Radio start builds a property path to help kids get onto the ladder
For many parents, the prospect of offspring moving out of home brings great excitement about the new chapters ahead.
Downsizing, travel, renovations and repurposing the children’s bedrooms are among many of the plans that replace homework books on the dining room table.
But this is not a scenario you can expect to see anytime soon in the Worland household.
In fact, Gus and Vicky Worland, who live on Sydney’s northern beaches, have taken impressive steps to keep their three teenagers at home for as long as possible.
Worland, a co-host on the Triple M breakfast show Moonman In The Morning, and his wife have built a granny flat in the backyard of their Elanora Heights home.
They also have DA approval for another two granny flats so that Jack, 19, Ella, 17, and Abi, 16, can all have their own space without having to leave home.
“I like my kids, I love my kids, and I want them around, so they can stay in the granny flat for a couple of years and save up for a deposit, then go out,” Worland said.
“They can stay in the area they are familiar with, and have a bit of independence as well as family support if they need it.”
The family are well-established in the area, having lived in the home for more than 20 years. Worland said getting approval for the flats wasn’t a major hassle.
The studio-style flats include a combined lounge/bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom and are separate from the main house. They also have separate entrance from the house.
The first one was originally built for Worland’s late father-in-law, who visited from the UK for several months of the year. It is now home to Jack and his partner Sophie.
It’s a far cry from Worland’s experience. He left home in 1986, at the age of 18, and never went back to live.
These days it is becoming much less common for young people to leave home at such a young age in Australia.
In fact, latest research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows more young people, especially those in capital cities are choosing to stay at home and live with their parents in their early adulthood.
Institute director, Anne Hollonds said 43 per cent of 20-24 year-olds were living in the family home in 2016, up from 36 per cent in 1981.
The ranks of 25-29 year-olds still at home had also grown from 10 per cent in 1981 to 17 per cent in 2016.
“Overall, young people living in capital cities were more likely than those living in regional areas to remain at home,” Ms Hollonds said.
In 2016, 50 per cent of young men and 43 per cent of young women in our capital cities lived at home.
This compared to 42 per cent of young men and 31 per cent of young women of this age in regional areas.
“A range of factors including the cost of housing in capital cities and time spent in higher education have contributed to a growing trend for more young people to delay moving out in recent decades,” Ms Hollonds said
The research showed more men (47 per cent), than women (39 per cent), in the 20-24 age group lived with their parents in 2016.
By the time they reach 30-34, only 7 per cent were still living at home, the analysis found.
But the Worlands are not putting a limit on how long their children can stick around — for them the longer they stay at home the better.
“I really hope so. I can’t think of any reason why not,” Worland said.
“Our kids are really cool, they’re really good people and they’re fun to be around.
“For me and my wife, we’ve always wanted the party at our house, the gatho so to speak. Our kids have done us proud and we want to share our lives with them.”
Worland is also painfully aware of the difficulties young people face in trying to get a foot on Sydney’s property ladder.
And even more so on the northern beaches, where the family lives.
The median house price on the northern beaches is $1,725,000, and $855,000 for a unit. This is much higher than the average Sydney median house price of $945,000 and not much more than the city’s median unit price of $716,000.
“I fear for our kids who are growing up in an area they love — and will they ever be able to afford to buy,” Worland said.
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