Comment by Newstalk ZB's Andrew Dickens
In the midst of all the hoopla over our housing market, a surprising statistic has emerged that shows we're not good at grappling with complex problems and their complex symptoms.
CoreLogic have released figures that say first home buyers increased their market share to the highest level of activity we've seen since 2007.
First home buyers now make up nearly 22 per cent of all sales. So the headlines that first home buyers can't get into the market seem a little false.
The figures do show we're not trading in our houses for better ones as much as we did before, which is why the share of first home buyers is up, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps the buy/sell/buy mindset for capital gain that other generations had is on the wane. I know there was a period of time where I went through four houses in six years as I scrambled up the property ladder.
So how are the first home buyers doing it in 2017?
CoreLogic says "in spite of tougher lending conditions, first home buyers have not been as affected as other groups. They're finding a way in the market by readjusting their expectations on property location and type, whilst others can't (or won't). As a result, the first home buyers' market share has actually increased".
They've readjusted their expectations.
I thought about that as an Auckland University study showed millenials have a lower sense of entitlement than over 65s.
For too long in this debate I've heard accusations that millenials are the worst generation. That they are entitled. That the only reason they couldn't buy houses is because they're buying coffees, big televisions and smashed avocado salads.
It's always been bollocks and I know that because I've got a couple of millenials living in my house. They work hard, they compete hard. They seem more grounded and grown up than my cohort ever was.
I know five millenials that bought their first house this year. Three bought apartments: two in Auckland and one in Wellington. Nice ones, too. One bought out in the sticks but that's ok because he works from home on the internet. The fifth bought a renter in New Plymouth, while he rents in Auckland, to ensure he was on the property ladder. They all said it wasn't easy but then again it wasn't impossible either
This is the next generation, adapting. This is what has always happens.
It's worth bearing in mind as we address the housing problem. It's not about preventing some people from buying and helping others to buy. The core of the housing problem is that we simply don't have enough houses - and the answer lies in building more.