After holding out for years, Claire Trevett discovers the desperate reality of buying a house.

Two months into my househunt, a friend assured me it was like childbirth: as soon as you got one, the pain was forgotten.

They lied.

As a journalist, I have written and read many stories about first-home buyers.


It was time to become one.

My investigative effort took eight months in a Wellington market that had apparently just seen what had happened in Auckland over the preceding decade and wanted a piece of that action.

It proved an exercise in misanthropy.

After eight months of