IN 2017, property mogul Tim Gurner became one of the most hated men in Australia. But today, he’s having the last laugh.
LAST May, millionaire property developer Tim Gurner outraged millennials the world over after blaming their housing woes on smashed avocado and coffee.
The Melbourne man made the sensational comments during a 60 Minutes segment about housing affordability, telling the Nine network: “When I was buying my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for 19 bucks and four coffees at $4 each.”
Mr Gurner’s 2017 quote went viral, sparking hysterical headlines around the world and instantly turning Mr Gurner into a villain among young people struggling to break into the housing market.
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But the 36-year-old’s comments have clearly done little to hold him back.
Last week, he was officially named as the third richest young person in Australia in the 2018 Financial Review Young Rich List thanks to his impressive $631 million fortune.
He was beaten only by Atlassian co-founders and serial rich-listers Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, who took out the top two spots on the list for a record-breaking seventh year with a combined net worth of $14.2 billion.
According to the list, Mr Gurner, the founder and CEO of property development group Gurner, owes his phenomenal success to a number of acquisitions which pushed his “combined project value to more than $5 billion, spanning almost 7000 apartments”.
The AFR also explained Mr Gurner had made a stack of cash by “targeting high-end buyers wanting to downsize”.
He got his start in property after taking over a lease on a suburban gym aged just 19, using $34,000 given to him by his grandfather.
A year later he sold the business and went into property development, riding Melbourne and Brisbane’s real estate boom.
At the peak of the smashed avo outrage, many of Mr Gurner’s detractors claimed he had enjoyed an unfair advantage from his grandfather’s cash.
But while the backlash has not affected Mr Gurner’s fortunes, he has previously spoken about the personal toll the scandal took.
At the time, Mr Gurner was ridiculed across social media and inundated with interview requests from local and international reporters alike.
In May this year, around a year on from the original controversy, Mr Gurner told Executive Style it had seriously impacted his life, and that his comments were taken out of context.
“I said it was really hard for them (millennials), I said I feel for them because there were real challenges, but I added I thought there was an issue in society with the amount of conspicuous consumer spending with the millennial generation,” he told the publication.
“I said a large number of this generation needs to lease (the) latest BMW, take the European holiday, buy a 70-inch TV, the latest designer suit, the latest phone, eat smashed avocado and $4 coffees every weekend.
“They took out the last bit and it all went crazy.”
Mr Gurner also described falling ill three days after the story went global as a result of stress — but said he did not regret making the comments.
“It really got me personally. We can all have a tough media facade but I am a normal person inside and it really hurt. But I learned a lot,” he said.
“I learned the haters talk a lot louder than the likers. And I think it did, ultimately, create a really good conversation around affordability and what the next generation will do about it, because it is a legitimate problem.”
Meanwhile, Ori Allon, who built his $539 million wealth in technology and property, scored fourth place in the Young Rich list, while equal fifth and sixth went to fitness entrepreneur Kayla Itsines and her fiance Tobi Pearce.
Seventh place went to Owen Kerr, with $460 million to his name thanks to his stake in foreign exchange Brokerage Company Pepperstone.
Husband-and-wife duo Collis and Cyan Ta’eed, who founded online graphic marketplace Envato, are jointly worth $428 million, earning them the eighth and ninth places, while farming and finance capital investor Peter Greensill sits in 10th place with $412 million in the bank.
The Young Rich List, now in its 15th year, tracks the wealth of the richest self-made Aussies aged under 40.
The 100 rich-listers featured this year have a staggering combined wealth of $23.5 billion — a huge increase on $13.2 billion last year.