Dunedin first-home buyers have described the trials and tribulations of striving to secure a slice of paradise in what has become an ultra-competitive property market.
The Otago Daily Times spoke to several such buyers after they had been through a modest suburban house at an open home yesterday.
The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home had a rateable value (RV) of $220,000 but an asking price of $325,000.
William Wilson and Elizabeth Permina were among those viewing the home yesterday.
Mr Wilson said the yawning gap between RV and asking price was a lesson they learned early.
"We realised that rateable value's got nothing to do with actual value."
Also in the hunt yesterday was Kevin Laplanche and his young family.
He was blunt when asked how his search was going.
"Not too good. We've put a couple of offers in but nothing's come back our way at the moment."
Some open homes had been so packed it was impossible to have a decent look around, Mr Laplanche said.
Yesterday morning's open home was one of about seven or eight Shane de Bruyn had ahead of him.
His house hunt had been suspended for the past couple of months as he worked to increase the size of his deposit.
It now stood at $60,000, half KiwiSaver, half cash.
However, as a first-home buyer, that seemingly impressive amount had secured a mortgage of only $335,000 from his broker.
"Which I thought was a little bit on the low side," he said.
A Dunedin real estate agent, who asked to remain anonymous because their company forbade talking to the press, said it was crucial for prospective buyers to be prepared because of the speed with which homes were now selling.
"Have all your ducks in a row.
"You need to be working with a good mortgage broker, and just have yourself prepared.
"Because when that right house comes up, you've got to act quick."
Asked if new buyers should lower their standards or look further afield, the agent was diplomatic.
"Don't pre-judge something."
The agent said there was no sign of the market slowing, as the coming influx of workers for the hospital rebuild would keep demand high.
In the final report of the Mayor's Taskforce for Housing, the scale of Dunedin's housing crisis was laid bare.
Median house prices were now 5.7 times the median household income, 440 households were experiencing high housing stress, and just 55 new social housing places were funded for the next four years.
The report made a host of recommendations to the Dunedin City Council, including to consider freeing up public land for affordable housing.
- Otago Daily Times