Senior Wellington journalist Georgina Campbell's fortnightly column looks closely at issues in the capital.
I'm a woman in my late 20s living in Wellington and I don't want to own my own home, but have concluded the only choice is to try to get on the property ladder.
The responsibility, potential social isolation, and debt fills me with a sense of dread.
But I also have FOMO (fear of missing out) on the ridiculous gains being made in this red hot market. It feels like a financially bad decision that I didn't buy a house a month ago.
Before Christmas, my mum was lining up indoor plants to give as presents.
I exclaimed: "I hope one of those isn't for me! You know I'd kill it."
Another Christmas, a friend offered to take my secret Santa gift, another pot plant, into his care. I check in on its progress when I go over there for dinner.
My sister finally cracked it by giving me a cactus that only needs watering a few times a year, I think.
I'm not big on lots of responsibilities. I'd like to go away for the summer and not have to organise someone to water my plants.
In my mind I have always dedicated this decade of my life to having fun, ripping into my career, and travelling overseas.
But Covid-19 has removed a chapter of my life and put another on steroids.
Going abroad is not going to happen any time soon and many people my age have almost prematurely turned the page to the housing market.
According to the Real Estate Institute, Wellington's median house price jumped 18.6 per cent annually from $685,000 in December 2019 to $812,251 at the end of last year.
Eleven regions across the country experienced double-digit annual growth.
Tell me a better place to put my money.
The financial gains of home ownership presents an interesting tension in many young lives.
I'm grateful that societal norms have further progressed since my parents were my age.
They were already married, home owners, and with a baby on the way.
Ambitious women have paved the way for me to freely pursue a career of my choosing rather than be wedded to homemaking.
However, many careers are very much tied to cities which are fast becoming completely unaffordable.
So people are looking further afield where they can secure a home, in turn finding themselves isolated from social lives they should still be enjoying.
The depths of suburbia is potentially more palatable if you're buying a house with a partner because you're in it together.
But it's concerning to think couples could be diving in to buy houses much earlier in their relationship than they otherwise would have outside of this climate.
I hate the idea of moving in together because it's a good financial decision, rather than because two people are ready to take that step.
It feels socially regressive.
The only debt I have had is a student loan. A couple of years ago I gave away two three-seater couches to the Salvation Army because such material assets felt like an anchor.
Sometimes I wonder if people jump for joy then burst into tears when they finally secure their first home and realise they are mortgaged up to their eyeballs.
A brief scroll through of what I would consider to be entry-level priced listings for homes in Wellington is infuriating.
They're being advertised as the "perfect starter or investment" or "buy one, some... or all 10".
Renting will get you closer to the playground that is a city but the prices are just as hectic as the for sale market.
Anecdotally, a room in Wellington costs north of $250 a week in rent these days.
After rent, additional living expenses, student loan repayments, savings, and KiwiSaver contributions, there's not a lot left over for many people to enjoy the city they live so close to.
At least your money isn't exclusively lining someone else's pockets every week when you own a home.
Whichever way you look, young people are being ripped off and it feels like the only way to compensate for that is to try and position yourself for the massive capital gains in the property market.
Owning your own home may well be the Kiwi dream, but not like this.
I scour the listings reluctantly while wondering how I'll come up with a deposit for them.