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Current as of 02/12/16 07:39PM NZST
Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Selling a high five to buy a house

JP van der Westhuizen and his wife Chene are looking for a house to buy. Photo / Supplied
JP van der Westhuizen and his wife Chene are looking for a house to buy. Photo / Supplied

An Auckland man has gone to unprecedented lengths to try and break into the city's notorious housing market - by selling a high five.

JP van der Westhuizen is auctioning off the celebratory exchange on Trade Me, advertising it as an "amazing high five", in order to buy his first home.

The 25-year-old works in IT, and told the Herald he wanted to shed a "comical light on a serious issue".

"It's a bit out of the box, amd I just thought people would find it quite funny and it'd generate a bit of discussion."

It has a $1 reserve, and van der Westhuizen said he was willing to deliver the high five anywhere in Auckland.

Any money spent on the auction would be a worthwhile investment according to the man himself, who rates his high five as a 9.8 out of 10.

"There's always room for improvement," he said.

Van der Westhuizen and his wife have been looking for a place of their own in order to raise a family but so far have not found anywhere that fits their budget.

"My wife and I have got good jobs and earn decent money, especially for our age. We've just found it quite hard.

"I don't know how anyone on minimum wage would survive, let alone ever save up to buy a house."

He is currently renting on the North Shore, and would like to buy a house in the same area in order to stay close to family and friends.

"Ideally we'd like to stay on the Shore, but it's becoming clear that's not feasible.

"It's a vicious cycle, rent is so high that you can't save. The whole DIY Kiwi dream is becoming more and more unachievable. It's pretty ridiculous.

I don't know how anyone on minimum wage would survive, let alone ever save up to buy a house.

"The only option seems to be to get used to the idea of renting for the rest of your life, unless you want to lower your quality of life in order to be able to save."

The auction is one of the more unusual that has popped up on Trade Me, and company spokesman Logan Mudge said it was a "novel" way to raise money for a first home.

"Our property team has been telling us for a while that Auckland house prices are unbelievable. Hopefully this auction will help [this couple] get a hand on the property ladder.

"We don't see auctions like this often but it's reminiscent of a famous auction when a member sold a hug back in 2005."

- NZ Herald

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