Housing affordability has been making headlines for years. The average house once cost four times the average annual household income. Now it’s between 8 and 9 times. In the space of a few generations, young Australians are struggling to own a home. And while it wasn’t easy for their parents or grandparents, the sad reality is that for the younger generation, the ‘Great Australian Dream’ may remain just that.
A wealthy real estate mogul brazenly stated that giving up ‘smashed avocado’ would fix the problem. Sorry mate, it’s going to take a lot more than cheaper brekkies for millennials to break into the housing market.
The evidence is hard to dispute. Wage growth has slowed while house prices have skyrocketed. And the result? According to a 2017 study conducted by HSBC, only 28% of Australians aged between 18 and 36 own their own home. This is the world’s second-lowest rate after the United Arab Emirates.
But this isn’t just a problem for millennials – it is directly going to affect baby boomers in the coming years. When baby boomers were the same age as the millennials today, many took advantage of relatively cheaper land in newer suburbs away from the CBD. Over the years they have enjoyed watching their valuations rise, expecting a tidy return on their investment and a comfortable retirement. But if millennials can’t break into the market, then who is going to buy these houses?
This isn’t just a problem for millennials – it is directly going to affect baby boomers in the coming years. When baby boomers were the same age as the millennials today, many took advantage of relatively cheaper land in newer suburbs away from the CBD.
You may think low-cost housing is the solution, but it can only go so far. The government can’t build low-cost housing fast enough to cater for people on low incomes. Many have very little or no savings. If they lost their job, do you know how long it would take on average to face the prospect of homelessness? Six weeks.
Our cities need a host of workers to run smoothly. Teachers, nurses, policemen, cleaners, firemen and the like. If these workers can’t afford to live in the cities, who’ll service us?
Put simply, the cost of housing is prohibitive to many young adults. And if you think that entering the rental market is any easier, think again. If you’re in the low-income bracket it’s hard to even get a look in.
So enough with the problems – where is the solution I hear you ask? Well given this bleak reality, we can’t just stand by and watch this generational collapse.
What if young adults were provided with a means to save money, live independently and gain a character reference to help them buy or rent property? What if this way of living was consistent with the values we hold dear, such as sustainability, inclusivity and fun?
Well there is – it’s called ‘Xchanging’. It’s a model where people trade their time and skills for room and board.
Xchanging is a stepping stone into the next phase of life for those who are financially challenged, wish to live in a more environmentally friendly manner or can’t get into the rental market. Xchanging is gaining traction quickly, and as more Xchangers join the platform, the better the network becomes for everyone.
As you wonder if you could become an Xchanger, just consider this. Do you know how many unused spare bedrooms are in Australia? According to a report by finder.com.au, there are over 7 million! If your home has one of these spare bedrooms, you may now be realising how beneficial Xchanging can be.
Xchanging is a proven model that is providing millennials with a foothold into independent living while helping time-poor homeowners. Surely that is an initiative (and not a dream) that all Australians can get behind. And the good news is, you can Xchange short-term or long term. It’s up to you.
Article originally posted on The Big Smoke. Reposted with permission.