It's a big stretch to get on the housing ladder
Money Magazine Australia|September 2021
Many young adults are living at home for longer or getting parental help so they can buy their first home
Susan Hely

My daughter, Anita*, and her partner, Sam*, want to buy a home in the midst of a 30-year property bubble.

What do you tell your adult kids about buying a home in this supercharged real estate market?

They will, after all, be slaves to a bank for the next 30 to 35 years, saddled with an enormous debt. But the rental market is unpredictable. Rents have risen where they live, by around 15% over the year. Moving constantly is expensive and time-consuming.

Anita and Sam have moved rental properties four times in the past six years. They moved into a rundown property with low rent less than a year ago. It was in a poor state: a broken stove, black mould on the bathroom walls and ceiling, window frames caked with mould and black dirt.

When they had the carpets steam-cleaned, the cleaner did them a second time for free because they were so filthy. It took six weeks before the stove was replaced. Other things, like the front light, haven’t been repaired. But they cleaned it up and in summer it was sunny and airy. Less than a year later the real estate agent told them the owners are returning from overseas and they have to move out.

“That’s it. We’re going to buy a home and then we won’t have to move all the time and pay more rent,” says Anita. They doubt whether they would even find another rundown home with affordable rent.

The problem is that they have found themselves in an overheated, highly speculative market. House prices are sky high because there is a lack of stock as owners hold onto properties, fearing they will miss out on rising prices.

Sure, they both have full-time jobs and a frugal lifestyle means they have some savings. But they are up against buyers who are often armed with money from the bank of mum and dad or are cashed up foreign buyers but are most likely investors able to take advantage of more readily available credit and more generous tax breaks.

Sixty per cent of Australians don’t think young people will ever be able to afford to buy a home, according to a survey by Resolve Strategic for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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