I spend too much time on social media. It's usually talking people through various aspects of financial literacy, and inviting people to send me their comments and questions about money.
Which means I have a firm grasp on exactly how frustrated, and even angry, first-home buyers are becoming.
The grumble has recently become a deafening roar.
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The Government's announcement that it is boosting projects like the First Home Grant is welcome, but it's a drop in the bucket.
For some, it will be just enough to finally tip them over into home ownership. That's welcome, and not to be sniffed at.
But for many more, they still feel locked out of home ownership.
Stable, secure housing is a core need. If you own a home it's easier to modify it to your particular needs, including accessibility, putting up shelves, or simply being allowed to put a nail in the wall to hang up a picture of your dear departed nan.
You can have pets more easily, have children, grow a garden. All things that can make life as a renter more difficult.
Not to mention the peace of mind from knowing that it's yours for as many years as you want it, as well as the financial stability that comes from eventually paying off the mortgage and cutting out a core expense entirely.
Helping people get more money to boost their home deposit is a good first step.
But it has to come in tandem with increasing how many houses are actually on the market, aka building a lot more houses.
Some of the RMA changes could help with that, as well as the announced plan to support infrastructure development that can hold up building projects. But those will take time, and it's never certain that such things will work until they've had a reasonable trial in the real world.
Dampening down the demand from investors, who compete at the same end of the market as first-home buyers, is also not a bad plan.
It's a start. But only a start.
I don't see the angry frustration from first-home buyers being truly eliminated any time soon.
How you can boost your first home deposit:
• First Home Grants are now available to more people, with increases to the caps on how much you can earn, and how much you can spend on a house. If you're buying an existing house you can get $5000, and it's $10,000 for building new. If you're in a couple, both of you can apply, and double the amount you get.
• The First Home Loan scheme allows you to buy a house with only a 5 per cent deposit. It's also had caps lifted on income, and house price. Try this quiz on the Kāinga Ora website, to see how much you could qualify for through both the First Home Loan and the First Home Grant.
• Your KiwiSaver is a great way to supercharge how fast you can save a home deposit. Your money is matched by your employer up to 3 per cent of your wages, or possibly more if you have a generous employer. You also get the government tax break of up to $521 each year, as long as you put in $1042. This means you can more than double your money, even before you get any investment returns.
• They receive less publicity, but there's also the possibility of a Kāinga Whenua loan. If you have the right to live on multiple-owned Māori land, it's traditionally hard to get a bank loan to build or repair houses. The Kāinga Whenua loan operates through KiwiBank and Kāinga Ora, and allows you to get a loan to build, relocate, or repair an existing house on the land.
This column is general information only, and not individual financial advice.
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