READER REPORT:

'We cannot compete' for first home in Christchurch

JODIE IRVINE
Last updated 12:30 21/04/2015
House sold
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A year spent looking at possible homes, only to find out they're already under offer is taking its toll.

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How many young, or even not so young, people are out there attempting to buy their first home across the county?

How many are religiously watching episodes of The Block or My First Home filled with hope and determination that they could buy themselves a home?

Or being told by parents/colleagues/friends that "you need to buy a house and stop paying someone else's rent" or to "get an asset you can build on and that will keep your future secure"?

My partner and I are members of the Christchurch contingent of this group after a year of trotting off to open homes almost every weekend, dutifully popping into the bank every two months to get our pre-approval renewed, experiencing the emotional rollercoaster to making an offer and almost literally holding our breath, only to find out there are a ton of other offers and that once again no success.

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* Five tips to home ownership

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During this year-long fruitless search we have been to open homes that are so packed you can't even turn around, let alone get time to talk to the agent or look at the house. And when you do, you are told that the house is already under offer and they are just looking for back-up offers (whatever that means?!).

The one thing that stands out about this situation is that the homes that are accessible and affordable to first home buyers are the ones that also appeal to the investors.

There's nothing wrong with investing, but it does make for a tough time when as a first home buyer you are competing with someone who knows the market - and the agents usually - and has equity and easy finance that is bound to make their offer more appealing than anything we could put forward. The old classic it takes money to make money, and the rich will get richer.

Inevitably now I have said that someone will feel resentful and say, "but I have worked hard for what I have". This is true. However, the market is such that even the most hard-working first home buyers are not in a situation to even get a look in.

The message that investing in property is "safe as houses" and a good way to make capital gains is true, but sadly not an option for many in this generation. Even on good dual incomes we cannot compete.

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* Luck and humble pie in house purchase

Time to give up home-ownership dream

In an attempt to help, some people say "just move out of Christchurch then". That seems like a good idea but the incomes we earn in Christchurch are the reason we can afford to even try.

Moving to Gore, for instance, means a cheaper house but no opportunity to use our degrees and skills, and therefore a lower income that would cancel out the benefits.

If it is this hard for two hard-working people with a good deposit and steady incomes it must be truly impossible for anyone going it alone or with a young family to support as well.

I really wish the countless people who told us to "just buy a house" knew how hard it really is.

We don't watch The Block or My First Home now. We try to remain as emotionally detached as we can while we continue to compete for the few reasonably priced houses on solid land that are around in Christchurch.


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