SOUTHERN Downs residents are saving their hard-earned cash for almost three years before they get their hands on the keys to their first home.
A new report by Bankwest shows it takes the average aspiring home owner 2.73 years to save a 20% deposit for their first home.
Warwick Bank of Queensland owner Gary Kelly specialises in getting clients into their first home and said sometimes it took as little as six months.
"Everybody has different circumstances and how long it takes depends on how determined and how disciplined they are," he said.
Mr Kelly said he had helped 15 young people get into their own home in the past five years by helping them construct a plan as how much they need to save in what time frame.
Before they are granted their loan, the clients must show a savings history that mimics ongoing mortgage payments.
Dipping into the savings can raise a red flag with the bank, as it is perceived as a missed mortgage payment.
Mr Kelly requires only a 5% deposit from his clients.
The experienced bank manager said gathering the deposit was the main hurdle, as many aspiring home owners had the capacity to pay a mortgage.
Mr Kelly said all they need was a clear plan on how to achieve their goal and he enjoyed being able to do just that.
"There is nothing better than ringing them up and saying 'congratulations on owning your own little piece of this world'," he said.
"I have a 90% success rate with this program by the two-year mark, they would well and truly be in their own home."
Warwick Credit Union CEO Lewis von Stieglitz said the worst mistake people could make was to get into debt while saving their deposit.
"Don't go and buy a car or take out a personal loan for furniture because all that will do is reduce the amount you can borrow and suck in what would have been your savings," he said.
"You are better off driving around in a crummy car while you get your savings together."
Although it is a long haul to reach the 20% deposit mark, Mr von Stieglitz said some parents were pitching in.
"Here, parents are happier to help out because a difference of $10,000 in the deposit has a bigger effect than it would in Brisbane where house prices are much higher," he said.
Mr von Stieglitz said the average home loan he sees is about $200,000.