There have been many posts in the almost 7 days since the Block auction was broadcast live on TV, leaving many on the edges of their seats and shocking viewers with the underwhelming result (yes, I know, I should go write for the Herald – until then, here we are). I found the entire event depressing. As a millennial imminently aware of the housing crisis, I was shocked at the prices of what I’d call a typically family home in the suburb I grew up in and where my mother bought her first house (for ~$55k!!!). It really hit home just how grim the current situation is.
People accuse millennials of being selfish, indulgent – somehow the reason we can’t buy a house is because we’re spending $18 a week on smashed avo’s on toast. In light of the impending election, I thought it was worth writing a post on what it’s like being a millennial in the depressing reality that is the current state of affairs. (Spoiler alert, it’s pretty shit).
There was a show not to long ago about ‘who really owns NZ’, which, to be honest, felt like a xenophobic white man complaining about how immigrants are buying NZ land and taking over. That’s not the issue, the issue is demand versus supply in Auckland. And, in fact, we need immigrants, to fill the labour shortage. There are simply too many people who want to live in Auckland.
30 years ago, when my mother bought her first house, she got given a subsidy to buy a house that was worth just over 3.5 times her salary. For me to buy a house now, with 0 subsidy would cost be at least 10 times my salary – for a shack in Hamilton. Awesome.
Anyway, back to the heart of this post – the Block. What I found particularly hard to watch was the price of houses, being purchased by (what I presume were – correct me if I’m wrong) foreign investors, because no one in New Zealand can afford the reserve. I know that we can’t change the current cost of houses and I don’t want those with houses to lose the value of their property. What we need is to develop other areas and spread the wealth around the country so we’re not all bidding for Ling and Zing’s house in central Northcote.
I write this from Whangapoua, a beautiful but sleepy town in the Coromandel that is only inhabited (mostly) for 6 months of the year (see stunning image below #jelly). I’d love to live here. But I can’t. What events am I going to run in Whangapoua? Who would utilise my communications skills that I spent three years honing at uni and piled on the student debt for? Therein lies the issue for the modern millennial – even if we don’t want to live in the cities there are few opportunities for my skills outside of city centres.
I don’t want to accept that I will be renting all my life, never achieving the kiwi dream of home ownership unless I greatly reduce my spending and basically become a hermit. I don’t want to be endowed with so much debt that I feel unable to travel or buy the extra latte… I don’t want it all, but I want the quality of life that my parent’s generation were offered. And I want to be able to do it out of Auckland.
So, I’m not sure how much change a blog post can affect, but if the Internet is good for anything, it’s for providing a voice to those who would otherwise not be heard. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but I hope by the time I’m thirty, I will be at least able to plant some strawberries (or maybe some tarragon?) in a garden that belongs to me. And I look forward to seeing a season of the Block in another part of New Zealand.
From where this blog post comes from today- Whangapoua Beach #summeriscoming