Many of the original followers of permaculture left the city and became owner-builders on far-flung blocks of land; creating lives for themselves which were free of debt; allowing them to focus their time and energy on what they felt was important. Land was still cheap up to the late 1990s. Building regulations were minimal and, with help from local LETSystems and keen WWOOFers, many young families built their homes without having to rely on banks for a mortgage.
The children of these families are now young adults, and it is a very different world they face when it comes to choice in housing. Land is much more expensive, making saving for a deposit almost impossible. Building regulations have escalated, adding to costs. And major banks are hostile to lending to owner-builders.
To get a house, most young people feel that the only option is to hitch up with someone else with a steady job, buy a house by borrowing $100 000s from a bank, and then stay in a job they may hate for the next twenty-five years. Starting a family along the way is challenging. They may lose their sense of freedom, and become extremely vulnerable to fluctuating interest rates in the global marketplace. Meanwhile climate change and resource depletion loom.
However, there are some other options for people looking to live with minimal or no debt.