Boomer tells young Aussies to stop WHINGING about interest rate rises

A ‘boomer’ homeowner has called on young Australians with mortgages to toughen up following the first interest rate rise in more than a decade.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday announced a 0.25 percentage point increase in the official cash rate, which saw it climb to 0.35 per cent from a record low of 0.1 per cent.

The first increase since November 2010 will see variable mortgage rates from the big banks rise to 2.54 per cent from 2.29 per cent in coming weeks.

But Perth retired Ron de Gruchy, 85, younger Australians should stop whinging about the rate hike, telling The West Australian that he ‘adjusted’ to 17 per cent RBA interest rates in 1990.

Perth retiree Ron de Gruchy (pictured) has called on young Australians in the housing market to toughen up following a rise in interest rates from the four major banks

Perth retiree Ron de Gruchy (pictured) has called on young Australians in the housing market to toughen up following a rise in interest rates from the four major banks

‘The high interest rates were a real squeeze on finances but you just adjusted,’ he said.

Mr de Gruchy says he lived a ‘frugal’ life while paying back his mortgage.

That frugality included no nights out, overseas travel or trips to the casino.

‘Back then, people didn’t complain – they just adjusted,’ he said.

‘Higher interest rates are not the end of the world but I think youngsters have got it pretty good.’

While the demographic term baby boomer refers to those born from 1946 to 1965, the term ‘boomer’ has recently been turned into a disparaging term for older people lecturing the younger generations about being frugal.

During the past three decades, mortgage debt-to-income ratios have more than doubled, with property prices surging at a much faster pace than wages.

In 1990, Sydney’s median house price stood at $194,000, Macquarie University figures showed.

With a 20 per cent deposit, an average, full-time worker on a $28,168 salary had a debt-to-income ratio of 5.5.

Perth’s median house price was $101,125 which meant a full-time worker then with a mortgage deposit had a very small debt-to-income ratio of 2.9.

Research from home loans marketplace Joust and Digital Finance Analytics (DFA) has revealed almost half of all homeowners with mortgages were already experiencing financial strain before the hike.

Research from home loans marketplace Joust and Digital Finance Analytics (DFA) has revealed almost half of all homeowners with mortgages were already experiencing financial strain before the hike.

Research from home loans marketplace Joust and Digital Finance Analytics (DFA) has revealed almost half of all homeowners with mortgages were already experiencing financial strain before the hike.

Comparing 1990 with 2022

1990: Sydney’s median house price was $194,000 and the average, full-time salary was $28,168

With a 20 per cent deposit, the debt-to-income ratio was 5.5

2022: Sydney median house price is $1,416,960 and the average, full-time salary is $90,917

With a 20 per cent deposit, the debt-to-income ratio was 12.4

Sources: Macquarie University, CoreLogic, Australian Bureau of Statistics

In 2022, Sydney’s median house price is $1.417million, CoreLogic data for April showed.

With a 20 per cent deposit, an average, full-worker with a $90,917 salary would have a debt-to-income ratio of 12.4 paying off a $1.134million mortgage.

This is more than double the ‘six’ threshold for mortgage stress, as defined by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

An Australian couple, with a combined average household income of $121,108, would have a dangerous debt-to-income ratio of 9.4.

To comfortably afford a typical house in Sydney without help from a spouse, an individual would need to earn $189,000 to be among the top three per cent of income earners.

Perth’s median house price in April was $578,751, which meant a full-time worker there on an average salary still has a low debt-to-income ratio of five.

Ticky Fullerton, business editor at large of The Australian said it wasn’t fair to compare home ownership 30 years ago to what it is today.

‘In the old days when interest rates were high, a move didn’t hit people as much, because the interest rates were so high (anyway),’ she said.

‘These days, that’s quite a big increase.

‘My rate was 16 per cent in the 90s, which was very high. When rates moved up by a quarter of a per cent, it didn’t affect you much.’

Research from Finder shows the average loan size in 1984 was 3.3 times the average annual income, but today it is 6.8 times the average income.

That translates to the average Australian needing to borrow 10 times what they earn in 2022 to afford a house.

Meanwhile, almost half of all homeowners with mortgages were already experiencing financial strain before the latest interest rate hike.

Research from Joust and Digital Finance Analytics discovered that 42.2 per cent, or 1.539 million people are currently experiencing mortgage stress.

Mortgage stress is generally defined as borrowers paying back more than 30 per cent of their income towards repayments.

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