Millionaire to millennials: Lay off the avocado toast if you want a house

Money guide for Millennials
Money guide for Millennials

Is avocado toast all that's standing between millennials and their first homes?

An Australian millionaire thinks so. Not everyone is convinced.

Tim Gurner, a 35-year-old developer, called out his generation on Australia's version of "60 Minutes" on Sunday.

"When I was trying to buy my first home I wasn't buying smashed avocados for 19 bucks and four coffees at $4 each," he said.

Gurner, who's worth an estimated $460 million according to the Australian Financial Review, said wasteful spending is preventing young people from becoming homeowners.

"We are coming into a new reality ... and a lot of people won't own a house in their lifetime," he said.

If your mom forwarded you these remarks, there's just one problem: Overpriced, Instagrammable toast is hardly the only barrier to property ownership in the U.S.

For one thing, it's a tough market. Millennials are now the largest group of homebuyers, according to Ellie Mae, a software company that analyzes mortgage data. But they're coming up against repeat buyers with more capital and a shortage of starter homes for sale, which has driven up prices.

Related: The struggle is real for Millennial homebuyers

There were 3% fewer homes on the market in February than there were a year ago, according to a recent report from Zillow, and home values are up almost 7%.

And then there's student debt. Seven in 10 seniors who graduated from college in 2015 had student loan debt, averaging of $30,100 per borrower, according to The Institute of College Access and Success. That amount was up 4% from the year before.

The internet was quick to point out other holes in Gurner's argument.

Plus, many have flagged reports that Gurner, at age 19, received a $34,000 loan from his grandfather to jump start his first real estate venture.

Oddly, the avocado toast debate is not new to Australia.

Related: Australia is fighting over how hipsters spend their money

An op-ed published in The Australian in October decried young people who "order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop" instead of saving money for mortgage deposits. That sparked a similar debate.

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