Are landlords pricing families out of the housing market?

Here’s a dirty little secret that I’m willing to bet almost everyone can relate to: it’s human nature to be envious of others who appear to have more than you.

More money, more friends, more love, more opportunities, more downtime, more career highlights, more fame, more anything. It doesn’t matter what they have ‘more’ of: if it’s something you desire and the other person has more of it than you, then the green-eyed monster can rear its ugly little head.

This is most interesting to me in the context of homes. The great ‘housing affordability debate’ always gets people passionate because there’s a certain security and stability that home ownership brings to your life.


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And if home ownership is something you want, and it seems out of reach, it’s tempting to blame “greedy landlords” who you believe are pushing property prices up.

This was the general gist of the comments thread on a recent Bulletin article, which celebrated the successes of a lad who has bought more than a dozen investment properties before the age of 30.

Here’s now been able to quit his fast-food job and live off his rental income. It’s a fantastic achievement and something he should be congratulated on, in my view – but not everyone in the comments section shared my sentiments.

“[People] blame the Chinese for raising house prices, when really it’s just greedy people looking to get rich quick,” one person ranted.

“On one side you have selfish investors buying up big, left right and centre. On the other side, you have young families who just want the one house they can raise their families in.”

There’s a lot of emotion in this comment and it’s clear that they feel they can’t get ahead because investors are standing in their way. They’re making a lot of assumptions, and I’m guessing they glossed over the point in the article where Tony said he worked 60-hours a week to save money.

But here’s my bigger point: rather than claim your status as a victim of “greedy landlords” and wallow in self-pity, why don’t you try and change your situation by becoming a landlord yourself?

There are hundreds of properties for sale on the Gold Coast alone right now for under $200,000. Even low-income earners can afford to buy property at this price point, while renting their own home elsewhere; your investment might even pay you some returns each week. Then, as the value of your investment property increases you can eventually ‘trade up’ to your own home that suits your needs.

It may not be the pathway you thought you’d take towards living in your dream home – but isn’t it a better way to go than whinging and believing you’ll never get ahead?

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