Property tycoon tells millennials to stop spending money on avocados

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Splashing out on the pricey berry is to blame for property ladder difficulties, apparently

This is what we’ve been doing wrong… JeniFoto/Shutterstock

Avoca(do-n’t) preach.

An Australian property mogul caused a social media firestorm Sunday night with seemingly out-of-touch comments regarding millennials on a talk show.

Tim Gurner, a real estate developer recently named Australia’s 157th richest person, suggested that millennials are forfeiting every opportunity to climb the housing ladder, using a somewhat flawed analogy involving a certain beloved tropical berry.

“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for AUD19 and four coffees at AUD4 each,” Gurner told Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes.

“We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high. They want to eat out every day, they want travel to Europe every year. The people that own homes today worked very, very hard for it, saved every dollar, did everything they could to get up the property investment ladder.”

Twitter users were relentless in their takedown, saying that Gurner, worth USD473 million, was dealt different circumstances and had the financial backing of his grandfather in his property investments.

Gurner, himself an older millennial at 35, has since hit back at his Twitter critics by recalling to News.com.au the “incredibly difficult” journey to his first real estate purchase.

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“I spent every night on my hands and knees sanding back the floors, painting, renovating and working on the house,” he said of his first investment property, an apartment bought by his boss for AUD180,000 in Melbourne’s St Kilda. “When we sold it, I used the small profits of AUD12,000 to purchase my next property and it all grew from there. The most important thing for me was just to get my foot in the door at the absolute base level, and work my way up from there.

“I sacrificed a huge amount through those years, working multiple jobs, seven days a week and I saved absolutely every penny that I could.”

He clarified that his grandfather gave him USD34,000 as equity to obtain a USD150,000 loan, which he then used to buy a gym. He then sold the property after 12 months to a competitor.

“It was a huge risk and I worked round the clock from 6 am to 11 pm every night in order to pay back the loan and ensure the business was a success,” he said.

The Melbourne-based property development firm that bears his name runs a portfolio of 5,000 apartments worth USD2.7 billion.

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