Money Editor for NZ Herald

Home Truths: Why I didn't buy a house in Auckland - Investor

Colin Chisholm says he feels the risk of investing in the Auckland property market is too great right now. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Colin Chisholm says he feels the risk of investing in the Auckland property market is too great right now. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Colin Chisholm turned down the chance to buy a house in Auckland two years ago because he believed the property market was at a peak and prices were about to fall.

The 23-year-old business entrepreneur instead put his money into shares and start-up businesses including backing his own business.

"I had the opportunity to buy a house back in 2014. But like everybody I thought it was already at a peak - but instead it has got higher and higher."

Mr Chisholm, who has a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in commercial law and is working towards becoming a chartered accountant and financial analyst, said he believed investing in property in Auckland was too risky for the rewards it offered at the moment.

"It's been out of touch with reality for a while now."

It's a sentiment shared by economist and co-author of Generation Rent, Shamubeel Eaqub.

"Prices have risen so much it is very difficult for young people to get into a house ... the equation and the potential returns are getting harder and harder."

Mr Eaqub said getting a deposit together was the biggest challenge for young people and even if they managed to do so, buying a house meant taking on a high level of debt with the risk that property prices might fall in the future.

But Mr Eaqub, who has decided to rent rather than buy, said people should still be saving even if they couldn't buy a house.

"Just because you are not buying a house doesn't mean you shouldn't have savings."

While some New Zealanders living on the poverty line could not afford to save Mr Eaqub said there was a bulk of people in the middle class who were well off enough to save something.

Many were renting and not saving and living a lavish lifestyle, he said.

"They think if I'm not going to buy a house I may as well buy a nice car."

Mr Eaqub said Kiwis had a strong link between housing and saving but there were other options such as putting their money into KiwiSaver, investment funds similar to KiwiSaver, or investing in businesses.

Unlike housing, investing in business had a wider benefit for the country as it could increase the productivity of the economy providing jobs for people and incomes, he said.

For now that's the approach Mr Chisholm plans to take.

He will continue to pay $220 a week to rent a shared flat in Kohimarama and while he acknowledges paying rent is "dead money" he believes he will get a better return from his business investments.

See where you can afford to buy in New Zealand:

Mr Chisholm has around $50,000 invested, around $20,000 came from an inheritance and the rest is money he has saved.

He has invested some money into start-up businesses raising capital through crowd-funding site Snowball Effect and is backing other start-ups including his own business, Fulqrum, which has the been signed on by business growth hub The Icehouse.

"I think there is much more potential in business than in property," he said.

"If the property market tanks, which it will do I'm sure, many people will feel the brunt of that."

But Mr Chisholm, who is originally from Hawkes Bay, admits he will probably buy a house in the future outside of Auckland and either sell it to get on the property ladder in Auckland or use the rental income to pay his Auckland rent.

"I will probably buy in the future. I tend to buy low and I don't see that market being low right now. I will probably buy outside of Auckland and trade up."

He said many of his friends were considering heading overseas to try and save a deposit for a house.

"The only option for us is to head overseas. It's a shame the same job in Australia pays about 30 per cent more."

- NZ Herald

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