Split between property haves and have-nots

Owning a home  makes paying the bills easier, BNZ's research found (Getty)
Owning a home makes paying the bills easier, BNZ's research found (Getty)

People who own property have markedly different views on the state of the market than those who don't, new research suggests.

According to polling by BNZ and Colmar Brunton, 70 percent of renters say it's "a lot harder" to get on the property ladder now than in previous years.

But almost two-thirds of homeowners say despite near-record prices, it's still a good time to buy your first home.

"The majority of non-property owners in New Zealand agree that it's a lot harder to buy a house in today's market, compared to previous years," says Craig Herbison, BNZ director of retail and marketing.

"But it also appears that the act of owning a home, or not, may also impact your optimism. We asked if it was the right time for people to buy their first home -- 63 percent of property owners think it is a good time, versus only 37 percent of non-property owners."

Figures released by real estate company Barfoot & Thompson yesterday showed in Auckland -- where a third of the country lives -- house prices are up 12 percent on a year ago. They peaked in December, fell slightly in January and February, before picking up again last month.

Owning a home also makes paying the bills easier, BNZ's research found.

Renters are twice as likely to be living paycheque to paycheque than owners, while one-in-three renters say they spend more than they earn, making saving for a deposit unlikely.

"This is in contrast to property owners, for whom nearly half have enough discretionary income that they can pay more off their mortgage than required, even if it means making lifestyle sacrifices," says Mr Herbison.

Almost 60 percent of non-homeowners say buying property in their town isn't an achievable goal in the next five years. Asked how they would get onto the property ladder:

Holding non-homeowners back is their cavalier attitude to money, says Mr Herbison.

"It is encouraging that nearly three quarters of people with mortgages review the structure of their home loan regularly, especially as current interest rates are the lowest in a generation, which provides a powerful opportunity to pay off home loans faster than ever.

"Ideally we'd like to see this discipline in a greater number of non-homeowners, more than a third of whom said they let their finances take care of themselves. This is unlikely to set them up for the future they want and deserve."

The research was conducted by Colmar Brunton in mid-March, and had 2000 respondents.