The starting point for a first home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money. If you’ve got a good job and it pays good money and you have security in relation to that job, then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money and that’s readily affordable.The Hon. Joe Hockey, Treasurer 9 June 2015

Dear Mr Hockey,

I have a good job, one that pays good money, and I have relative job security. But all that considering, dropping into my local bank branch and applying for a loan for a little slice of Sydney is not something I can do in the near future.

You see, Mr Hockey, in your comments yesterday you belittled my efforts and came across as, well, a bit of an insensitive dick.

I have a good job and honest job. I work hard. I’m a typical Aussie.

I studied hard for five years in order to graduate with distinction from one of the best universities in Australia. It set me up to start full time work the week after I submitted my final assessment. I’ve now, by all measures, been working hard at my good job for 18months. During that time I pushed myself to understand the grown up world of money and strived to make wise decisions.

I currently earn about the average amount among working Australians and above the average income for someone of a spirited 24. After making a small super contribution to meet my employer contributions of 17%, I diligently pay my taxes and a chip away at my $30k HECS debt.

I’m left with just over 55% in net earnings. Of that I save 35%. How? I live with my parents. I then pay them 20% for the roof over my head, the food I consume and to insure my wellbeing.

As for the rest of the money, well I’m a spendthrift. Wrong.
I catch public transport to my job and use my car only on weekends.
I give generously to others, including those who will never afford a roof over their heads.
And with what’s left, about 20%, I enjoy life as a young wealthy woman: I eat brunch, I shop, I travel.

I made a pretty chart to show you where my money goes. No drugs. No cigarettes. No alcohol…okay scrap the last one.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.20.40 pm

But here’s the deal, even after intense saving I’m at least 3 years away from walking through the door of my local branch. And that’s if I continue to live under my parents’ roof. It will be more like 5 once I fly the coop in the coming spring.

The price of a 2 bedroom flat, heck even a studio apartment in Sydney, and within a 30minute commute, is $500 000. The minimum deposit is 10%, a responsible deposit almost double. Add on stamp duty and a few other bits and bobs and I’m looking at a hefty $100k before I step in the direction of a mortgage broker.

The loan will then be 4-6 times my gross income, a little less if my income grows as I hope it will over that period. My debt-to-income ratio will be unrealistic and rely on leasing a room to meet the repayments.

Of course I could fast track efforts and find me a suitor…

Mr Hockey, when you say I need a good job, you overlook my efforts and the barriers in my way – some of them you have contributed or propose in your recent budgets. There are less first-mortgage applications now than 10 years ago, prices are now unrealistic and outright ridiculous, and there are more foreign investors than ever before.

But i mean you did caution me, Captain Obvious. Yes, it is a big financial risk to buy your own home.

So if property is proving unaffordable for people with interest rates at record lows, then they should think carefully about how much they really can borrow, because you should always plan on in this situation interest rates potentially going up over the long term.  So, you’ve got to be careful, it is a big financial risk to buy your own home. – The Hon. Joe Hockey, Treasurer 9 June 2015

Perhaps my good job isn’t good enough for Sydney. I do love my city. I boast about it, but loving it isn’t going to change the reality I may not be able to afford it. Yes, as you said state governments could approve more developments, supply is likely to curb some of the pricing pressures, but then we get ourselves in hot water over infrastructure support for population density or its expanse. It’s not as simple as you presented it to be.

After weighing up my options, I have decided I don’t want to keep commuting 2.5hours each day in order to save money more quickly. I also don’t want to be living with my parents at 25. I have decided to go out into the renters market, albeit if it will take longer to save for a deposit. I’ve come to accept I’ll probably be 30 by the time I have enough money…or perhaps I’ll just have to leave Sydney.

Mr Hockey, I beg you, please don’t belittle this problem. You are privileged. You are also in a privileged position as a member of parliament. Use your position to make an impact and not the one you’ve made over the past 24 hours. Use your words carefully. Use your brain wisely. Use your purview to see about change. Don’t be an insensitive elitist.

 

Regards,

A fellow Sydney-sider.

1 Comment

Alan
June 11, 2015

Well said, Mel. As always, these politicians haven't got a clue what life is really like for the average Joe (or should I say Mel). Welcome to the working poor!

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