Why I’ll never own a house

In 1988, the year before I was born, the average cost of a house in Australia was about $80,000 (a little higher in places like Sydney and Melbourne, lower in Adelaide and Hobart). The average wage was about $25,000.

In 2013, we’re averaging around $50,000 a year in earnings and house prices in capital cities cost (on average) over $500,000.

Let’s look at the math here for a second. If the average person’s ENTIRE earnings went towards their house in 1988 (i.e. they had no taxes, no other costs, just this average-price house to pay off) – it’d take them just over three years to pay off.

If the average person in 2013 was paying off their average-priced house in the same way (no taxes, no other costs, just the house alone) – it’d take them ten years to pay off.

Of course, this maths doesn’t take into account all the other costs of living (bills, groceries, children, taxes, health, entertainment, etc) and it assumes these people are buying houses alone – when quite often, there is a second income involved. (Thank God!)

So even if I found a way to put half of my earnings towards buying a house in this day and age (and I don’t even nearly make $50,000), it’d take me over 20 years to pay off… TWENTY YEARS! And while I could realistically put half my earnings aside now for a house, how would I be able to do the same when I had kids?

Sure, some people are willing to commit to this – to investing in land and bricks upon it – but I’m not.

I was one of those kids who grew up moving around, except my dad wasn’t in the defense forces. By the time I chose to move out on my own at 22, I’d lived in eight houses with my parents and sister, and two more houses while on exchange in the USA, age 21.

Since then, I’ve racked up another two homes, totaling 12 houses across four Australian states and one state in the USA. I’ve only even known this semi-nomadic lifestyle – so why would I commit to investing SO much money into something I’ll probably get bored of after a year or two?

But I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. People my age who lived in one house their entire lives also worry about the cost of buying a house and what we’d have to give up in an attempt to make it happen. And what an attempt it would be! No bank would give a single 24 year old girl with a below-average (or even average) income a loan for a mortgage! Owning a house just isn’t part of the Australian dream anymore, not for my generation – we can barely afford the rent we are paying!

Instead, we are sending thousand of dollars annually down the drain in rent because it’s really our only option.

Society goes on about how my generation is the lucky generation, handed everything on a silver platter. Society forgets that living costs are through the roof and that the gap between the average income and a basic house is way too great for anyone not on six figures and in a relationship with a second six figure income to even contemplate.

I’m not asking for a raise, god no, I’ve proved time and time again that I can live on absolute SCRAPS – what I’m saying is that houses aren’t a realistic part of the Australian dream anymore. Thanks inflation and other economic issues I barely understand.

My generation are lucky in many ways, but I wonder how many of us will own houses by the age of 30… or even 40? Unless I marry VERY wealthy, it’s unlikely I’ll ever been a homeowner. And that’s the brutal truth of the matter.

*All stats in this piece are from the ABS, the Australian Property Monitors and Macquarie University – but I almost didn’t graduate high school, my maths marks were so abysmal and I’m terrible at reading stats so pls feel free to correct me if I’m wrong… PLEASE!