#adviceforjoe: Dear Joe…

An open letter from Mel Wilson, Human Resources professional and mother of two from Wodonga, Victoria to Treasurer Joe Hockey. Please share Mel Wilson’s facebook post here.

Dear Joe,

I just wanted to touch base with you regarding your comment that young people are able to enter the property market if they just “get a good job that pays good money.”

I just wanted to ask you how one might go about this?

Are you going to be reviewing all the current Awards that are in place to ensure that most jobs pay “good money”?

Are you going to be creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs that, under your Awards, pay over $100,000 per year?

Apologies if I have missed this fantastic news, but as someone working in 2 senior HR roles, I believe I would have known about this so that I could pass the message on to some very tired, over qualified employees who currently fall under various Federal and State awards and are being paid between $18 to $25 per hour.

Are you aware of what the average Australian wage is?

Are you aware of what the average Australian mortgage in Sydney is?

Are you aware of the first-home buying process?

Just in case these facts and figures aren’t available to you, I thought you might be interested.

The average weekly wage according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 1st January 2015 was $1,128.70, or $58,692.40 before tax. This means a take home amount of about $904.00 per week.

The median house price in Sydney, according to the Domain Group Housing Price Report, as of March 2015, was $914,056.

Not sure if you know how first home buying works at the moment, but you normally need a deposit of about 20%. This is to pay for the Stamp Duty (which is a State Tax you must pay every time you buy a property), and also to assist in the approval process so that you don’t need to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

So in this instance, the first home buyer would need about $182,811.00 saved to purchase a house that is the average price in Sydney.

So to go out and get one of these “good jobs that pay good money” I assume these young people you speak of would need to go to university first.

On average, it takes about 3 -4 years to get a degree, so if a young person goes to University straight out of school, they can expect to finish their course and be ready for the workforce at about 21, with a HECS-HELP debt of over $20,000. To make this a bit easier for you to understand, let’s say there is a young person named Joe Junior who has done just this.

If Joe Junior is extremely lucky, and is up there with the best of the graduates from that course and that year, he will get a job straight out of University paying usually under the average wage.

However, lets just be extremely generous here and say that Joe Junior got a job and was on the national weekly take home wage of $904 per week.

Joe Junior needs to only save every single dollar worked for about 4 years to save his $182,811 deposit for their first home. Thank you, Mr Hockey, for throwing in that $7,000 first home owner grant too – that meant Joe Junior could get into his first home 8 weeks earlier!

Just a quick side note, this example does not take into consideration the rising house prices, or Joe Junior’s HECS-HELP debt that he obtained from getting his degree to get one of your so-called “good jobs”.

Joe Junior is now 25 (not so junior anymore), has been living at home with his parents this entire time and has not been able to spend a single dollar on any bills, board or holidays or public transportation. He also can’t afford a car or petrol for a car but then again “poor people don’t drive cars”. Oh wait, Joe Junior isn’t a poor person – he has a “good job that pays good money.”

Luckily Joe Junior’s parents have been happy to drive their little Joe Junior to and from work every day and provide free housing, clothing, medical expenses and also provide the food for his breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.

So finally Joe Junior has saved his $182,811 deposit (of which only about half will go towards his mortgage due to the stamp duty cost), and can now purchase his first home, with a mortgage of about $822,650.00.

According to the Commonwealth Bank’s online mortgage estimator, the repayments for a mortgage of this amount are $1,073.00 per week over 30 years.

So hopefully Joe Junior’s average weekly wage of $904.00 has gone up enough to cover the cost of the mortgage.

Joe Junior has been applying for these “good jobs hat pay good money” that you speak of (I assume by “good money” you mean more than the average wage as you have just seen it is not even enough to cover the cost of the average house prices’ mortgage in Sydney), but hasn’t had any luck as yet. He needed to stay in the same job post university to demonstrate to the bank job stability so that he could purchase his first home. So he only has a degree, and experience in the one job, one industry, and there are just not that many jobs out there paying “good money.”

Joe Junior now also can’t wash his clothes, eat food, or get to and from work as he no longer lives with his parents, so getting one of these “good jobs” is even more difficult.

So Joe Senior, are you really aware of all the facts and figures when you says things like buying your first home is “readily affordable” to young people?

Just slightly confused as to what you were thinking when you said these words at the media conference in Sydney.

Looking forward to another one of your politically correct, direct and well thought out responses.

Another baffled Australian

And this skit featuring Treasurer Joe Hockey is also quickly doing the rounds, It’s so easy to buy a house.

» ‘Dear Joe, are you aware what the average Australian wage is?’: Young mum’s brilliant letter to Joe Hockey following his ‘get a good job’ comment is shared 20,000 times – The DailyMail, 12th June 2015.
» Wodonga mum’s letter blasting Joe Hockey over first home-owner advice goes viral – The Border Mail, 12th June 2015.
» Working mother Mel Wilson gives Joe Hockey a lesson about house prices – The Sydney Morning Herald, 12th June 2015


  1. Im totally with you Mel, BUT first home owners dont buy average houses do they. They buy cheap, affordable, smaller homes and upgrade from there in years to come.
    So the first homebuyers in Sydney would be spending more like 500k wouldnt they?

    Everything youve said I agree with though, Im just lucky we bought our first home before prices became inflated and have been able to ride along, upgrading when we were ready. Not fair that younger people today though dont have this same opportunity.

  2. For all young workers and Uni graduates,in Sydney,the great OZ dream is no longer a nightmare.It is over.Our masters have turned housing into a giant casino.Relative comparison,it now takes the combined effort of 20 individuals to earn the amount that 1 worker got,around this harbour,40 years ago.Just to buy a place to live!

  3. Looks like we finally have an upcoming election worth voting in.

    LNP – “Be a speculative investor or suck it up, be poor and homeless.”


    Labor/Watermelons – “Hey things are getting out of control, lets make a few changes to make the housing market fairer.”

  4. Shannell, you are wrong. The Property Ladder is a myth. If you buy a place for $500k with the hope of ‘upgrading’ (taking on more debt) in the future, you are already losing. The property ladder was a once in a 100 year phenomenon that the Boomers enjoyed, due to high inflation, high wage increases and falling interest rates. We have the opposite now. The house you buy first, is it.

    If an average wage, can’t buy an average house, there is a distortion in the market.

    I am in the top 5% of earners (apparently) and cannot afford to buy the house that i comfortably rent.

    Its all over, the emperor is naked.

  5. Attention everyone!! Did you know corrupt Hockey comes from a family of Real Estate Agents? The rotten to the financial core Real Estate Industry have their man in the driver’s seat now. Does this prove that conspiracy theories are true? Hockey never did disclose and has never been forthcoming and transparent in who payed for his rise to power, especially from where? his party’s funding comes from. Where are the government institutions, especially the justice system, to investigate these conflict of interests? Are they part of the conspiracy or just too corrupt to bother with the situation? However, when it comes to investigating and prosecuting private individuals and companies they leave no stone unturned. Public relations stunts fit for a gullible general public. Last but not least, this proves the voter’s responsibility, apathy, indifference and negligence in taking a genuine interest in who they vote for.
    PS-If the Labor/Liberal Party fear a voters backlash from getting rid of negative gearing then lets tall them they will have the same if they continue with it.

  6. Jon Selkirk, you are wrong. First home buyers cant afford to buy average priced homes, thats a crazy idea. Look at your parents and grand parents etc, remember the first homes they had? They were not very glamorous. Everyone I know bought a simple house to begin with.
    Its the same today, you cant buy an average home as a first home, it has to be a below average home at a below average price. The problem is even the below average homes are unaffordable to most….

  7. Best option is to move from Sydney.

    There is a strange phenomenon now occuring in that prices have moved up so much, which logic suggests that in the future there will be less gains to be had. However the reaction is the opposite, people are piling in, in the anticipation of more gains.

    Our company is winding down Sydney operations, but has offered (few) positions in Melbourne or overseas if you can make the move.

    Looks on the faces of the heavily mortgaged was priceless.

  8. Jon Selkirk, you are wrong when you try to make out that the boomers had it all their way. Yes there are some well off baby boomers as there are some well off x gen, y gen etc. Most of the boomers I know are really struggling, with very little in the way of savings. When we purchased our home, we had interest rates of up to 17%, and by todays standards, it was a very basic home on the outskirts of Brisbane. Many of us have spent most of our savings supporting our adult children through uni well into their 20’s. Many of us, especially women, have very little in the way of super as we have low paying jobs. There are many boomers who have little or no work, victims of work force casualization and are forced into slowly eating up the meagre super they have. Many of us younger boomers will have to work until we are nearly 70.

  9. Shannell and Bron.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own facts, i think you need to do some research. I bet after the crash that an average salary will buy an average house, even if its your first (which btw has noting to do with repayments)

    Also, for you Bron, you should read this….


  10. I wonder if we will face an Ireland style housing crash?

    “The Irish property bubble was the collapsed overshooting part of a long-term price increase of Irish real estate from the late 1990s to 2007 in a period known as the Celtic Tiger. In 2006 the prices peaked at the top of the property bubble, with a combination of increased speculative construction and rapidly rising prices, in 2007 the prices first stabilised and then started falling until 2010. By the second quarter of 2010, house prices in Ireland had fallen by 35% compared with the second quarter of 2007, and the number of housing loans approved fell by 73%.”

    By the second quarter in 2010, prices had dropped 35%!!!

    Do any of our Irish readers know how much prices fell in the rural areas?

  11. Jon – I am not saying that things are not hard for you but I think that many in younger generations imagine that all baby boomers had it easy and are now sitting pretty as a result. It is far from reality for most of us. We made do with a 14″ tv and very little furniture for over a decade, and raised our children in that same first house. I suspect things in the UK and Sydney markets may have been very different to those in other parts of the country, particularly those in regional and on the very outer boundaries of capital cities. You would probably easily afford a house up here near Brisbane – if you look in the Redlands and Logan areas, which are outside the city boundaries but still within easy driving distance to the city.

  12. Bron,

    You are correct, despite the stereotypes many Boomers do in fact have insufficient super and savings to last them their retirement years. Also, a boomer really needs to own their own home outright as well as an investment property to see much benefit from the boom. If you only own the property you live in then it doesn’t earn you anything in retirement, sure you could try to downsize to release some equity, but then you are still buying into that very same inflated market.

    There is no point talking about making do with 14″ TV’s etc given in those days consumable items like TV’s etc were very expensive relative to incomes.
    Same thing talking about 17% interest rates, misses the whole point that rates fell for the next 30 years and thus eroded the real value of the debt, not to mention the wage inflation that occurred over this period. I put it to you that these factors (wage inflation and falling rates) are unlikely to happen over the next 30 yrs.

  13. @Gavaroo.

    Falls of property prices of over 50% in rural Ireland were reality. Rural Ireland was sold as Dublin commuter belt during the tiger years when in actuality it was whoop whoop. Nobody wanted to buy these houses when the economy collapsed.

  14. @17 Rory

    Yep, just like here in SA:

    Land way down south
    Land way out east (mannum waters)
    Land way out north
    Land way out nearth east (freeling etc)

    Just crazy to buy this stuff. Absolutely crazy!

  15. Jon Selkirk is on the money.Just because housing is unaffordable doesnt mean that is the status quo. Its just means a large slice of the population have been duped into accepting the myth of the property ladder. Economic forces beyond their control will finally burst the bubble, and then lower prices will set in.

  16. The author of the article has good intentions, but seems a bit confused about the meanings of “median” and “average”. The “median house price” should be compared with the “median salary”. The median salary is obviously much lower than the average salary, and is a much more meaningful figure to work with. She also starts out identifying the “median house price” figure, and later calls it the “average house price”, which is incorrect.

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