It seems rental properties around the City of Melbourne are rarer than a dentist specializing in female poultry. I have recently found myself in the role of House Hunter, trying to find my next abode. This whole process has left me pessimistic about my generations future quality of life and ability to find a place to call home. I never thought I would feel this way, but I long for the days when houses hunted me! Knocking on my door in the middle of the night, stalking me through the windows at work or simply whispering “Move in” as we walked past each other on the street. The hunted has now become the hunter!
The REIV recently released figures that showed vacancy rate in Melbourne to be at 1.4%. The availability of property had not improved in the past 3 years either, similar to the quality of Australian content on commercial TV. Who’s to blame for this? I hear myself ask rhetorically- Baby Boomers. Those crazy over 50 somethings who love to invest in property. Growing up, they dreamt of quarter acre blocks and their own piece of turf to call home. Achieving this quite early in life, they later moved on to grab more and more land to compensate for their dodgy super balances.
Now burdened with massive mortgages, Boomers turn to the younger generations to service their debt via ridiculous rents. The younger generations have no choice. Such is the demand for property, prices have risen accordingly, forcing the young away from the home-owner market and into the rental one.It has created a classic case of supply not meeting demand. Anyone who passed first year economics or watched ‘A Beautiful Mind’ knows this creates a price increase. It appears the Great Australian Dream of owning your own home is in fact that- a dream! As a card carrying member (we get great video rental deals on Tuesdays!) of the younger Generations, I am facing a future of paying off other people’s investments.
But even the process of securing a rental property is ridiculous! You are forced to treat Real Estate folk, who normally sit second last on the Ladder of Societal respect just above employment recruiters, with the reverence of a visiting dignitary. You then turn up to an inspection, along with another 3,000 others to view a piece of wood/bricks the size of a shoe box. If you are lucky, the most important rooms of the kitchen and bathroom will be liveable but you will have to exchange this feature for another $60 a week rent or live next to a train line, rapist or chemical factory...or all three. Once you have filled in the 2kgs of documents needed for the application, along with the appropriate blood samples and phone details of your Primary School Calisthenics teacher, you stand a chance of getting a pad. As long as one of the other 246 applicants haven’t bribed or is loosely related to the Property Manager.
Surely there is a better way! In a country so big... can t we spread out a bit! I get that the cities are great places to live, but that’s because everywhere else is so boring. Perhaps if government and industry invested in regional areas, people may be able, and want, to work elsewhere and even afford a house! That’s not too much to ask is it? Maybe I’m dreamin’....