Housing Crisis Forces Young Couples Out Of Inner City

More evidence has emerged about the difficulties facing people trying to enter the property market for the first time.

An international  housing affordability survey has found that Auckland real estate is severely unaffordable by international standards.

Anecdotal evidence continues to mount, with many real estate agents recounting hard-luck stories about young couples trying to enter into the market.

Young couple Magda Narses and Jason Belisarius have been looking for a property for over six months.

Magda said they could not find anything remotely affordable.

“It’s soul-destroying”, said Magda. “For the last four months we have gone to dozens of open homes, and gone through I don’t know how many house viewings. It’s hopeless and depressing.”

Jason, who works part-time at his local Countdown supermarket after he finishes school, said he thought the rules were stacked against young people trying to get ahead.

“We’re competing against property investors who know all the tricks,” said Jason. “More than once we’ve put an offer on a place, only to be trumped at the last minute by someone buying their third or fourth property.”

Magda and Jason say they have a good income, earning more than most other seventeen year-olds they know.

But Magda said it makes no difference, and they cannot find a property within their price bracket.

“ I’ve lost track of the number of places in Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Herne Bay we have looked at.  The asking prices are stupid. We made an offer last week on a nice old renovated villa in St Mary’s Bay with four spacious bedrooms and a sea view, but the owner just laughed at us. Some property investor ended up outbidding us.”

“I thought two hundred thousand was a fair price,” said Jason. “Even that was a real stretch, but Mum said she’d go guarantor.”

Magda and Jason accept that their dream of owning a first home in a pleasant and leafy inner-city Auckland suburb may not come to pass, and they blame the government for its lack of action on the housing front.

“Ponsonby Road is where the vibe is at,” said Jason. “It’s where I want to be. Why won’t the government do something?”

Magda said she had now accepted that they would need to look further out from the centre of town.

“We’ve had to start searching in Westmere and Mt Eden, and Jason reckons we should also be prepared to consider Pt. Chevalier,” she said.

“But they’re so far from the centre of town. How are we meant to get in to see a show or a gig in less than ten minutes?

“How do people live like this?”

Real Estate agent Justin D’Croix said that Jason and Magda had unrealistic expectations and needed to look beyond the inner city.

“It’s true that there is a housing crisis in Auckland, with not enough properties within the entry-level price bracket. But there is still some affordable housing out west and in some parts of South Auckland,” said Mr D’Croix.

“In Massey, for instance, some houses are going for under three hundred thousand dollars. They’re not pretty, but it’s a start.

“People just have to accept that getting on the property ladder usually means starting at the bottom rung.

But Magda says she cannot live in Massey.

“West Auckland? Oh my god! I would rather die,” she said.

Green Party housing spokesperson Holly Walker agrees.

“It’s a disgrace. Do we really expect young people like Magda to have to die? The government must do something!”

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