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Millionaire to Millennials: Stop buying avocado toast if you want to own a home

NEW YORK — Is avocado toast all that’s standing between millennials and their first homes?

An Australian millionnaire thinks so. Not everyone is convinced.

Tim Gurner, a 35-year-old developer, called out his generation on Australia’s version of “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocados for 19 bucks and four coffees at $4 each,” he said.

Gurner, who’s worth an estimated $460 million, according to the Australian Financial Review, said wasteful spending is preventing young people from becoming homeowners.

“We are coming into a new reality … and a lot of people won’t own a house in their lifetime,” he said.

If your mom forwarded you these remarks, there’s just one problem: Overpriced, Instagrammable toast is hardly the only barrier to property ownership in the U.S.

For one thing, it’s a tough market. Millennials are now the largest group of homebuyers, according to Ellie Mae, a software company that analyzes mortgage data. But they’re coming up against repeat buyers with more capital and a shortage of starter homes for sale, which has driven up prices.

There were 3% fewer homes on the market in February than there were a year ago, according to a recent report from Zillow, and home values are up almost 7%.

And then there’s student debt. Seven in 10 seniors who graduated from college in 2015 had student loan debt, averaging to about $30,100 per borrower, according to The Institute of College Access and Success. That amount was up 4% from the year before.

The internet was quick to point out other holes in Gurner’s argument.

Plus, many have flagged reports that Gurner, at age 19, received a $34,000 loan from his grandfather to jump start his first real estate venture.

Oddly, the avocado toast debate is not new to Australia.

An op-ed published in The Australian in October decried young people who “order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop” instead of saving money for mortgage deposits. That sparked a similar debate.