No, Avocados Are Not the Reason Why You Can’t Afford a Home


Yesterday, professional rich guy Tim Gurner went on Australian television to talk about the property market. During his conversation on the program 60 Minutes, Gurner stated that young people can’t afford homes because they are not careful with their money. During the segment, Gurner — whose net worth is in the hundreds of millions — said “When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each.”

As a lover of all things avocado and hopefully a future home-buyer, I couldn’t help but laugh at Gurner’s complete lack of self-awareness. Sure, first-time home buyers are at a 30-year low in the United States, with only 35% of 18-to-35-year-olds owning homes. Yet this decline in ownership does not, in fact, have anything to do with avocado toast, guacamole, or any avocado-based luxury food item.

Instead, there are several real-world factors people like Gurner must take into account before shaming the next generation into buying costly properties. If you’re 35 or under, chances are you’re all too familiar with these facts. Yet given the absurdity of the comment and overall negative sentiment towards younger generations from “the olds,” it’s high time everyone commits these truths to memory:

Young people have too much student debt.

In 2016, around 44 million U.S. citizens held an average of $37,172 in student loan debt. Analysts believe there is approximately $1.44 trillion (with a T) in overall student debt in the United States. Millions of those with student debt have defaulted on their loans or are late paying them back. With so much in outstanding debt, it’s no wonder why people aren’t lining up to take out mortgages.

The idea of buying a house is freakin’ terrifying.

Remember when the housing market collapsed in 2007-2008? The 18-to-35 generation ‘members. Stories of mass foreclosures, evictions, and loss of property value are barely a decade old, yet still fresh in the minds of the young generation that witnessed it firsthand. Asking that same generation to buy a house is like asking them to gamble when they really don’t want to.

The whole “job sitch” is kind of a mess.

Jobs are up, but middle-class income growth is pretty much non-existent. Though job prospects for graduating classes are slightly more positive than before, those new to the workforce and their new coworkers have a lot to worry about. First, there’s the fear of a possible economic collapse caused by the new presidential administration. Then, there’s the idea that any and all jobs could be replaced by robots. Last but not least is the lack of care by politicians to institute a basic universal income should a job/industry go belly-up. (That, and the slow, painful death of programs like Social Security, are pretty big worry points.)

Tim Gurner is a man of means, btw.

Being shamed into not owning a house is one of the dumbest things one can judge you on. The reason that Tim Gurner even has a house to begin with is solely due to his grandfather’s generous gift of $34,000 to start his business. This eventually afforded Gurner the chance to buy his house and many other nice things. If only we were all so lucky.

So, should you buy a house?

Do you even want a house? Then ask yourself this: can you afford to pay off your debts immediately or over time, pay for any/all necessary repairs, shell out thousands a year for property taxes and home insurance, and still live within your means? If you answered “yes” to everything, then maybe it’s time to look into taking out a 20- or 30-year mortgage, putting down a payment, and buying a place to call your own.

If you can’t afford your existing debt or the debts you take on when buying a house, simply don’t. Pay off your debts, save every penny you can and put some money away as you plan for the future. Perhaps even treat yourself to some avocado toast while you’re at it, because you’re friggin worth it.