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Forget the avocados; it’s the property market that’s smashed

PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 May 2017

Is skipping avocado on toast for brunch really the key to first time buyers getting on the ladder?

Is skipping avocado on toast for brunch really the key to first time buyers getting on the ladder?

Vladislav Nosick

A property developer has accused millennials of spending too much on avocado toast, so we consulted the ‘avocalculator’ to see how much smashed avocado you need to skip to save for your first deposit in Hampstead, Crouch End and Camden Town

Tim Gurner, luxury property developer, said millennials couldn't get on the housing ladder becuase they were Tim Gurner, luxury property developer, said millennials couldn't get on the housing ladder becuase they were "buying smashed avocado for 19 bucks and four coffees at $4 each.�

An Australian property tycoon has this week criticised the poor spending choices of millennials, blaming wasteful spending for the failure of first time buyers to get on the property ladder. Tim Gurner, a luxury apartment developer, told Australian current affairs programme 60 Minutes that the reason he was able to climb the ladder was because “when I was buying my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for 19 bucks (£10.86) and four coffees at $4 (£2.29) each.”

Indeed not. Instead, the teenage Mr Gurner was busy spending the $34,000 (£19,436.44) he inherited from his grandfather on purchasing a gym. The residences of the ‘self made,’ self professed ‘luxury property developer with a difference’ can be seen on Instagram, and it’s pretty clear that his properties don’t intend to cater to a millennial wallet.

Quitting avocados could solve the housing crisis, said no one everQuitting avocados could solve the housing crisis, said no one ever

So how much of millennials’ budgets are really being wasted on the offending brunch favourite? Hackney’s Healthy Stuff currently offers ‘mushed avocado, Maldon sea salt, chilli flakes and olive oil’ for £5.50. Going by eMoov’s latest report, deposits of 10 per cent in the capital have reached an average of £47,470. That’s equivalent to 8,631 smashed avocado outings. Even if the heinous crime of ingesting avocado was carried out every day, it would take 23.6 years to make up the amount required for a deposit in the capital.

It seems avocado is the opium of the millennials, with Vice reporting that one estate agent down under recently offered free avocado toast to purchasers of their townhouses priced at £340,900 equivalent. His generation didn’t eat, Gurner reminded the programme; “people that own homes today worked very, very hard for it, saved every dollar, did everything they could to get up the property ladder.”

There’s no denying that baby boomers worked hard, but they weren’t facing average property prices of £474,704, according to the Office for National Statistics. In 1980s London, right to buy gave people the opportunity to buy their own home at a discount, taking their properties out of council hands and subject to the mercy of the market which has ultimately resulted in councils buying back properties at a huge mark up due to chronic housing shortages.

Mr Gurner also accused young people of setting unrealistic goals and not working hard enough after “watching the Kardashians.” In Camden, new builds are going up with ‘affordable’ starting prices of £505,000 at St Martin’s Walk in Gospel Oak. eMoov’s latest wage to house price ratio put house prices in Camden at 13.80 times the average household income in the area of £60,300, with Hackney (17.03) and Brent (16.37) even higher. So who’s really being unrealistic?

To top off his tirade against lazy millennials which only demonstrates how out of touch the 35 year old millionaire is, Mr Gurner said he was comforted by the fact that the bank of mum and dad would soon bail out the wealthy from their property woes. “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 said. Thank goodness for that! His alternative suggestions for struggling generation rent who might not be lucky enough to be in line for a windfall included living with parents, buying with a friend or purchasing an investment property. It really is that easy.

Perhaps the reason millennials are unable to get on the property ladder is that luxury flat developers like Mr Gurner, backed by governments, continue to put up high-rise luxury apartment blocks rather than providing social housing and affordable homes for first time buyers. A quick glimpse at the website for Mr Gurner’s developments shows no sign of prices, a sure sign it’s not one for first timers.

Maybe millennials tune into the ‘Kardashian lifestyle’ which Mr Gurner himself subscribes to for exactly the opposite reasons he suggests, because it’s a brief foray into an escapist fantasy. The humble avocado might have come in for rather a smashing from Mr Gurner, but millennials won’t stop enjoying life’s little pleasures. Perhaps Mr Gurner would rather we return to the days of Vesta curries, Spam and Smash, but that probably wouldn’t solve the housing crisis. Saving a fiver on brunch once a month won’t change the fact that it’s the property market that’s well and truly smashed.

AVOCALCULATOR

The cafe: Bunny Yawn, Heath Street where avocado toast is £4.25

The home: A one bed flat in Hampstead on Mansfield Road, NW3 is on the market with Salter Rex for £450,000

The avocost: For a 10 per cent deposit of £45,000, you could chow down on 10,588 avocado toasts

The cafe: Smashed avocado, lemon, chili and fresh herbs on toast at The Haberdashery in Crouch End comes at £6.95

The home: A two bed flat is on with Tatlers for £450,000 on Mount View Road, N4

The avocost: The 10 per cent deposit of £45,000 will allow you 6,475 slices of toast

The cafe: Mildred’s Cafe offers smashed avocado with lime and chilli and organic corn chips for £5

The home: A one bed apartment on St Martin’s Close in Camden Town NW1 will cost £499,950 with Marsh & Parsons

The avocost: A 10 per cent deposit of £49,995 is equivalent to 9,999 portions of green goodness

That seems like an awful lot of portions of the offending fruit. Maybe Mr Gurner needs to return to his costings and avo think about what’s really mushing the market, avocadon’t blame it on millennials.

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