Saturday, October 12, 2013

Think, listen and watch before you blame 'new' New Zealanders for missing out on that dream house!

We have all heard various politicians and media stating that the high price of housing in Auckland is driven by overseas buyers who can afford to 'blast' locals from the competition when it comes to auctions. You know the scenario: You go along to bid on a home that you have fallen in love with and have your guaranteed lone in your back pocket. The bidding begins and very quickly the price has surpassed your means. You though you might have had it but suddenly a voice from the back of the room announces a price that leaves you high and dry, yet again. Your options are limited. Unless you head for an area you had not previously considered, your plans are dead in the water. It happens time after time and your chances to become a home owner are rapidly receding. You look for someone to blame and on the way home from your latest failed attempt to purchase a home, you hear a caller on Talk back radio blaming a certain ethnic group and claiming inside knowledge about how these 'groups operate. That feeling is stronger when you hear a politician on the news 'backing up the previous claim and you enter a world verging on 'hate' for these 'carpet baggers.' Time to take a break and think, my friends. Yes there may be an element of fact behind some of the claims about what happens at an auction re bidding practices. How are we to know that someone hasn't been planted to up the prices. Sure, that's illegal but it is also difficult to prove that it is happening.
Today I listened to my hairdresser as she relayed her experiences around auctions and trying to get her foot on the ladder of home ownership. With the latest law changes whereby one needs a 20% deposit and the current high prices, she was starting to think that she and her hard working partner were never going to achieve the Kiwi dream. I felt for her and wished her well in her search. There she was, working hard  on a Sunday, to try and save. Traditionally, such hard work paid off for Kiwis, whether they be NZ born or new to the country. Like many other 'Kiwis, she is trapped in that hard place----getting together a deposit and winning an auction, where she has to go up against 'developers' and investment groups. She sounded like any other Kiwi just trying to get a fair go!
But, she changed the subject and we talked about her homeland and family---China! We had much in common. SO---think before you jump to conclusions about who, what and how the situation for many people is changing---for the worse. Lay the blame on factors other than 'race.'

First home buyers in Auckland have little to hope for.

Reports that first home buyers in Auckland are beginning to give up on getting their dream of entering the property market. The new rules about needing a 20% deposit are simply playing into the hands of investors and speculators. For those 'fat cats' who cry 'foul' when anyone talks about imposing a capital gains tax in order to cool down the demand for investment properties, I say, how about thinking of your fellow citizens for a change? If a significant sector of society is locked out of the NZ dream of owning a home, then expect social disruption as those who are doomed to stay at the bottom seek other answers. We can not have the gap between 'those who can and those can but dream,' ever increasing. Something has to give and when it does, maybe the greedy will take a plunge of epic proportions. To the politicians I say,' get your act together (but not ACT!) and provide a more hopeful playing field.' It is in the interests of us all to have the maximum number of our people with a real stake in the economy. Home ownership along with stable employment are vital factors to achieve this goal. The later of course is another factor in that an increasing number of NZers are employed on a non-permanent basis; called in only when needed. How can they ever save for a 20% deposit?
Of course for some the best action would be to leave Auckland and 'if' they can find employment in the provinces, move there, where the homes are more affordable and life is a little less stressful. I hope that David and the Labour Party is watching and comes up with policies that veer in a new direction. Tine will tell!