First Home Memories

24 Sep 2021, Lynette McFadden

First Home Memories

We are constantly reminded of the uphill nature of the challenges for first-home buyers. Browse any newspaper or Stuff headlines any weekend and you’ll be familiar with the narrative. I’ve just seen reports that first-home buyer interest in Christchurch property rose 18 per cent following the first week of our local lockdown (The Press, Sept 18, 2021).

Deposits that can require years of saving, emptying out of KiwiSaver accounts and a real adjustment of what’s affordable versus what’s aspirational are a significant part of the story.

That first home purchase is hard, it’s true, but it’s also extremely sweet and I was reminded of this recently when I witnessed young families walking together, children in tow, heading down to the local school. They were travelling along the street where I grew up and I use the word ‘travel’ figuratively because what occurred to me was that my own mum and dad had done just the same with us some 54 years prior.

They were proud as punch that they had secured a home in the newly developed suburb of Bishopdale and only a mere 100 metres from Cotswold School, where I think we were founding students. It was a busy, bustling neighbourhood of working dads and mostly stay-at-home mums. Biscuit tins were full and Sunday was the family roast day. So many memories, and now I’m wondering, would these new families stay for long in the area, do they love the school, would their kids befriend all the locals as we did and play at the nearby parks till almost dark?! I hope so.

On a recent auction day, I watched young couples battle for the keys to new properties and I noticed two very significant things.

The prices had gone up considerably since this time last year. Homes that once would have been up to the $550,000 mark were now due to auction touching $700,000 and in some cases more.

I can’t help but wonder who can afford this.

And secondly, parents, beautiful parents were standing by their children, helping them to achieve that Kiwi dream.

Whilst I started this article with a nod to the past, I’d like to finish with a look at the future. Get on the property ladder if you can, create memories, make new friends, enrich your communities and then trust the property processes of pride of ownership and potential capital growth.

Believe me when I say, I know it will be worthwhile.