It’s a phenomenon fast becoming known in the property industry as ”GOMO”: Grief Over Missing Out.
Prospective buyers who pin their hopes on a dream home and are outbid at auction by competitors are increasingly slumping into a state approaching clinical depression, experts say.
“Some people put an enormous emotional investment in a particular place and fall in love with it before they’ve been able to buy it,” said Amanda Gordon, a clinical psychologist and adjunct associate professor at the University of Canberra.
“They invest a lot of time, energy and money into the search, having reports done, organising the loan, imagining themselves living there and putting off other things as a result,” she said. ”Then, when they fail to buy it, they are disappointed, distressed and can despair that they’re ever going to get anything. It can be like being left at the altar, and there’s a real danger then that they can become depressed.”
Agi O’Hara, a visiting lecturer in psychology at the University of Sydney, said it goes much deeper than would-be young home-owners feeling they’re entitled to purchase the home they want; it’s about the ethos of home-ownership being under serious challenge.
“For generations, it’s been a long-held assumption that people will automatically become home-owners but now some people are for the first time realising they might never be able to achieve that,” she said.
“It’s awful. They see it as a personal failure and become clinically depressed.
“It’s not just the young, either. It’s also older people who believed they’d have a house by the time they were 40 and their lives would turn out so differently as a result. We’re seeing more mature people too for treatment who, without a house, are depressed and fear that when they stop working, they won’t be able to afford rent, and could be homeless.”
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Story by Sue Williams