July 15, 2024


The Intersection of Information and Insight

Millennial NETTELs – the booming demographic shaping our property markets

4 min read

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.

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.

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