I'm Resigned To The Fact That I'll Probably Rent Forever

And I've stopped believing that politicians want to help me out.

A few months ago I was having dinner with my partner and we started talking about our future. We've been together just over four years and sometimes our conversations shift to where we want to be "one day". The careers we want to have. Whether we want children. What we want to do when we both finish our degrees. Where we would live...

My partner looked down at his plate and sighed.

"We're never going to be able to afford a house, are we?"

I replied without even thinking.

"Definitely not. At least, not in Sydney."

I don't know if many people my age have these conversations with their partners, but I know for certain that young people are starting to feel more and more certain that they'll probably never be able to afford a house.

The issue of housing affordability has started to penetrate our vernacular. We tag each other in articles and memes on Facebook to try to make light of the situation. See that car space in Potts Point? It sold for more than $200,000. A car space. Sold for more than the average Australian earns over four years.

I have resigned myself, at this point, to the fact that I will be renting for the rest of my life. I have accepted that the city I have grown up in and currently live in just won't be within my price range. I have accepted that I will probably have to move interstate at some stage in order to save enough money to get into the property market.

I have come to terms with the fact that the economic climate we are in today is not like the economic climate my parents experienced 20 years ago when they were first-home buyers. My opportunities will be different from theirs. Perhaps ownership is an old dream that should fade like the notion of a nuclear family. Our world just isn't the same.

There is certainly more our government can do for young people in terms of housing affordability. The first port of call should be to simplify the language used to explain and describe the 'crisis' we're facing. Using complex economic terms such as negative gearing only makes us more confused and more inclined to disengage and withdraw from political discussion. Young people need to be included in the conversation because, ultimately, we will be most effected in the long term.

Sydney has become ridiculously unaffordable and it's only going to be get worse if nothing is done about it.

The government could also invest more in assisting first-home buyers, who are being shut out of the market before they've even entered it. First-home buyers aren't just being beaten at auction, they're beaten by the staggering reserve prices. They simply can't compete.

They say they understand how Australians must be feeling. They say they understand the stress low and middle-income families are under as housing prices continue to rise. They are committed to finding a feasible long term solution, they assure us.

At the start, we believe them. Until our predicament starts being thrown around like a political football with fingers being pointed at the opposing party across the House of Reps and nothing getting done.

We stop believing them when we see our own Prime Minister suggesting parents dig into their own pockets to give their children a leg up in the property market, forgetting that most Australians have their own mortgages to meet and bills to pay.

I look around and I see, primarily, older and wealthier men debating an issue that isn't relevant to them and hasn't been for years, and I wonder how things can possibly change when the most affected people aren't even part of the discussion.

We stop believing them when our political elite suggest we get higher paying jobs to better our chances of getting into the housing market. We lose faith when penalty rates are cut and young Australians, single parents and low income earners are hit the hardest.

I look at our political representatives in State and Federal Parliament and I realise that the people who are impacted the most by this crisis, young people and low to middle-income earners, are grossly under-represented.

I look around and I see, primarily, older and wealthier men debating an issue that isn't relevant to them and hasn't been for years, and I wonder how things can possibly change when the most affected people aren't even part of the discussion.

The NSW Premier and our Prime Minister say housing affordability is at the top of their agenda. It's a key policy issue they're ready to tackle. But I don't know if I believe that anymore.

The solution I envisage for myself and my future family is one consistent with many other young Australians. Move out of the city where the cost of living is more reasonable. Save as much as possible and eventually reserve enough to place a deposit on a property in the country. Rent that property out, sell it eventually and buy something slightly bigger or closer to the city. The solution I envisage doesn't involve politicians coming up with a solution or helping along the way. We're on our own on this one.

Young Australians are going to have to be smarter investors. We are also going to have to be patient if we're going to enter the property market eventually. We're not in the same position as our parents or our grandparents. We're living in a completely different world. And we need to be able to adapt to those changes.


Over the next few weeks The Huffington Post Australia will run a series of daily blogs on housing affordability called The Great Australian Nightmare.

Everyone from senior government ministers to first-home buyers will have their say on what we at HuffPost Australia consider one of the biggest issues facing Australia.

If you'd like to submit a blog, you can send a 500-800 piece through to blogteam@huffingtonpost.com.au



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