There was a chilling report over the weekend that more than one in four Gen Y Aussies are banking on their inheritance to help them buy a home in real estate hotspots like Sydney and Melbourne.
Either that, or they are pressuring their parents to sell out of their rambling family homes and downsize into apartments … and give them the proceeds so they can buy their own place.
The study, sobering to those with adult children, and the start of a robust discussion at the next family gathering, has been compiled by Slater and Gordon lawyers who know all about wills and inheritance trends.
“It’s almost as if some are waiting for something to happen to their parents so they can get money which, in turn, puts a lot of pressure on parents with relationships becoming very fragile. It’s very sad.” says Lara Nurpuri of Slater and Gordon.
It’s a ghoulish scenario, played out in many movies over the years with heirs poised like carrion waiting to hear what’s been bequeathed and then squawking in rage at being left empty-handed while the estate goes to the gardener or the cats.
Wills can and are being contested as siblings bicker and those handed early inheritances to help with home purchases can see their money thrown back into play in the courts even as deceased parents are spinning in their graves as their wishes are ignored.
It’s most prevalent in NSW where it’s a dog-eat-dog-and-pay-stamp-duty world to get a foothold in a market that seems to be forever climbing out reach.
It’s understandable that Baby boomers might want to hang on to their money and take just one more European River cruise, but some are prepared to give their kids or grandkids a helping hand with early inheritance. This is the ideal scenario, as everyone can work out what’s fair for the benefactor, the siblings and the parents, who get to see their offspring enjoy the fruits of their labours.
The flip side is counting on an inheritance that may never happen, particularly as parents live longer, keep active and enthusiastically shop online. Offspring over extend, thinking the lump sum will land to pay off their huge home loan while Mum and Dad are thinking about selling up, buying a Winnebago and hitting the grey nomad trail for good.
In both cases, perhaps the solution is to persuade Mum and Dad of the advantages of downsizing to an apartment and releasing some of their estate to their children while still alive. The hopeful beneficiary will need to find examples of others who have made the move and are in a state of bliss.
Here are some stats to get the bowling ball rolling. City centres are getting less hipster, more hip replacement. In Sydney, a third of the owner occupiers of apartments are over 60. According to domain.com.au a recent survey by Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) reported that 43 per cent of the 50–59 demographic have downsized or moved suburbs as their golden years approach.
“Hey, Mum and Dad, you are positively missing out on the action if you don’t downsize now and free up some cash to help us kids out,” is a line you could try if you’re a Gen Y hoping to buy.