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Millennials vs Boomers: The Fight Over The Housing Crisis

Reaction to the housing crisis threaten intergenerational relationships.

Credit: SewCream / Shutterstock

If you’re an avid social media user, you will have seen Kirstie Allsopp’s recent interview broadcast across all platforms over the last week. When talking to The Sunday Times about the housing crisis she mentioned that “young people could afford to get on the property ladder if they gave up luxuries such as their gym membership and foreign holidays and looked at cheaper areas”; a comment that has caused immense controversy and, for all of its matter-of-fact tone, is widely misinformed. 

The generational divide has never been so apparent in this statement. There seems to be a consistent boomer narrative that likes to equate millennial life with frivolous spending. Allsopp’s comments prove this notion by classifying “gym memberships” and “foreign holidays” as non-essential purchases. Whilst they might be categorized into non-essential economic purchases, it is highly doubtful that the removal of a £20 monthly gym membership, a mini once-a-blue-moon city break, and a daily £3 coffee is going to equate to the price of a house or even the possibility of a mortgage. With regard to moving to a cheaper area, young people often do not have the luxury of a remote lifestyle, whilst working from home has been facilitated during the pandemic, many companies are demanding workers to return to the office, even if it is just for a few days a week; the necessity to remain local to urban spaces still remains. Additionally, millennials face the constant pressure to move to these expensive cities as these are where the grad jobs and the starter jobs are located; sometimes it is not a personal preference but where the work likes.  

Credit: SewCream / Shutterstock

Allsopp went on to add that “when [she] bought [her] first property, going abroad, the EasyJet, coffee, gym, Netflix lifestyle didn’t exist”. However whilst some would argue these are non-essentials, I would argue otherwise. Allsopp also grew up in a time without social media, the impending burden of climate change, mental and physical health pandemics. A study by Medical News Today, undertaken in June 2020, noted that 98% of people with “low combined cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength” had experienced increased depression, highlighting the importance of exercise in baffling the detrimental consequences of millennial life. 

Moreover, most would argue that a £5.99 monthly Netflix membership is cheaper than going to the cinema today, a luxury that Allsopp allowed herself during her formative years. The clear argument is the fact that older generations believe the millennial lifestyle is filled with unnecessary expenses and frivolous purchases that people like Allsopp believe do not have a justification, despite studies revealing that these arguments are misinformed. 

Credit: Sichon / Shutterstock

The fact that the emphasis of these conversations is on the spending habits of young people, rather than the institutions that have the capacity to change them, is the major problem. Whilst we may be able to stream everything from our living rooms and have the world at our fingertips, increased housing prices and lack of funding now mean that the possibility of ever being able to get on the property ladder is a dwindling possibility; one that is incredibly scary considering the issues that renters face with landlords. 

Fixing these situations relies on supporting the youth moving forward. It relies on older generations finally validating their spending habits and accommodating their fears. It relies on governments that will actually support and reassure our concerns. It relies on believing in the youth as the future generation rather than dismissing their problems. We might be able to afford Netflix but at what cost to the loss of our place and voice in society? 

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