Editorial: Everyone needs roof over head

By Roger Moroney

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Back in the days when there were just two television channels and if you lost one job on the Friday you could pretty much walk into another one on the Monday, buying a house was accepted as one the many rites of passage people went through in their lives.

There was a relative simplicity to it all.

You would work like crazy for a couple of years and tuck away a couple of thousand and then make an appointment to see one of the desk-bound team at the old State Housing Corporation.

If you crossed the t's and dotted the i's they (the government, really) would sign off your loan , which in our case I would pay off every Friday by walking in there with $35 cash and handing it to the lady at the counter.

She in turn would write a receipt and paste it into the booklet they issued us.

Seemed to work rather well really.

When we sold up and moved on as an addition to the young family was on the way, the "housing corp" was no longer in the fray.

It was a bank we went to, and after they started shaking their heads at handing over a new mortgage we abandoned them and went to another one, which after looking me up and down, and assessing my work record, said yes, we'll flick you some dosh at what was then an exorbitant rate of interest.

It was the only way though and, hey, everyone buying a house had to incur it.

But as things tightened, employment became more tenuous, and the property market sort of went on a stampede from time to time, it has got tougher.

It is unsettling, but in this present economic climate not surprising, to read that a recent survey has determined that homes in Hawke's Bay are "unaffordable".

The figures are there, and you can only ponder them and wonder just how anyone, starting out, can ever hope to take possession of their very own front door key with such daunting medium to middle six-figure purchase sums facing them.

You need guaranteed income for life, you need collateral, you need hope.

Housing is number one in life's list of essentials. You need a roof over your head.

But for too many starting out getting their own roof looks beyond even a dream now, and that is not as it should be.

Housing has to become more affordable and the means of funding for those houses has to become more accessible.

Enough talk please, you folk in Beehiveland, let's pull the reins in here.

After all, you're saving megamillions through carving back the three other necessities of a comfortable life - policing, education and health - so how about putting it into a larger kitty for young homebuyers.

You could call it the State Housing Corporation.

Start printing those receipt books!

- Hawkes Bay Today

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