Gen Y happy to be homeless
5th October 2007
Generation Y prefers maintaining close friendships and "having an exciting life" than trying to buy their own home, a leading researcher says.
The Australian Catholic University's Ruth Webber, co-author of a book on Generation Y being launched today, said younger people "don't need a house to make them happy".
Her comments help explain a new report from the Australian Property Monitors (APM) which claims the trend away from home ownership marked "the slow death of the great Australian dream".
Median weekly rents have jumped as much as 23 per cent in Australia's capital cities over the past year, according to the APM report.
The report blamed this spike on Generation Y's taste for inner-city living and willingness to delay buying into the property market in favour of renting.
"They are not buying into other people's dreams," Associate Professor Webber said of the generation of persons born anywhere from the late 1970s to early 1990s.
"They are quite willing and able to be mobile, and to live for the here and now," said the co-author of The Spirit of Generation Y: Young People's Spirituality in a Changing Australia.
Driving Generation Y's grab for inner urban rental stock are the flexibility of short-term housing leases and the desire to be near family and friends, NSW Real Estate Institute president, Cristine Castle, said.
"This generation has different expectations.
"They are making commitments and having families later in life.
"They do aspire to home ownership, but they are well-paid and well-educated and are able to make choices."
Ms Castle said long commutes from suburban fringes were generally frowned upon by twenty-somethings - who work long hours and are often time poor - while the social opportunities afforded by Australia's big cities were seen as a plus.
"They're looking for lifestyle choices and trying to make the most of what our beautiful cities have to offer," she said.
"Renting is cheaper and more flexible than buying a home.
"A short term lease often suits younger people, who might want to scoot off overseas or change locations with a new job."
Inner Sydney renter Casey Nicholson, 27, a customer support manager, conceded that renting offered less security than home ownership but preferred the greater level of choice that renting affords.
The Surry Hills terrace he rents with four others allows him to "live in the heart of things," he said.
"I definitely value the security of owning a home less than my parents…but the real cost of buying an apartment in inner Sydney is far, far greater than what it was 25 years ago."