by Metiria Turei
Prime Minister John Key today told Auckland families, locked out of the housing market, to stop complaining and go look at Trade Me, saying there are more than 2000 sub-$400,000 homes they can buy.
Even if that was the truth, Key’s glib response that there are plenty of cheap homes (and therefore no housing crisis) would be insulting to the families who are locked out of home ownership by LVR’s, low wages, and skycrocketing house prices.
These people know only too well how many affordable homes there are on Trademe.
Which is why Key made the insult even worse, by getting the number of affordable homes available completely wrong.
Most of the ’2000′ affordable homes Key reckons are available in Auckland are either homes for removal sitting in a demo yard, shoe box apartments, homes on leashold land which incur huge annual rents or with asking prices well above the minimum set in the Trademe search field.
When you remove those homes from the search there were only 11 homes with 3 bedrooms or more available for less than $300,000 under a Trademe search in Auckland City and 36 available for less than $400,000*.
A search under North Shore City revealed just six 3brm+ homes under $400k, and in Manukau, it was better with 224 homes. Though the actual number available to buy for less than $400,000 is likely to be much fewer because, when we looked further into listings with asking prices stated we discovered that in most cases sellers underestimated the minimum price in the Trademe search field.
John Key may think that a home in a demo yard is a good bet for a first home buyer, but families wanting to get their foot in the door of the housing market need bedrooms for their kids, land on which to put a house and preferably a safe place for their children to play in.
John Key has shown how staggeringly out of touch he is by refusing to even concede there is a home affordability problem in New Zealand.
The fact is, John Key’s ‘go look at Trademe’ message was designed as a distraction to the OECD’s findings this week that New Zealand homes are the least affordable in the developed world, and Key’s continued refusal to introduce a capital gains tax because that will annoy his rich mates.
*Our Search included 3brm + homes on Trademe excluding sections and apartments. Homes with headline asking prices above $400k were manually excluded along with homes on leasehold land and homes for removal or relocation.