I’m 25 years old and I’m not currently saving for a house. I should be, but I’m not. Instead, I’m putting my coin away with the hope that I’ll one day be able to afford a Land Rover Freelander 2.
That might sound like a pretty misinformed dream to have – to ride around in four-wheeled, elevated European comfort on nothing but bitumen instead of prospectively owning the roof over my head – but there are a few reasons why I’ve come to this conclusion and I kind of think that I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
I recently accompanied two friends on some house and apartment inspections and quickly came to see the reality of just what $1 million buys you in Sydney. For those not in the know, over the last two and a half years Sydney housing prices have been on the rise and $1 million is only likely to get you two or three bedrooms, one living area, a bathroom and one or two parking spaces, about 10 kilometres from the CBD. That might appear like a lot on paper, but it didn’t feel like it in the flesh. Standing in a unit with 30 other wannabe home owners made me feel like the walls were really coming in on me – in more ways than one. I began thinking:
There’s no way I could save enough money to buy a nice place. A nice car on the other hand…
The inspections had me a little dejected about the whole property ownership thing and gave a whole new definition to the phrase ‘million dollar view’, because it turns out that in the current market, a very busy section of Epping Road would fit the description.
See, I work full-time and I earn okay money, but if a pokey 70s apartment block or hastily constructed new set-five is all that is sitting at the top of this financial mountain that me and my contemporaries are struggling to climb, then I really don’t know if I can make the summit. Especially when I could be driving around base camp in dual climate controlled luxury with leather seats and a panoramic sun roof instead.
I know I’m omitting a lot of logic with this thought, such as the fact that property is an asset and offers a level of security to your future, but it also ties you down to mortgage repayments and I don’t think I’m ready for that level of commitment. I can’t even commit to watering my plants once a week.
That’s why I’m fantasising over a four wheel drive instead of a townhouse. I don’t think I should be ashamed to admit that, either.
A holiday here, a new car there, some nice shirts or a new Apple product – these are the things that seem somewhat attainable.
I admit that this perspective on life carries a strong Gen-Y bent, but aren’t we the ones in a position to change what convention dictates at this stage of life? So long as there’s no pretence, I think young people should be able to enjoy their lives to a particular degree without the crushing pressure to save at all costs to buy property.
I’m not positing that you throw caution to the wind and start spending big, because saving for property is very important. But I am suggesting that you take the slightly longer route to get there. Try the cruise control on your way.
This post was written with support from Land Rover.