According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2011/12, 53 percent of Australians aged 18 to 24 were living at home with mum and dad. This up from 47 percent in 2006/07 and shows little signs of slowing.
And of course we are. Rents are expensive, we’re up to our eyeballs in student debt and the property market is becoming more and more unrealistic for the majority of us. It’s no wonder we’re spending more time at home than we are venturing out into the real world.
The latest ABS statistics back this up, citing financial reasons as the biggest factor in millennials kicking it at home for longer. Not only that, we’re studying for longer, with a third of gen Y receiving university education, compared to only a fifth of Baby Boomers (who also got theirs for free).
Social researcher Mark McCrindle says that this prolonged adolescence has pushed back many adult milestones such as buying a house, marriage and having kids, with the average of women giving birth sitting at 30.7 years. For the Baby Boomers, that average was 25 years.
“It’s now the social norm for young people to be living with their parents whereas in previous generations it was seen as a failure to launch,” he says.
He also points out that this isn’t a sign of a lacking of independence, but rather that it makes sense to take advantage of a spare room if it’s available.
While the Boomers might be quick to point out lower wages in their day, the cost of buying a home was also lower, costing on average just $64,000. The Australian median house price as of 2015 rose to $660,000, and if you live in Sydney, you’ll need to come up with around $150,000 for a 20 percent deposit plus stamp duty, unless you want to pay for mortgage insurance.
Saving 20% is a massive challenge, says this financial advisor.
It seems like a classic “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” scenario. We stay at home and delay our own development, or we go it on our own and risk a life of perpetual renting. Of course, there might a third option, but that involves either A) getting a high paying job, B) giving up spending money on anything fun, or C) living where it’s affordable (i.e. nowhere good).
The fact that stories about 23-year-olds buying property are newsworthy just goes to show how hard it is for a young person to enter the market. A young adult being able to purchase property shouldn’t be a novelty, it should be achievable, and no, not everyone can move back home to do it.