A retired baby boomer has sparked a firestorm online after suggesting young people give up eating out and upgrading their mobile phones - as she recalled the sacrifices she made to buy a home during the sky-high interest rates of the 1990s.
Sydney retiree Kerrie Boylett, 68, said it was 'practically impossible' to be approved for a home loan in 1995 as a single mum. Ms Boylett said one lender eventually agreed to loan her the money to buy her first home in the Sydney beachside suburb of Coogee - for $150,000 with a 15 per cent deposit.
With a variable interest rate of 19 per cent, Ms Boylett said she struggled to make end meets on a low income and once had her electricity cut off because she couldn't pay the bill.
Ms Boylett said she had no holidays for four years after buying her home, did her own kitchen renovations and ditched nights out.
'I would have dinner parties at my place for friends, instead of going out, by buying two kilos of meat and making a salad and spaghetti bolognese and a cake. And that's how I had friends and entertainment — at home,' Ms Boylett told the ABC.
But it was her advice for millennials that has reignited the debate over which generation of homeowners has had it tougher. She suggested young people could also own their own home if they made sacrifices by giving up holidays, eating out and buying the latest device.
Kerrie Boylett made many sacrifices to make ends meet after she bought her first home in 1995
Kerrie Boylett reignited the debate of which generation of homeowners fared the worst
'They [millennials] want, you know, the latest mobile phone, the latest iPad, they want a nice car, they want to go on holidays, they still want to go out to restaurants - they pay $20 or $30 for a drink if they go out, have a nice time,' she said.
'You've got to say: "Right, am I prepared to keep my phone for four years? Am I prepared to cut back?"'
Ms Boylett's views sparked fury on social media among younger Australians struggling to get a foot on the property ladder, with Sydney homes beyond the reach of average-income professionals with university degrees.
The median price for a house in Coogee is now $3.4million, while the mid-point apartment price is $1.2million, CoreLogic data for January showed.
A Coogee unit would now cost 10.3 times an average, full-time salary of $92,000, even after a 20 per cent deposit. The banking regulator considers it risky for a borrower to owe more than six times their salary.
When Ms Boylett bought her Coogee home in 1995 for $150,000, Australia's average, full-time salary was $34,372 which would have left a borrower, with a 20 per cent deposit, a manageable debt-to-income ratio of 3.5.
'My heart is now in pieces for this woman who struggled for a whole five years in the 1990s after buying a house for $150,000 in Coogee with 19% interest rates,' journalist and author Amy Remeikis tweeted.
'She's absolutely right - my phone is the reason I can't afford to buy and not that homes are about $1m.'
Another Twitter user pointed out that Ms Boylett, the former administration general manager for hospitality giant Merivale, received a $2million inheritance from founder John Hemmes in 2015, which likely contributed to her property portfolio later in life.
Kerrie Boylett's comments and advice to millennials has sparked online backlash
Ms Boylett's advice to millennials also sparked debate on Reddit.
'Literally everyone in this country has been making sacrifices for the last two years, I should be rich. Somehow I think how much money I save has more to do with my rent nearly doubling than how many coffees and meals I make at home,' one wrote.
Another argued they still can't afford to buy even after cutting out luxuries.
A Sydney retiree sparked controversy after recalling her struggles to make ends meet as a single mum homeowner in the mid 1990s
'I can't afford a house because I’m paying near $600 a week to my landlord who purchased the house so they could profit off it. Maybe it’s the people doing this that need to make sacrifices, like stop buying houses to make profit off people, they wrote.
Others pointed out the 19 per cent interest rate would have only been for a few year.
'These people carry on like they paid 19% for the life of the loan. Interest rates were at their peak for a short time, then they dropped sharply,' one commented.
The Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate was 7.5 per cent throughout 1995, five years after it had been at 17.5 per cent in early 1990 when a target cash rate was first published.
Depending on someone's deposit, variable mortgage rates are two to four percentage points above the RBA cash rate.
Borrowers with a deposit of less than 20 per cent often pay higher interest rates along with costly lenders mortgage insurance.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ms Boylett for further comment.
Kerrie Boylett (left) was previously an administration general manager at Merivale