Griffith may be one of the last prosperous towns in Australia where a young person can afford both a house deposit and expensive avocado brunches. But it may not be that way for long.
Avocado and housing parallels in Australia have attracted worldwide attention since real estate mogul Tim Gurner told Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes millennials should stop buying $19 smashed avocado meals if they want to get into the property market.
The Internet exploded in response, with many pointing out Sydney’s median house price of $1.2 million equals a lot of avocado.
Il Corso Cafe’s avocado, ricotta, roasted capsicum and pinenuts bruschetta costs $11.50. You would have to sacrifice 21,200 of them to afford a 20 per cent deposit for an average Sydney house. That’s 7,000 more than a median property deposit in New York costs.
But in Griffith, the median house price is around $300,000 – a deposit equals 5,200 avocado bruschettas. About 14 years of no daily brunches and you’re set.
Luke Papandrea, an agent at Griffith Real Estate, doesn’t understand all the fuss over avocados, describing them as “tasteless mush”. But he thinks a young person can still have a social life and a house here.
“Griffith is still a lot more affordable than other markets – there’s still houses within the real of young people. You do have to prioritise your finances and make sacrifices, but you can still have fun,” he said.
But it may not be that way for long.
“Over the past 24 months we’ve seen a 13 to 15 per cent average increase in prices.”
William Wood, a 28-year-old engineer, says it’s true young people “do travel, spend on brunch and cars, drink on weekends”.
“But with the cost of housing increasing faster than wage growth, they are more affordable than owning a home for many. But Griffith is the exception. Young people can still afford homes if they are living at home and saving diligently.”
Helena Beltrame, a 19-year-old student, expects she’ll be living with mum and dad a lot longer to be able to afford a housing deposit.
“It seems as if young people are getting a raw deal generally. We also have to pay more for university,” she said.
William said, “Griffith is still affordable but prices are still going up. There are young people in Griffith who are both professionals or tradies earning upwards of 75K a year yet live at home and work night jobs in restaurants in order to save up for house deposits.”
He said that’s it’s tougher for millennials than in the past, when an unskilled worker’s wage could be saved towards a home quite easily.