Our Home Truths series has struck a chord with many readers, who have written in to tell us their experiences. Here are some of your personal stories, starting with reaction to last Friday's report on Squirrel Mortgages boss John Bolton, who told would-be first-home buyers to ditch the Sky TV subscription, buy a cheaper car, pay off their debts and learn how to save ...
I work full-time and earn $46,000 a year (despite having two degrees). I will never be able to afford my own home in Auckland (as I'm also single) and I currently house-sit as it saves me money. This man clearly is one of the affluent people who think that those who cannot afford their own homes are in this situation because they fritter their money away. I have a $3500 car, no Sky TV and haven't had a holiday in five years.
What does he suggest I give up next? Eating? Breathing? Clothing myself? He needs to keep his stupid ideas to himself (or try them) before he opens his big mouth and gets himself into trouble.
- Jo Hedge
My partner and I returned to NZ a year ago with two young children. We thought it would be a forever move, so we sold up and jumped into a rental property, being short of a deposit for our own home with the LVR rules. We don't expect any pity. We make a combined income of $200,000 a year. (I can hear the teeth of people on the breadline grinding.) We can't get any assistance - from KiwiSaver, from Welcome Home; we are way over that threshold. Our rent is $700 a week. Yes, we choose that. We could live in some paper-thin unit on a busy road and beneath some powerlines; we could choose to triple the length of our daily commutes. Our childcare is $550 a week. When did New Zealand become so expensive? The upshot is we've had enough of this moving target. It's mathematically impossible to catch, and so we're giving up on bringing my kids up as Kiwis. Instead we'll slink back to where the summers may not be as warm or as long, back to where I'm a foreigner, but at least there we'll be at home.
- Bev Nicol
We are one of those families being shut out in Tauranga now there is an influx of Aucklanders, but I can't blame them for trying to get their foot on the ladder somewhere. We sold our home here last year (to Aucklanders for a very good price) and have decided to rent for a few years and invest more in our business with the aim of buying again in several years' time. At the moment if feels like a huge risk to be taking and we may get locked out completely, but the numbers just don't add up to buy in such an overheated market. It has been an interesting experience to be treated as a second-class citizen renter after years of owning. There is no security whatsoever as our 'long-term' rental is about to end already, as the owner has decided to move back in. I can't see how our 20-something offspring are supposed to have any housing security going forward unless some laws regarding tenancy and overseas investors change for the better.
- Nicola Welten
I just recently sold a house in Dunedin for stupid money to an Aucklander. My message to other Jafas who think they are getting a bargain: buyer beware! There are many houses on the local Dunedin market right now that the locals aren't touching and it's not because they can't afford them. The property I sold gets no sun for around six to eight weeks of the year, the new owner has no idea ... and I am laughing all the way to the bank.
I am 46 and earn a very comfortable income of $140k-plus as a managing director, renting in Takapuna. I was married and over five years ago separated and decided to rent for a year and then look. Now I can't afford to buy in the area where my 13-year-old son is established in school, and houses with the right kind of space where I can run my business from home are $1 million-plus. I have got savings of $45k towards a deposit but I have been looking in the Tauranga and Hamilton area, because I can't see how I can buy now - even in my income bracket - without having a massive mortgage. I often think how could someone on a much lower income even believe they could own now here?
- Angie Philp
As we age, we are now looking to downgrade from our current family home to a single level house on a smaller, more manageable section, but we abhor the idea of being pushed into a barren apartment block sans outdoor green space or small garden. The problem we are constantly encountering is competing with the hordes of recent immigrants who think it's their right to come into NZ flashing their money around to buy up as much of the smaller housing stock as they can, purely for rental income. We've worked hard, paid taxes and contributed to local communities all of our working lives, yet we are witnessing it rapidly disappearing into the hands of recent arrivals whose only intent is to gouge massive incomes from rental housing and give nothing back. This also has an effect on slowing up the on-flow of family-sized houses to younger generations because if our age group can't move out, then the next generations can't move in.
- Robyn Caldwell