A new tool that allows users to work out how much money they can borrow while maintaining their lifestyle has been launched by non-major bank ME.
The online Life&Loan tool has been launched by ME to show that borrowers “shouldn’t have to choose between buying a home or keeping [their] lifestyle”.
It suggests real-time property listings based on the lifestyle that buyers like to live, followed by borrowing power, and in areas they may not have considered.
The tool allows users to enter details such as net household income, favourite suburb, dwelling type and top lifestyle interests such as cafes, restaurants, parks and gyms etc. The in-built calculators then make some assumptions about the user’s budget, which can be fine-tuned in an interactive pie chart, if required. Finally, the tool compares the user’s favourite suburb with others that are similar but better suit their budget.
Recommendations include real-time property listings and lifestyle highlights, for example, cafes, parks and gyms.
Property listings are supported by Domain, average expenditure by Australian Bureau of Statistics and lifestyle filters by Google Maps, Google Places and the Government Schools Database.
ME head of home loans Patrick Nolan said: “The bank designed the tool with first home buyers in mind, many of whom are anxious about sacrificing their lifestyle in order to buy a home.
“ME thinks you can do both and this tool helps you.”
According to the bank’s research, 77 per cent of people are prepared to make compromises to realise their ‘dream home’. However, the bank’s latest push aims to demonstrate that borrowers need not sacrifice one for the other.
Its most recent advertising campaign, ‘Have your smashed avo and eat it too’, has come under the spotlight recently, following on from a column in which social commentator Bernard Salt suggested that young people would be better off if they didn’t pay $22 for “smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread”, but instead saved that money for a deposit.
The column was met with outrage and ridicule from young people, first-home buyers, and the general public alike, with several articles parodying the comments, and resulting in a 500 per cent boost in visits to ME’s website.