Home lender ME bank today launched a marketing campaign for its mortgage product under the slogan “Have your smashed avo and eat it too”.
The marketing message springs off a conversation about the lifestyle choices of young Australians set against the common complaints about house prices. This was prompted by a column in The Australian at the weekend by demographer and commentator Bernard Salt. In the column, Salt observed:
I have seen young people order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop and more. I can afford to eat this for lunch because I am middle-aged and have raised my family. But how can young people afford to eat like this? Shouldn’t they be economising by eating at home? How often are they eating out? Twenty-two dollars several times a week could go towards a deposit on a house.
There have been some obvious retorts for this. First, young people protest they clearly don’t blow all their money on smashed avocado brunches, and even so, several times a week is clearly excessive. (And also, who makes a $22 smashed avocado sandwich anyway?)
Salt’s point, to repeat, is about indulgent lifestyle choices being combined with persistent grumbling about housing affordability.
But let’s look at ME Bank’s proposition, which allows for a maximum loan of 80% of the value of the property and a maximum loan amount of $700,000.
The median dwelling price in Sydney is $785,000, according to CoreLogic. So the 20% deposit you’d require to satisfy ME would be $157,000.
That’s 7,136 smashed avocado sandwiches at $22.
To save for your deposit on a median property in Sydney, if you had a smashed avocado habit that was costing you $22 a day, it would take you 19 and a half years to save up the 20% deposit.
Alternatively if you were eating a $22 smashed avocado sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it would take you six and a half years to save up the deposit. (Naturally this is calculated on 2016 prices.)
Get saving, hipster foodie millennials!