Boomer parents worry about kids being unable to afford property

LONDON: While some Baby Boomers are telling youngsters to stop whinging about rising interest rates, a new survey revealed many older Australians have a lot of compassion for the situation facing young people.

An online survey found many people were worried about future generations when asked about their attitude towards property affordability.

The survey had 14,045 respondents and found 55 per cent of people were concerned property prices were over-inflated.

Another 18 per cent were worried they could be shut out of the market, and 22 per cent worried they would never be able to afford to get buy a home.

A common response among the 1433 written comments was “I am worried for my kids” or sympathising about how hard it was for first home buyers.

“Very hard for young people starting out” one said.

“I am concerned my adult children will be forced to move away from their support networks in order to buy a house,” one parent commented.

“I worry my children will not be able to afford property. Or will be in extreme debt if they buy,” another wrote.

“My kids are on good wages but will never be able to afford to buy a house. The government homebuyer subsidies are just inflating prices further,” was another comment.

Many recognised this may also impact their own finances.

“As property prices are over the top, I know I’ll be bank mum to my children,” one woman said.

Others simply lamented how expensive it had become to buy property and live a decent life in Australia.

“It’s called a dream for a reason….because you’re dreaming if you think you can afford one,” one reader said.

“House prices are destroying our way of life,” one person wrote, another said: “the only way to own property is waiting for people to die”.

“Housing affordability is impossible for a single-income family,” someone noted.

“The cost of housing is completely divorced from the reality of wages and expenses,” another said.

Others observed: “Housing in australia is a Ponzi Scheme only benefiting older Australians”, while another asked: “Why the hell do we still have negative gearing? This is one easily fixed cause of high property prices”.

Even among those who had managed to buy, this had involved large compromises for some.

“Had to move states to afford property,” one person said, while another revealed: “property is over priced in the cities so I have to remain in the country despite my preference being the city”.

“Prices in Australia are ridiculous,” was the succinct answer one person gave.

The survey was conducted between March 7 and April 14, before the Reserve Bank of Australia announced a 0.25 percentage point increase to the cash rate.

The rate raise is the first of many expected this year, but retiree Ron de Gruchy said he had to endured a 17 per cent interest rate in 1990 — the highest the nation has ever experienced.

“Back then, people didn’t complain — they just adjusted,” he said to the publication.

“Higher interest rates are not the end of the world … but I think youngsters have got it pretty good.”

“I am sick of the same narrative, work hard and don’t waste on toasts and avocados like I did and I am proud to have few properties,” one reader said.

Another noted: “I think people need to be satisfied with smaller houses”, while someone said “simplify your lives”.

There was also concern about foreign investment and negative gearing.

“Having to compete against foreign buyers is a disgrace,” one person said.

“Foreign investment takes houses and increases prices,” another said.

“Negative gearing should be restricted to a single property. Foreign investment in residential property needs to be severely curtailed. Tenants need stronger rights and rental properties should have minimum maintenance standards rather than the slums and dog boxes on the market at overinflated rents now.”