COMMENT

Woe and misery, I am afraid, in the housing market. As market research firm Ipsos tells us, 62 per cent of those surveyed felt they could not afford a house in the place they live.

Trouble with surveys like that, is it potentially bears no resemblance to reality. Thinking you can or can't do something, is not the same as it being factually true.

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Not helping matters is the media's obsession with going out and finding people who can't afford a house and peddling their plight based on a fallacy. The fallacy being, that these people appear to think home ownership is a right, and the fact they think they can't afford one appears to be some sort of conspiracy or economic trick that isn't fair.

The example used yesterday I read was of a woman earning $47,000 a year. And on that income she is indeed correct, she most likely can't afford a house. Further, short of housing being priced a great deal less than they are, or indeed have been for years, she never will.

If you can't afford to buy a house where you live then perhaps it's time to get out of town. Photo / 123rf
If you can't afford to buy a house where you live then perhaps it's time to get out of town. Photo / 123rf

It says nothing of her plight, other than she doesn't earn enough money. $47,000 in a major city these days is well, well below the average wage, and when you're not in a partnership and $47,000 is your lot, then what else are you expecting?

She can't afford a new car every year or business class tickets to London, but we haven't elevated those things to a "rights" status therefore there isn't the disappointment of not being able to afford them.

Further, polling people about affording housing in their own city defeats the idea that, if it's home ownership you're really after by way of investment or savings, then buying a house outside where you live, especially if you live in a city, is eminently doable for a great many more people.

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You don't have to own a home in your own town. Go where you can afford it. Yes, the average house price nationally has cracked $700,000 this week, but not everywhere, most of provincial New Zealand is a comparative bargain.

We have created a monster, whereby expectation doesn't dovetail with reality.

The Reserve Bank isn't helping with its LVRs and refusal to remove them, not to mention this week's capital requirement announcement.

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Mike Hosking. File photo / supplie
Mike Hosking. File photo / supplie

You will note the Government's removal of the foreign buyer has made exactly no difference whatsoever to the affordability of first homes.

We don't have enough builders, we can't meet demand, and yes if you haven't, can't or won't buy a house, it's a bitch.

But running polls lamenting the obvious, driven by delusional expectations that all of this is some sort of right is helping no one.