One bedroom in Sydney, or eight in Paris: The realities of our housing market

With the median price of a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney now $780,000, I took to the Internet to see what I could get for the same money.



You’re likely tired of hearing we Millennials gripe about housing affordability, especially those of us who live in Sydney. It’s the problem that never leaves. Nor should it; property prices in Sydney are outrageous, with the dirty wave cresting new heights over the past weekend. You’ve also likely heard from very loud people about how we should just leave then, move out to Tamworth.

It’s not that those in my generation who are lucky enough to own a home had some kind of leg-up from their parents. No, not at all. It also has nothing to do with the fact that the median price of a one-bedroom apartment, according to Domain, is $780,000.

Emboldened by the binary awfulness of the numbers on the cheque, I decided to lazily Google the same amount overseas.

Did you know that, for the same price, you can get a rustic stone home with five bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as three additional gorgeous treehouses on the outskirts of Paris? That’s right! A whole property with which to start a characteristic Bed and Breakfast for the price of a one-bedroom in Potts Point. Or live in all four homes like some kind of impulse-driven, cheese swilling tree-king. If you care not for that, there’s a swanky apartment that brushes the back door of the Notre Dame, which is an elbowed tourist away from browsing in the same bookstore Hemingway was once booted out of, and you’d still have $130,000 in spending money.


Sydney is dreaming too big… Manhattan wasn’t expensive just because it’s small and has no space, it’s because, for a time, everyone on Earth wanted to live there.


However, the rental market is just as disparate. A friend of mine traded in Ashfield for New York City and paid less in rent. Crunching the numbers, the mean average for a rental property in Ashfield is $1,460 per month, which equates to $1,056 USD. Which, even in the cut-throat rental market in Brooklyn gives you options. You could even hipster properly, living out your brick bled studio apartment dreams.

Brooklyn or Ashfield. Hmm.

This should not be. I believe one of the central reasons, beyond the tax breaks and questions about negative gearing, is that Sydney is dreaming too big, thinking of itself as some kind of world-class city. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it isn’t. Property sellers and leasers are taking advantage of people’s desire to live in a city. That’s it. Manhattan wasn’t expensive just because it’s small and has no space, it was, because, for a time, everyone wanted to live there. And it has the cultural cred to back that up. Whereas, our landmarks are tourist beaches and the steadfast self-assurance that just because it’s expensive to live here, it’s worth the money.

Sydney, as a city is fundamentally broken. Her face, beautiful, her features memorable, but once you move in, the mask slips off, and she’s infuriating to live with as she’s impractical. The day to day brutalities tears down the romantic assumptions you had when you moved in. You find yourself justifying the relationship constantly. A feeling that you’re here, and you may as well try and make it work. But, as she drains everything from us, giving little in return, how long is it going to take us to finally pack our bags?

Or whatever, maybe we can leave her by not leaving her. Snuggling closer to her cold bosom, finding masochistic reprieve in places such as this Bondi Junction apartment for $600 p/week.

Because that seems totally sane and normal.




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