PHOTO: First-home buyers Isabelle Whittington and her husband Aidan Keogh. Photo: Peter Rae

When the country’s oldest Millennials were in their 20s, Australia saw its first economic downturn since those same young adults were in primary school.

Australia managed to avoid a recession after the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, but the economy took a hit, and young people bore the brunt of it.

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have a similar, if not worse, impact on young adults today, who will face a tough labour market for some time – making it even harder to save for their own home.

Getting onto the property ladder was already tough for older Millennials – many making the leap with help from the Bank of Mum and Dad. But for younger Millennials and Generation Z, who may find it harder to get a job or earn good salaries – and whose parents have less home equity – challenges lie ahead.

After the GFC, graduate and entry level jobs were harder to come by, as the youth unemployment rate skyrocketed and continued to climb long after the crisis.

As those first Millennials hit their 30s, house prices in Sydney and Melbourne soared – up more than 80 per cent in Sydney and nearly 70 per cent in Melbourne from 2012 to 2017. Meanwhile wage-growth slowed and stagnated, dropping below 2 per cent in 2016, and struggling to push past 2.3 per cent by the end of last year.