Sharath Mahendran, a 21-year-old student in Sydney, sees little hope he could ever afford a home like his parents did in the 1990s — a free-standing house on a quarter-acre (1,000 square meter) block — in today's Australia.

"Now someone like me would need a lot of help from my parents and then it would still take more than 10 years to save from a decent job. And even with those savings, I probably wouldn't be able to live where I want to live. I'd live really far out."

Mahendran has joined the Sydney YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) group, a fledgling grassroots movement seeking higher density housing in opposition to those branded NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard) that fight new and large developments, particularly in gentrified inner-city areas.