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By Michael Yardney

Millennial NETTELs – the booming demographic shaping our property markets

The number of Millennials reaching the family formation stage of their life is booming, and it's creating an entire generation of Australians who are shaping our suburbs and property markets.

Back in 2009, Bernard Salt wrote an article about Baby Boomers which, interestingly is just as applicable to today’s suite of Millennials.

Back then, while conducting research for an SBS TV series, he discovered a subset of the traditional nuclear family which was growing six times faster than the average household.

He called them NETTELs: an acronym for people who struggle with Not Enough Time To Enjoy Life.

Do I Stress About Money

It was a subsection of families with two parents aged 30-49, working full time and raising children aged under 15.

They had household incomes starting at around $110,000 but the average would most likely exceed $150,000.

It was a type of household who were busy flat out diarising, planning and organising their everyday schedule of pick-ups, drop-offs and appointments… so much so that they had little time left to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Perhaps they have parental support for their busy lifestyles, or they manage to rope in friends or neighbours to help.

Essentially this was a suite of Australian families who were not short on cash but they were short on time.

It was basically Dual Income No Kids (DINKS) Aussies who have moved on to the next stage of their lives.

Sound familiar? It probably does.

Because the same trend is appearing today in the next generation – the Millenials.

The NETTEL generation was created by a perfect storm of factors

So what has caused a boom in Millennial NETTELs?

NETTELs comprised 190,000 households just 10 years ago and were expanding at warp speed of at least 10,000 households per year.

Today, dual-income households with dependents are the norm, representing 71% of households across the country in the 2022 census, although this figure represents all age groups and income brackets.

Still, that figure is nearly double the level seen in 1979.

You see, there was a time when the traditional nuclear family was capable of being supported by one single breadwinner, usually the male.

But when singles and DINKs upped their spending to lead frivolous lifestyles, these traditional families worked out a way to follow suit… more income means a better lifestyle.

“There’s no doubt about the NETTEL syndrome, it’s a highly intoxicating lifestyle for people who, well, want stuff.”

- Bernard Salt writes.

Translate this to today’s environment and it has become the norm for families to have a high household income in order to have two cars, the holidays, designer clothes, eat out and put their kids in a never-ending list of sports and clubs.

Not to mention the latest mobile phones, computers and other tech.

Combine the drive for a materialistic lifestyle with today’s higher inflation and increased costs, more women than ever have returned to the workforce causing the uptick in the number of dual-income-earning households… and therefore the higher income.

How do NETTELs influence our property market?

This expanding generation of people is interesting, but what does it mean for our property markets?

Actually… quite a lot.

Millennials who have now reached family formation age are moving out of apartments into homes.

They need more bedrooms and most need a home office or Zoom Room.

And they’re fussy about where they want to live.

NETTEL hotspots cluster close to, you guessed it, workplaces.

If NETTELs are rushing from home to school to work then they have to live close to all three.

And so, they flock to middle ring suburbs where they can get three bedrooms and two car spaces and they have the means to pay whatever it takes to enable them to live this NETTEL lifestyle.

Make no mistake, NETTEL property is in hot demand and, because this group is growing in numbers, there are plenty of others coming along behind to apply price tension.

Couple Young

A key takeaway for investors…

In my mind, this booming Millennial generation should be considered when investors make their next property investment decision.

With such a strong determination to live the lifestyle with all the ‘things’, NETTELs seem to be growing their dominance in some areas and suburbs where work and lifestyle are all within arms reach.

Investors could even consider investing in nests for NETTELs.

After all, this is the demographic that is overtaking our Baby Boomer generation to be Australia’s largest generation.

In addition to family forming and growing the nation, these Millennials are also funding the nation and they will no doubt impact the trends that are ahead and with that adeptly shape the future.

About Michael Yardney Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.
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