Paul / Housing? It’s where you start from

“I used to stuff chickens at the Penrith charcoal chicken joint for about $50 on a Thursday night and a bit extra on weekends. I loved it,” writes columnist MARCUS PAUL

I WORRY about my two young blokes ever being able to afford to buy their own home.

Marcus Paul.

Marcus Paul.

Housing affordability was again thrust firmly on the national agenda this past week after our (often clumsy) federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, came out with this clanger: “The starting point for a first-home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money”.

Some in the media have pointed out the comment was reminiscent of a former prime minister’s “get-a-job” comment to student protesters a couple of decades back. Hardly.

It is correct to say the only way young people can afford housing in desirable areas of our capital cities is by having a well-paid job. After all, the frightening stats show the median cost of a home in Sydney is around $1 million and nearly half that in Canberra.

What Joe should have said is: “Look, I know it’s hard – but if you work your backside off as a young Australian, maybe even work two or three jobs – you’ll be able to save a deposit on a unit. Okay, so it’s not Vaucluse in Sydney or even Yarralumla in Canberra, but it’s a start. And, if you continue to work hard, within a few years you’ll then be able to sell that unit and buy a house – maybe in a suburb you’d prefer to be in. And then, you’ll be able to sell that…” You get my drift.

My eldest son is 14 and works part time at an animal-welfare agency. When I was 14, I used to stuff chickens at the Penrith charcoal chicken joint for about $50 on a Thursday night and a bit extra on weekends. I loved it. I felt like a king, and my parents loved it, too, as I became a little bit independent at a young age. It’s fair to say, a lot of young people these days won’t want to stuff chooks or wash dishes or even mop floors. And this is where the problem starts.

It’s all about teaching responsibility and letting young Australians learn that life is not predicated by a hand out. We may live in such a wonderful, generous country that, from time to time, is able to provide a hand-up, but as a taxpayer – and someone who struggled to save for a first-home deposit by working three jobs – I get a bit annoyed with the “entitlement” mentality.

There are incentives to buy a first home. There have been grants, and even some states offer stamp-duty concessions. And, as we keep hearing interest rates are pretty low – and another rate cut could be on the cards.

As I said, I do worry about my boys being able to afford to buy their own home.

However, with a strong work ethic and realistic expectations about where they may have to start, I think they’ll be okay.

Marcus Paul is the drive announcer on 2CC

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