MOST of us have probably sat and wondered what it would be like to be mortgage-free. But for some Coffs Coast locals, the dream is already reality.
So where are these footloose and fancy-free outright home owners? It might surprise you.
Arrawarra leads the charge on the Coffs Coast for the percentage of local residents who own their home outright.
According to CoreLogic, in the June quarter of 2017, 77.4% of those who own a house in Arrawarra do not have a mortgage on their properties. In fact, a mere 5.6% of the population have a mortgage, with the remainders renters.
It's a tightly held position, with just one sale in the suburb in the last 12 months.
Second on the list is Deervale, west of Dorrigo, where 60.8% of the 257 locals own their homes outright. This rural enclave also has 21.6% of the local population tied into a mortgage.
Riverside Mylestom has the third-highest incidence of outright home ownership. Among the population of 339 locals, 60.6% house owners are mortgage-free.
All three townships share a common thread in that their populations are older - the average age of a resident of Arrawarra is 66, in Deervale it's 49 and in Mylestom 52.
In total there are 25 suburbs across the Coffs City, Bellingen Shire and Nambucca Shire areas where more than half the population owns their home outright and many of them are the smaller, more affordable suburbs.
The suburbs include Thora (58.4%), Taylors Arm (58.3%) and North Macksville (55.6%).
At the opposite end of the scale, Corindi Beach has the lowest level of outright house ownership at 30%, the rate was the same for the owners of houses and units in Toormina
The findings come after Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed the state of household debt nationwide. The statistics showed that higher-income households were more likely to be over-indebted than lower-income households.
"Lower-income households are more likely to be debt-free compared to higher-income households, which is reflective of many lower-income households having paid off their debt,” CoreLogic's Cameron Kusher said.
The ABS data from 2015-16 showed nationally that 30.4% of households were lived in by someone that owned that property outright.
This figure was lower than the 31.4% in 2013-14 and the figures have been steadily trending lower over recent years.
"At the peak, 42.8% of households had no mortgage in 1995-96. This is an interesting statistic when you consider that many people suggest that lower mortgage rates result in improved housing affordability,” Mr Kusher said.
"In June 1996 the standard variable mortgage rate was recorded at 9.75% compared to a mortgage rate of 5.4% in June 2016.
"The ongoing decline in mortgage rates has pushed dwelling values higher and although it has made servicing mortgage debt easier it has not led to a greater proportion of the population living mortgage-free.”