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Home > Reports > Pooling funds within a community to buy housing

Pooling funds within a community to buy housing

This case study featured in our report, The Home Stretch, in 2014. We have not updated the information in this case study.
Family in front of house
Three generations of the Koirala family, who were resettled to Australia in 2009 as Bhutanese refugees from Nepal, outside the home they are purchasing in Launceston, Tasmania. Photo: RCOA

A former refugee from Bhutan, Narad settled in Launceston, Tasmania in 2009 after spending most his life in a refugee camp in Nepal. In 2012, Narad and his family achieved the extraordinary: they purchased their own home just a few years after arriving in Australia. His family – consisting of his wife Menuka, child, brother and elderly parents – live together and pool their resources to repay the home loan and cover other household expenses.

While Narad and Menuka are employed, both are working in entry-level jobs on low incomes. However, the family made a collective decision to prioritise purchasing a property rather than continue renting. As Narad explains:

Sometimes we are not fulfilling all our needs because we are paying our loan. For family functions, we don’t go out and we are not going on holiday; we want to pay the loan. We will go for a holiday after the loan is paid. We are concentrating here.

Indeed, while the family took out a loan with a 30-year expected timeframe for repayment, at their current rate of repayments they expect to have paid off the loan in six years. This strategy works because the extended family live together and pool resources:

That is why we started looking for a house after our parents arrived here. Our parents’ income helps us to run our house while our income mostly goes towards the loan.

Narad further explains that living together as an extended family is a cultural preference and not just a financial decision.

The resettlement of Bhutanese refugees began in 2008 but community leaders report that a large number of Bhutanese families have already purchased properties in different areas of Australia, including Adelaide, Albury-Wodonga, Launceston and Melbourne. This reflects preferences for home ownership and its perceived security, the collective pooling of financial resources and the incredible resourcefulness of former refugees

As well as becoming a home-owner, Narad recently became an Australian citizen. He said:

Before that we never belonged to somewhere but now we belong here in Australia.

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