Are you a young aspiring homeowner? Worried about being locked out of the housing market? Don't worry.
The current situation of Australia's housing affordability crisis has nothing to do with, say, for instance:
- spiralling prices;
- negative gearing;
- capital gains tax concessions;
- record-low interest rates driving a rampant culture of risky borrowing and lending practises to prop up aspiring investment tycoons;
- governments feasting on the supply of stamp duty and property tax.
No, it's all your own fault. Well, your fault, and the fault of avocado toast and expensive coffee.
Construction mogul Tim Gurner is upfront about Australia's housing problem -he says his generation needs to stop whinging & start saving. pic.twitter.com/bysx3Jler5— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) May 14, 2017
That's the assessment of 34-year-old Aussie property developer Tim Gurner. He appeared on 60 Minutes over the weekend to say that young people need to stop whinging and simply cut back on the breakfast luxuries if they want a house.
And now, he's being roasted across several continents.
"When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each, Gurner said. "We're at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high... They want to eat out every day, they want travel to Europe every year."
Of course, Gurner's property empire (he is reported to have "almost half a billion dollars") wasn't built on just a stingy attitude to cafe delicacies. He also got his start after getting a $34,000 gift from his grandfather.
If you started drinking coffee at 16 you'd have to forgo 8.8 flat whites every single day to save the same amount he was handed by aged 19 pic.twitter.com/8OqR3G3EXk— Gina Rushton (@ginarush) May 14, 2017
Gurner's comments were the latest addition to Australia's bizarre obsession with the correlation between smashed avocado, complaints about millennials and the housing market (see here, here, here, here and here), and they quickly went viral on Australian social media.
miilennials who drink coffee vs milennials who don't pic.twitter.com/NyTrC5fUxh— Jess Wheeler (@wheelswordsmith) May 15, 2017
i never go out to breakfast and don't drink coffee, so should own a home by 2050 when we are forced into the sewers by nuclear war— thomas violence (@thomas_violence) May 15, 2017
Summer follows spring, the birds eat the worms, so too does the tough-talking property mogul come from absurd family wealth pic.twitter.com/U98ecN07Tx— Christian 💬 (@christianmccrea) May 14, 2017
Gurner's comments at the intersection of breakfast and housing affordability fail to take into account recent reports which have stated Sydney housing prices can be 12 times the average income, up from about four times the average income in 1975, while 40 percent of Sydney households were "locked out" of the city area and unable to find affordable homes within distance of the city.
It's also important to note a recent report found Sydney had the second most unaffordable major city housing in the world, and that 90 percent of Australians believe home ownership will be out of reach of future generations.
The Guardian showed that you would need to skip more than 9000 avocado toasts to scrape together an average house deposit in Sydney, while Junkee wrote this piece explaining the other non-avocado-related difficulties young people face in entering the housing market. Others shared graphics showing that, actually, young people are spending less on luxuries and more on housing than generations past.
Gurner's comments were widely roasted in Australia, and we all went to bed. Then the United States noticed Gurner and his avo-nomics.
Millionaire to millennials: Stop buying avocado toast if you want to buy a home https://t.co/JVpbiLrvv5— TIME (@TIME) May 15, 2017
a rich australian property magnate said millennials spend too much on avo toast...and the new york times is on it pic.twitter.com/BhwPuwAFYI— John McDuling (@jmcduling) May 16, 2017
See how much avocado toast you would have to give up to buy a home https://t.co/VdnEKhO4H0— TIME (@TIME) May 15, 2017
Time Magazine got on it. Then the New York Times, LA Times and more. There were thinkpieces, there were tweets, there were jokes, and there was a whole lot of outrage, showing that attacks on delicious breakfast treats will not be tolerated anywhere in the western hemisphere.
Australian millionaire Tim Gurner says young people can't afford to buy homes because they're spending 💸 on "avocado toast" & coffee. pic.twitter.com/68CMu6QcJw— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 15, 2017
EXCLUSIVE: Trump told Russian officials millennials would be able to afford houses if they stopped buying avocado toast.— eve peyser (@evepeyser) May 15, 2017
Alright, I did the math. If I stopped eating avocado toast every day, I would be able to afford a bad house in Los Angeles in 642 years. pic.twitter.com/nqhiqnQ07E— Kaleb Horton (@kalebhorton) May 15, 2017
Avocado Toast $6.50— Foghorn Greghorn (@grgdwyr) May 15, 2017
someone who is good at the economy please help me budget this. my family is dying https://t.co/p0SCdjHmTS
Median US Home: $188,900— Jacob Bacharach (@jakebackpack) May 15, 2017
$19 Avocado Toast + 4 x $4 coffee = $35
20% down on 30-yr Fixed = Literally 3 yrs of eating this bfast every day! https://t.co/rA7hX1IW6q
As someone who spends $2000 a month on avocado toast, this article hit home https://t.co/FyQKWIbU9Y— Nate Scott (@aNateScott) May 15, 2017
Gurner's comments soon went viral in the States. Australians were kind of proud.
@TVMcGee I can't believe all Australia had to do to tear the US apart was tell you guys about Avocado Toast— Erin Riley (@erinrileyau) May 16, 2017
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