Sunday 18 March 2018

Stop splurging on avocado toast if you want a house, millennials told

Massi Galli, of Jo’Burger restaurant in Dublin’s Smithfield, serves up a dish featuring the ultra-trendy avocado and toast. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Massi Galli, of Jo’Burger restaurant in Dublin’s Smithfield, serves up a dish featuring the ultra-trendy avocado and toast. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

It was the advice for millennials that has left a generation divided: if you want to own a home, then stop buying avocado toast.

Australian millionaire Tim Gurner (34), himself a luxury property developer in Melbourne, is facing a backlash for warning that young people cannot afford to buy property because they're wasting money on brunch and overpriced coffee.

"When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't buying smashed avocado for AUD$19 (€12) and four coffees at $4 (€2.60) each," he said. "We're at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high."

It was a challenge that was sure to sort the determined savers from the sensitive "snowflakes" among the younger generation.

But as the comments went viral around the globe, the owner of a chain of 'hipster' restaurants in Dublin said he fully supported the claim by Gurner that millennials hoping to get on the property ladder need to ditch the avocado toast.

Joe Macken, owner of the Jo'Burger hamburger chain and Dublin 'hipster' restaurants Crackbird, Bear and Skinflint, said: "He's dead right. If you want to buy a house, you have to save money," he said.

Australian millionaire Tim Gurner
Australian millionaire Tim Gurner

But Mr Macken (38) said Mr Gurner's comments had nothing to do with bashing millennials or the generation's apparent fondness for expensive craft beers, artisan bread, take-away coffee and over-priced salad bars.

His own Jo'Burger outlet in Dublin's Smithfield sells avocado on toast (for under a fiver). But he said the point was that most first-time house-buyers, regardless of age, had to make sacrifices in order to save up for a deposit - including those from his own Generation X or the Baby Boomers.

"The essence of it is if you want a house, there are no pints, there's no going out," he said.

"Even my friends who have bought houses simply disappear. There's no takeaways.

"I still haven't bought a house," he said. "But it's just life choices. People can't expect everything."

Brendan Burgess, founder of consumer forum, sparked a similar backlash with advice last October for young working couples hoping to save for a deposit under the new Central Bank rules.

"They will have to curb their lifestyle. They will have one car. They will have to stop buying takeaway coffees. They won't be going on two foreign holidays a year. And when their friends invite them out to the pub for a session, they will more often than not, have to say, 'sorry, we are saving up to buy a house'."

He stuck to his guns yesterday, agreeing it's not just millennials who are forced to cut out the extras if they want to buy a house.

"Some people will bring sandwiches [from home] into work and use the [free] coffee machine at work," he said.

"It's really down to a question of choices. If you want to go out five nights a week and rent an apartment and drink take-away coffee and buy lunch everyday, that's one thing. It's just a question of priorities."

Like every generation before, you can't have your (gluten-free) cake and eat it too.

Irish Independent

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