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Why parents should invest for the downpayment of their child's first home?

This article explains why parents should add a new goal in their financial plan to save for their child’s first home in a major metropolitan city.

Why parents should invest for the downpayment of their child's first home?


Posted on 05 Mar 2023
Author: Sayan Sircar
7 mins read
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This article explains why parents should add a new goal in their financial plan to save for their child’s first home in a major metropolitan city.

Why parents should invest for the downpayment of their child's first home?

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What is the trigger for this article?

Bangalore Rent Joke

Source: © Twitter

The above image has recently gone viral on social media due to rents in cities like Bangalore increasing 30-40% compared to the pre-COVID period. Our thesis in this article, what buying a home in a major city is essential, is based on two observations:

  • educational costs are going up
  • starting salaries are not growing much

For the first point, here is an image showing how fast IIT fees have increased over the last 15 years.

IIT Delhi Fee Evolution

Source: © Quora

Fees in private colleges have grown faster, especially for medical degrees. In contrast, starting salaries, taking IT fresher intake as an example, have seen slow growth.

IT Company Starting Salary Growth

Source: © Business Today

In major cities of India, where most of our children will be starting their careers, there is a much smaller proportion of houses available for singles / bachelors.

Percentage of houses on rent for singles vs. families

Source: © Livemint

This phenomenon, while not new, makes house hunting a difficult proposition for many new joiners.

In such a situation, the combination of

  • high college degree costs
  • low salary growth
  • high rents in the major cities
  • less number of apartments made available for singles vs. families

builds a strong case for creating a real-estate asset solely to stay in it, not investment, at the beginning of the career. If the house purchase is delayed, we are implicitly assuming that the child or parent has the ability to create greater wealth via financial assets, like mutual funds.

How can parents help?

The fundamental investing and income equation applicable to this case is

Lifetime income of both parents and child is used to fund

education, house purchase and other child-related goals

Whether there is an educational loan, a home loan, or both, the parent and child ultimately pay for these goals. There is no alternative.

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FAQs on investing for a child’s house downpayment goal

Which is the right city to buy the house?

If the child starts their first job in a major Tier 1 city, it can be chosen for the house. If they later shift jobs and go somewhere else, the house can be sold or given on rent, and the same rent can be used for the new city.

To make it easier to sell the property when needed, under-construction properties, though cheaper, should be avoided.

If the city is not a major Tier 1 city, choose one in the nearest big city of the same region where the parents can be selected. For example, if the parents are from the north of India, Delhi NCR may be chosen. Or if they are from the South, then Chennai/Bangalore/Hyderabad etc, may be selected. The same logic can be extended pan-India.

Which kind of property should be bought?

There are three things to keep in mind here:

  • the property should not be too big or too small
  • the property should be easy to buy now and sell later
  • the builder should be reputed and not currently under any dispute

Under-construction properties may go into dispute or face delays and, therefore, should be avoided.

Recently completed apartment complexes of big brands, where many young families are already staying, can be an option. Choose the size (2/3/4 BHK) depending on where the decent amount of demand is so that exiting is easy later.

What if the child goes abroad?

There is always the possibility that the child goes abroad for higher studies or job opportunities. In such a case, there are two options:

  • sell the property to fund the course or settling-down / property down payment costs in the new country. It is, therefore, essential to buy a property that is easy to sell
  • keep the property on rent if there are adequate assets in the family, and keep the option open for the child to return to India and stay in their own house

Who pays for the EMI of the home loan?

The house purchase can be structured in this way:

  • the parent pays part or whole of the down-payment and other closing costs
  • the child pays the EMI on a best-efforts basis
  • any EMI amount the child cannot pay needs to be paid by the parent

As long as the loan is active, the parent should maintain partial ownership, up to and not beyond 50% of the asset. Once the loan is paid off, the parent may choose to withdraw their ownership claim on the asset, replacing their ownership with that of the child’s spouse, if any.

What if the parent cannot invest for this goal today?

You cannot take a loan for retirement

The priority of the parents when they are investing their money is to invest for their retirement.

Source of funds in retirement for Indians Image © livemint.com

If their retirement is sorted, they need not depend on their children for financial support when retired. We have also written about this concept: Do you need to pay for children’s education or marriage?

We are, therefore, talking about those parents who have enough investible surplus for their child’s goals like college education, marriage and now house down-payment. If there is a need to prioritize between these goals, here is an easy framework to use:

  • highest priority: college education goal since it enhances the human capital of the child, i.e. their ability to earn lifelong income
  • medium priority: house downpayment goal since it creates an asset
  • lowest priority: child’s marriage since it is a pure expense without any future return

Of course, you can take loans for all of these goals, but then again, ultimately, someone like the child, parent, or both will be paying the EMI of those loans.

(click to open in a new tab)
Calculation of SIP amount for multiple goals

Our goal-based investing framework, for children, already has house down-payment as a built-in goal. You can learn more about it here: Goal-based investing: How to save for children’s future.

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Next steps:

1. Email me with any questions.

2. Use our goal-based investing template to prepare a financial plan for yourself
OR
use this quick and fast online calculator to find out the SIP amount and asset allocation for your goals.

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This post titled Why parents should invest for the downpayment of their child's first home? first appeared on 05 Mar 2023 at https://arthgyaan.com


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