank of housing access policies in the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore.

  • Once approved, OwnHome works with you to find, negotiate and purchase your property. You pay just 2% of the home value upfront, with an additional 1% going towards your security deposit.
  • You take the keys and move in immediately while building your security deposit through fortnightly payments.
  • After 2 years when you’re ready, you can buy the home at the pre-agreed price and become a homeowner, choosing any lender or home loan service you like.

OwnHome’s experience is about more than the home purchase.

Buying your first home is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life.

OwnHome is in your corner every step of the way during this process, helping explain many of the trickiest parts of buyinga home.

  • OwnHome helps navigate everything from negotiations, pests and building reports, to strata and taxes, making this as streamlined and stress-free as possible.
  • OwnHome focuses on rigorous valuations and astute negotiations so that you don’t don’t overpay for your dream home.
  • Once you’re in your home, you’re protected under the law just like every other tenant. So if your tap breaks, OwnHome will swing into action to get it fixed for free.
  • OwnHome is staffed by an Australian-based team who are experts in the home buying process, and accessible throughout the purchase experience.
  • Plus, OwnHome insists that customers get independent legal or financial advice so that they’re confident that the live-to-own pathway to homeownership works for them.

Customers have already bought and moved into their homes across Australia.

Dozens of families have already moved into their dream homes through the service.

“I wondered whether it was too good to be true. I always felt that there was going to be a catch, and to be honest I kept waiting for it. But it never came. The best part about my experience with OwnHome has been that everything was made clear to us upfront, and everything turned out to be exactly as we were told it would be.” - Shwe, OwnHome Customer since 2021.

From applying to choosing and purchasing your dream home, OwnHome acts with the utmost diligence.

“We focus on helping buyers make the right purchase decision rather than just getting customers into homes at any cost. It’s a responsibility we take seriously,” said Tim Harley, co-founder at OwnHome and OwnHome customer.

“The experience of becoming a homeowner through OwnHome was surreal. I definitely appreciate how emotional the purchase journey is, even though I know how powerful the data-driven OwnHome approach to home purchases is. It was great to have a team on hand to lead the process so I bought a great place at a great price. Plus, it’s amazing to be able to paint, renovate and hang pictures on the wall using hooks that I banged in”, said Tim.

To find out more about live-to-own, the new pathway to homeownership in Australia, find OwnHome them online.

You can also use their buying power calculator to discover if you qualify.

About OwnHome and how it works:

Founded in 2021 by Tim Harley and James Bowe, OwnHome’s mission is to pave a new path to homeownership addressing the barrier many face in initially saving for a home deposit. Backed by CommBank, OwnHome believes all Australians deserve the opportunity to build a life and family in the security of their own home.

Through OwnHome, Aussies can apply for pre-qualification in just five minutes. After approval, customers can choose almost any home on the market. OwnHome helps navigate everything from negotiations, pest and building reports, to strata and taxes to make this as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Once the customer finds their dream home, OwnHome then buys it for them.

Customers pay an amount equivalent to renting and saving for a deposit for that same home. But, they get to move into the home immediately, can make renovations, and benefit from capital gains of the property.

About James Bowe, Co-Founder at OwnHome

James Bowe is an expert on housing access and affordability. In 2020, he co-founded leading Australian Fintech company OwnHome. Backed by The Commonwealth Bank, OwnHome empowers aspiring homeowners by offering a new path to homeownership that overcomes the initial 20% deposit hurdle.

Before founding OwnHome, James spent 7 years with Bain & Company leading the retainer team for Tiger Global, and working alongside Dragoneer, Coatue and many other global venture capital funds. As part of his work in San Francisco, James spent years understanding the rent-to-own model for home purchases, and how it can help more Australians get into the property market.

About Tim Harley, Co-Founder at OwnHome

Tim Harley is an expert on housing access and affordability. In 2020, he co-founded leading Australian Fintech company OwnHome. Backed by The Commonwealth Bank, OwnHome empowers aspiring homeowners by offering a new path to homeownership that overcomes the initial 20% deposit hurdle.

Before founding OwnHome, Tim spent 3 years as the Head of Middle East for Wise, formerly known as Transfer Wise, as a senior executive officer, and leading expansion and regulatory and compliance functions. Before Wise, Tim was an Investment Banking Analyst at Macquarie, where he was responsible for providing financial analysis in the Australian REIT sector.