For many young Australians, the idea of home ownership is a distant dream drifting further beyond reach each time interest rates are hiked up, as they were on Tuesday, for the 10th time in as many months.
Daily Mail Australia took to Sydney’s streets – and its beaches – to ask Millennials and Gen Z Australians if they still thought they would place a first, tentative step on the housing ladder.
On Tuesday, interest rates were raised to 3.6%, the highest level since 2012, as the Reserve Bank tries to control inflation, which is running at 7.4%, a 30-year high.
Some had abandoned all hope of property ownership, resigned to shelling out hundreds of dollars a week on rent forever, while others had careful strategies to save for their dream home – or were fortunate enough to own already.
Professor Nicole Gurran, expert in urban planning and housing affordability, told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Young people who’ve abandoned hope of getting on the housing ladder are right to feel aggrieved.
‘They’ve been let down by an unfair system which supports landlords rather than renters and existing home owners over those trying to break into the market.’
Mira Almasri (pictured), a single mother-of-two has given up all hope of home ownership in Sydney because the city is ‘too expensive’
Mira Almasri, a 35-year-old single mother, is renting a one-bedroom apartment with her two children aged nine and 14 in Mosman on Sydney’s well-heeled north shore for $600 a week.
‘In Sydney everything is expensive. Even to breathe is expensive,’ she said.
Ms Almasri, who works in a bridal shop in central Sydney, said she had given up all hope of owning a Sydney home.
‘It’s impossible to buy in Sydney,’ she said.
‘Even if you earn loads of money it’s still hard. All my friends who have bought houses in the last two years say they are not happy at all because they are paying high interest rates.’
‘I get around $1,000 a week after tax and I’m paying $600 for a one-bedroom apartment. Add on food, petrol, electricity – it’s too much.’
Across Sydney unit rents jumped by a record 18.6 per cent to a median of $575 per week in December, according to a Domain Rent Report.
Ms Almasri, who is originally from Lebanon, has not been able to return home or travel anywhere overseas for five years now.
‘I can’t put any money on the side,’ she said.
Ms Almasri, who has been in Australia for 14 years, is looking for a three-bedroom house for herself and her two kids.
In her current unit, she sleeps on a sofa bed in the living room while her children share the sole bedroom containing two single beds.
Destiny Griffin (pictured) is hoping to buy some time over the next year
Destiny Griffin, 18, manages a juice bar in Cronulla, South Sydney, and is also a part-time influencer.
She makes around a $1,000 a week and has been able to put $700 away over the last year because she still lives at home in Alexandria, inner Sydney, with her mother.
She said she was thinking of investing in a one-bed ‘doer-upper’ in central Sydney or the nearby eastern suburbs.
‘I want to invest in either a property or a business by the end of the year,’ she said.
While Miss Griffin was tight-lipped about what that business might be, she was at the beach to take some pictures for a bikini brand who had sent her some free swimwear to promote to her 12,000 Instagram followers.
Asked if she would consider buying in the city’s west, where property prices are cheaper, she said ‘no’.
‘There’s nothing wrong with it – it’s very up-and-coming,’ she said.
‘I could move out and pay for a property out there pretty easily with the job I have. But why would I do that if I can live at home in the city.’
‘It’s not even like I live in the nicest or the biggest house but I am right in the centre of everything so can’t really complain about that.’
Miss Griffin, who drives a Mercedes, said she would be open to the idea of reality television – but not in Australia.
‘Who do we have that we find most famous in Australia? Probably NRL players,’ she said.
She added: ‘That’s what does my head in about every girl that wants to go out with an NRL player. I could if I wanted to but I see them as a bit of a barrier. This is the way I think of it: an NRL player is on a contract, they can only ever go so high.’
Santos Tiwari (pictured) has just opened the Dumpling & Momo bar in central Sydney
Santos Tiwari, 35, is an entrepreneur who runs several coffee stands across Sydney and has just opened a dumpling bar in a laneway off George Street in the CBD.
He bought a five-bedroom house in Adelaide in 2015 which he rents out for $550 dollars a week.
But he says property in his home city is absurdly priced.
‘It would be nice to buy one in Sydney but not the amount you have to pay now – it’s just ridiculous,’ he said.
‘I’d probably buy somewhere else in Australia rather than in Sydney.’
Mr Tiwari lives in a two-bedroom house with a harbour view in Gladesville, in Sydney’s lower north shore, which costs $700 a week.
Jacob Burrows (pictured), an electrician from Western Australia, has studied the property market and hopes to buy in the next year
Jacob Burrows, 22, an electrician from Perth, Western Australia, hopes to buy a property within the next 12 months despite interest rates being at their highest since 2012.
He has done a lot of research, including reading a book about a man who owned 30 properties by the age of 30.
‘It’s fairly hard at the moment because everything is so expensive,’ he said.
‘A couple of years ago I wanted to try and understand the market to appreciate what’s involved in buying a house. I spent a year or so learning the housing market and now I’m going to try to look for cheaper houses instead of buying one big one so that I can have a smaller deposit.’
Mr Burrows, who is visiting his girlfriend in Sydney, said buying property in the NSW capital was out of the question.
‘It’s ridiculous,’ he said. ‘Buying one small place here would probably get you two houses in Perth.’
Mr Burrows, who now earns $100,000 a year, went into his trade as soon as he left school at the age of 17 and is looking at places he could renovate himself.
‘You don’t want to over compromise,’ he said. ‘I took a step back and weighed up the quality of my life and I realised if I rented a smaller house I could have a better style of living, I could travel more etc.’
He hopes to enter the property market without help from his parents.
‘I’d rather do it myself than having to worry about mum and dad,’ he said.
Stephanie Zizer, 35, first got on the property ladder four years ago
Stephanie Zizer, 35, has lived in Sydney her whole life.
Mrs Zizer, who is a full-time mum to her two children, first got on the property ladder four years ago.
She and her husband, who runs a waste and recycling business, are paying off a four-bedroom house in pricey Vaucluse.
But the recent interest hikes have impacted them.
‘Massively,’ she said. ‘There’s obviously been quite a few increases and it’s affecting everyone at the minute.”
Before she bought with her husband, Mrs Zizer rented in the eastern suburbs.
‘It’s always been expensive to live in the east but it was manageable then,’ she said.
Garth Johnstone (pictured) plans to put down roots in Australia after moving from the UK
Garth Johnstone, 25, moved to Sydney from the outskirts of London three-and-a-half years ago.
Mr Johnstone works as a roofer and shares a place in Darlinghurst in the city’s inner east.
‘My rent is $450 a week right now but might be going up soon with all the price increases,’ he said.
‘Some of my mates’ have already gone up to $500 a week and I’ve heard of some hostels where you pay $450 for a bed in an eight-man dorm.’
‘It’s a crazy price, especially for travellers trying to set up a life over here.’
Mr Garth, who is is training for his roof plumbing licence, is working towards permanent residency and plans to settle down in Australia.
He is saving towards buying a place within the next five years.
‘The market has skyrocketed recently,’ he said.
‘It’s pretty dreadful to live here but I don’t really see myself moving to far out west but obviously there’s a lot cheaper rent and more jobs as well so it might have to be done.’
Zoe Janssen (pictured) is working as a paralegal while she studies law
Zoe Janssen, 21, is working as a paralegal in central Sydney while she completes her law degree and lives with her parents in Roseville on the north shore .
‘I’ve got no immediate plans start renting because everything is paid for at home and I’m saving money,’ she said.
When she is ready to buy, her dream location would be somewhere near the beach in Sydney.
‘Really anywhere you can get at this point,’ she said.
Professor Gurran said the Australian government could do more to help young people have a fair chance of getting on the housing ladder.
‘They have ignored three decades of research evidence on how to make the housing system fairer and more efficient,’ she said.
‘While recent promises of a national housing plan and increased social and affordable supply are important, obvious and immediate measures – like increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance; reforming the private rental sector; and requiring new housing developments to include affordable homes to buy and rent – continue to be overlooked.’