Multi-millionaire luxury apartment developer Tim Gurner, 35, is copping flak for telling millennials their lavish lifestyles and poor work ethics are preventing them from entering the property market.
In a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night, Mr Gurner accused prospective buyers of “dangerous” levels of spending and of setting themselves unrealistic expectations after “watching the Kardashians”.
“When you’re spending $40 a day on smashed avocado and coffees and not working, of course [you won’t own a house in your lifetime],” he told interviewer Ross Greenwood.
“When I had my first business when I was 19, I was in the gym at 6am in the morning and I finished at 10:30 at night and I did it seven days a week … until I could afford my first home. There was no discussion around: could I go out for breakfast or could I go out for dinner or whatever it was. I just worked.”
Viewers were quick to point out that Mr Gurner (rumoured to have a $460 million fortune) bought his first business in 2001 at the age of 19 with the help of a $34,000 loan from his grandfather. He ran the gym for a year before selling it to a competitor and starting his career as a property developer.
Mr Gurner blamed the media for giving young Australians unrealistic expectations of what they can achieve financially.
“I just think that the media and the current environment and lifestyle changes has definitely changed the next generation … I think it’s dangerous for the economy and I think it’s definitely dangerous for their ambitions of owning property,” he said.
“I think the problem with this generation is they want the three-bedroom home in Malvern and Malvern East and Prahran [in Melbourne] and Alexandria in Sydney, and it’s just not sustainable or realistic.”
Galling his audience further, Mr Gurner then said it gave him “a little bit of comfort” baby boomers would soon pass down their property-fuelled wealth to their children.
“The realistic fact is, there is this incredible amount of wealth that is being created and it is sitting with the baby boomers. That will be passed down. There is going to be a transition of wealth in the next 20 to 30 years which will see a lot of these people be able to buy their own home.”
He did not clarify what Australians with no inheritance could do to get into the market, although earlier in the interview he said first home buyers might have to: buy an investment property first; live with their parents while they saved; or buy with a friend.
Despite his criticism of the Kardashians and the media, Mr Gurner’s company Instagram account is full of shots of scantily-clad models, Aston Martins, charter helicopters and expensive champagne.
Mr Gurner’s concerns about Australians never owning homes is echoed by much of the nation. A recent ANU survey found that nearly 90 per cent of Australians were concerned future generations would be unable to buy a house.
A survey by property data firm CoreLogic found 87 per cent of non-home owners were concerned about affordability; and 30 per cent were looking to inheritance or the ‘bank of mum and dad’ for help.
And he’s right that young Australians are falling behind. The share of housing loans going to investors has grown from less than a fifth in the 1990s to almost 50 per cent (if you disregard refinancing), according to ABS data published Monday.
Where he seems to diverge from the data is in focussing on the lifestyle habits of young Australians, rather than price rises.
In CoreLogic’s estimation, houses cost 7.2 times the yearly income of an Australian household, up from 4.2 times income 15 years ago.