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About illness, Financial hardship

Another Kiwi dream down the drain

Yesterday, the Reserve Bank finalised their updated regulations on home loans, forcing banks to restrict new lending, and making it unlikely that prospective first home buyers will be able to secure a mortgage with a deposit of anything less than 20%.

According to the Nelson Mail, that means anyone looking to buy in the Nelson/Tasman region will need to have saved between $78 – $80,000 to get a mortgage on “an average house.”

First home buyers – my generation – will of course be the ones who are hit hardest by the new regulations. Because we didn’t get free education like the ones now making the rules, most of us have student loans. In order to get any sort of reasonable income, most of us are forced to reside in the bigger cities, where rent prices have been steadily rising to a point where many of us are spending 1/3 – 1/2 our income paying someone else’s mortgage. With no-interest deals on most electronics, furniture and appliances, many of us don’t even own half the necessary home items we use every day.

I’d be very interested to see how many of my peers, after rent, utilities (don’t even get me started on the price of electricity), groceries, loan payments, and transport, have anything left over at all – let alone enough to save 80 fucking grand.

For me, one of the hardest things about being sick has been putting any sort of life plan I had on hold. Like many Kiwis, it’s always been a dream of mine to have my own home. In fact, it wasn’t even a dream – it was an expectation. I thought it was my right to have the expectation that I would one day buy my own house. You could assume that’s middle class privilege speaking, if you didn’t know that I grew up poor, and that insecurity was one of the reasons I longed dearly to have my own place that couldn’t be taken away from me.

Before I got sick, I joined Kiwisaver, and I was about to sign up for a Home Loan savings plan with my bank. I was super excited about the idea of inching towards home ownership.

Now, the idea is laughable. Over 1/2 my income each week pays my rent. After utilities etcetera, there’s not only nothing left to put away – I’m in deficit. I’m not comfortable with playing the victim role, so this blog doesn’t sit that well with me. But every bit of media I have read about this decision says prospective first home buyers are the ones getting bit in the ass. And damn if it already doesn’t feel like my generation are taking the fucking fall for everything.

Still, I have to remind myself I’m lucky. Despite ongoing evidence to the contrary, I hold onto hope that one day soon I will get well enough to go back to work.

Thought it’s starting to look like, if I don’t want to watch my dreams of home ownership wash down the drain, I better get well enough to get on a flight to Australia. Because there is no way I’ll ever be able to save $80,000 on New Zealand wages.

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About writehandedgirl

Sarah is a writer who is passionate about social justice, feminism, politics, and cats. She is a columnist and poet and currently lives in Nelson. You can follow Sarah on Twitter (@_writehanded_) or read more of her writing at writehanded.org

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