It may (or may not) have come as a shock to you to learn Tauranga is the eighth-least affordable city to buy a house in - in the world.

It's harder here than in London and New York, according to the latest Demographia International Housing Affordability study, which compares median incomes with median house prices.

Even Auckland is ranked more affordable, if just barely.

For people like me, the millennials people love to hate, owning a house is an unattainable dream.


My husband and I started house hunting a few years back, right when prices were starting their steep climb.

We both had full-time jobs and savings in the bank, so we visited a mortgage broker, sorted out our price range and started circling "for sale" ads.

We spent our weekends at open homes and got as far as putting offers down on two properties and bidding at auction for a third, all to no avail.

The first property we bid on, a Welcome Bay house, we put an offer in that was $80,000 above its year-old valuation, feeling sick to our stomach. The house went to an Aucklander who offered $50,000 more than us.

It wasn't long until there was nothing left within our price range, or at least nothing that wouldn't need thousands of dollars of work that we couldn't afford on top of servicing a mortgage.

It was heartbreaking. We halfheartedly kept an eye out for a while longer, then gave up.

Sometimes the average house price has risen by more in one month than what we're able to save in one year while paying Tauranga rent.

We're still saving towards our deposit, but with no real hope of buying a house without the market crashing or picking the winning Lotto numbers.


Our dreams are different now. Instead of imagining what colours to paint our walls, we're picturing what countries to travel to.

My husband has gone back to study towards a different career, something he could not have done while helping service a mortgage.

We millennials are often derided for the way we spend our money and how radically different our lives are to our parents'.

But it's not always the life we pictured either. Rather, it's moving our goalposts.

If we're never going to get a mortgage, why not explore the world instead? It's an achievable dream. Unlike buying a home.