Owning your own home used to be the great Australian dream.
A modern little family home with a pool and a barbie in the ‘burbs.
An antique Queenslander in a quiet inner-city cul-de-sac with a little white picket fence.
A couple of heavenly hectares in the sticks – just far out enough to wake up to the screech of lorikeets every morning but close enough to the town’s amenities.
But for many Gen Zs, the great Australian dream has become more like a housing nightmare they’re unable to wake from.
Yep, as interest rates rise, house prices soar, and incomes fail to match inflation rates, fears of renting for life are exploding among young Australians.
According to our latest Big Youth survey conducted in December, about one in five (18%) Gen Zs said they think they’ll rent for life. For some these fears are borne from their housing situation growing up.
“The biggest problem in my life right now is money and housing,” a 17-year-old male from regional Queensland said.
“We barely have enough to eat after paying for rent, not to mention that there are 8 of us living in one 5 bedroom house.”
But when we dive into the data we’ve gathered from the 1367 Gen Zs we surveyed, the resignation actually gets worse the older they get.
For example, 16% of 18-year-olds think they’ll rent for life.
But almost one in three (29%) of 20-year-old Gen Zs reckon they’re going to be renting for life.
That’s nearly double as many. In just two years.
What this tells us is that with just a little age and experience, concerns about renting and buying a house begin to grow pretty rapidly. Experiences like this 20-year-old male from NSW has had.
“My biggest challenges currently are all involving money and finances. I’m currently looking for a second job to have a stable enough income to save money and pay rent, which is proving extremely difficult,” he said.
A 21-year-old female from the ACT had similar problems after recently moving into a new share house.
“I feel apprehensive about the future, especially in regards to saving for a house deposit,” she said.
“It seems borderline impossible to save significant amounts of money whilst renting, but I have to rent to live close to my university which is a constant battle.”
It’s not all bad news though.
Because according to the very same survey, just under a quarter (22%) of young people said they’re already saving for a house.
This means the message has gotten through to a good amount of young Australians that they need to start saving early to ensure they’re not renting for life.
Godspeed, Gen Zs!