It has become incumbent upon us, millennials, to speak out after recent allegations made against us regarding our inability to ascend the property ladder. Once again, our lifestyle choices, and not governmental misdeeds or economic travesties, have been apportioned the blame.
Let us start with what seems to be an intergenerational misunderstanding regarding the humble avocado. The cost of avocados appears, in the minds of certain commentators, to have become grossly inflated. There is clearly some sort of typo, a misreading perhaps? You see, the average cost of an avocado pear is 80-90p.
A smashed avocado breakfast in a trendy restaurant (yes, fellow millennials, do contain yourself, I know it’s exciting) is approximately £12-16 on average. The average cost of a first home in the UK is £275,000, meaning the average deposit required is £59,000, according to Halifax.
Do those blaming the poor, much maligned avocado perhaps have their figures confused? Or do they believe that we have instead been spending the casual £59,000 we found behind the sofa in our shared rented house, on 73,750 avocado pears?
Of course, it could also be our Netflix accounts. After all, we do need something to watch while eating our 73,750 avocado pears. Plans range from £5.99 to £13.99 a month though, and many millennials share one account per household.
Much in the same way they share a bathroom, kitchen and a fold up sofa that comes out of the oven. Though that £13.99 a month could be the solution. If we did cancel our subscription, we could use that saving to accrue £59,000 in roughly…ah yes, 351 years! Great news! We’ll be able to buy just as soon as the earth becomes too hot to live on.
You see, I have a sneaky suspicion that it may not be about avocados and Netflix or even foreign holidays and gym memberships and the other fashionable things we millennials like to do. A little birdy told me that house prices in the UK are now roughly 35 times that of the average salary. In fact, house prices are 70 times what they were in 1970. Home ownership is not going to be attained by the old “scrimp and save” method. We are past that now. The gap is too wide, the odds insurmountable.
Yet much of the advice we are given is of the kindly, patrician type as opposed to actually tackling the systemic obstacles we are facing. Like dear old, Kirstie Allsopp, who told us we should all just move North if we want to afford a roof over our heads. (This is, incidentally, the same advice you give when fleeing a zombie apocalypse: head North.)
Of course, she also suggests that we should give up on travel, Netflix, the gym and “eating out” – by which we assume she means: avocados. It’s possible that Allsopp also thinks an avocado – and not the cost of living – is expensive. Or, perhaps she doesn’t quite grasp that parental financial support (such as the kind she received from her father, the 6th Baron Hindlip, in order to buy her first home at 21) does not, unlike avocados, grow on trees.
What many like Allsop assume is that this is a silly, easily fixed dilemma for a bunch of youth. We’ve been dubbed “Generation Rent” as though this is another one of the fun, young things we like to fritter away our stagnant wages on, despite the fact that we are also living through one of the most bloated and exploited private rental markets in decades.
But may we kindly remind other generations that the youngest millennial is roughly 26 and the eldest in their early forties? At both ends of the spectrum, we are failing to find a stable home, struggling through yet another financial crisis (inflation is now at 5.4%), an energy crisis, a grossly inflated cost of living, immovable wages and a rental market that will spit us out at its earliest convenience.
Oh and, amid all this, we are being exasperatedly asked: ‘why aren’t you having children?’
We are the first generation to be worse off than our parents. Let us watch a little Netflix and cry into our avocados. It’s pretty much all we have.