Australia has one of the highest immigrant populations in the world. In 2015, almost 30% of Australian residents had been born elsewhere. Increasingly, new arrivals are coming from developing countries such as China, India or Vietnam.

Here is how the Australian Bureau of Statistics put it in a graph:

Often, the first generation to arrive in Australia then seek to bring other family members to join them. And just as often, these other family members other parents of adult children who emigrated to Australia as professional people. Where the family have arrived from a developing part of the world, it’s not uncommon for the older generations to be unable to afford to buy a home here in Australia. In those cases, their adult children often help out with housing.

One simple way to do this is for the younger generation to purchase a property is co-owners with their parents. If they do this as joint tenants, then the home will eventually be owned by the last surviving co-owner – usually the adult child. This can provide a very neat way for adult children to provide financial support to their parents without compromising those parents estate planning situation. A property owned as a joint tenant does not become part of a deceased person’s estate unless that person was the last surviving owner.

Owning the property as co-owners is often a better option than the younger generation buying a property in simply letting their parents live in it. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that parents feel more secure knowing that they are at least part owners of the house in which they live. Where multiple generations are living together, then the parents using what wealth they have towards the purchase of the home reduces borrowing costs and may allow the whole family to purchase a home more quickly or to purchase a better home in which they can all live.

Purchasing a property as joint tenants has a lot to recommend it. However, it does not suit everybody and so we encourage you to contact us if you think this is an option that would suit you.