LUCY: I'll never ever buy a house. Like ever.

In the words of Taylor Swift… This will happen ‘ike never’.



That’s how much my parents paid when they bought their first three-bedroom weatherboard ‘wonderland’ in the suburbs of Melbourne.

It was the early eighties. They were in their mid twenties. And they’d worked hard for a few years to save $20K for the deposit. The remaining $60K they borrowed from the bank.

The house wasn’t much. But it was in the suburb next to the one they’d grown up in. And, well,  it was a start.

I’m not sure about my parents, but at that time the average income was a little over $20K a year.  So I can only imagine that the prospect of entering into a $60K debt was a daunting one. But the thing is – I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as daunting as the $500K+ mortgages my friends are signing up for thirty years later.

$500K? That’s a lot more than the average 20-something earns in three years and it’s at the conservative end of some of the loans they’re signing up for.

It’s scary, isn’t it? The amount of money young people are paying for houses they realistically can’t afford. Personally, I’m terrified. I want a home. I know I’m at the age where I think I should be thinking about buying, but the truth is that I can’t imagine ever being able to confidently make those kind of bottom line repayments – and have any money left over for the rest of life.

It’s just so much money. And how do you know that what you buy will be worth what you paid for it in 10 years time?

Apparently I’m not the only who who’s feeling the fear.

This article is by a Gen Y who’s feeling somewhere disillusioned by the Australia’s real estate market. It appeared on Fairfax websites last week. It also appeared a few dozen times on my Facebook feed alongside statuses ranging for ‘Huzzah!’ to ‘about f*cking time’.

Tom Whitty wrote:

Tom Whitty

I’m tired of the weekends spent travelling from one underquoted property to the next, only to be left feeling like an idiot when an auction opens above what would have been our final limit. I’m tired of the car trips back to our rented home, with my hopeful girlfriend talking about how the next property might be the one where we can raise some kids together.

I’m saddened that both my girlfriend and I will have no choice but to work well into our 30s so we can squirrel together a deposit for that two-bedroom dive she’s so sure is just around the corner.

I’m saddened we are being made to delay starting a family, when it’s all she wants. And I’m saddened that so many people who are approaching retirement will react to this with a ”cry me a river” statement, when they know full well they never had it this tough.

From what I can tell, the long of the article is that there’s too much competition out there and that foreign investment and baby boomers’ investment properties have come at the detriment of our generation.


The short of it is we’re screwed.

Back in 1984 when my parents bought their house, the median price in Melbourne was $65,000. Last year, it was $555,000. And yes, average wages have increased in that time, but at not nearly the same speed.

Whitty mentions reports that “go so far as to make the argument that those of us that belong to Generation Y (the renting generation) are too greedy and lazy to know what’s good for us,” when it comes to the big ‘buy a house’ decision.

I’ve seen those arguments. I’ve read them. Sometimes I’ve believed them but the reality is that sure, some lazy 28 year olds exist but that doesn’t change the fact that a one-bedroom apartment in the inner city can cost upwards of half a million dollars.

If anything, the lazy 28-year-old makes it a little more accessible for the rest of us.  Right?

“I put it in the impossible basket,” was the answer from one friend when I put the question of future home ownership to a group of girlfriends over email yesterday afternoon. “Especially if you’re single and especially if you are keen to live in a similar area to where you grew up.”

Another older friend tells me she bought her two-bedroom apartment with her (now) husband five years ago. Back then they paid $450K and that was a stretch. Now, she estimates it would be worth around $575K.

“There’s no way we’d be able to afford that if we were starting now,” she said. “We were lucky to get in when we did.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about the housing market. I’m saving. I’m trying. But I’ve spent enough time looking at and the dollars listed in my monthly bank account statement to know that the numbers simply don’t add up.

In fact, they’re not even close.

How much was your first house? If you don’t own a home, do you plan to? Are you saving?