Guy Williams: My desperate attempt to buy a house in 2017


OPINION: It’s a weird time to be turning thirty, mainly because I still live at home with my parents, but also because this is the time that Kiwis would traditionally be looking to buy their first home and almost none of my friends are even thinking about it.

If you've read a newspaper or looked at a news site this year, it’s hard to be positive about buying a house in Auckland, where I live. You’re probably, at best, confused. At worst, you’re lying on your rented floor sobbing uncontrollably.

The modern property prices story for Auckland works on a five-day news cycle, specifically designed to drive you clinically insane.

Guy Williams is on a journey to buy a home. He's even brought a sunhat.
Guy Williams is on a journey to buy a home. He's even brought a sunhat.

Monday is your classic house prices are going up or down story.

On Tuesday, they hit you with “How is this Grey Lynn shack (on a large two million dollar section) worth two million dollars?” This one fools people every time and is almost guaranteed to be one of the most read stories of the day.

On Wednesday, you’ll often see a story about a 19-year-old freak who already somehow owns a home… so why can’t you? The secret is to torment the reader with some rubbish about the hard work or saving the 19-year-old has done in four years of part-time employment; waiting until the last line of the article to reveal that their rich parents bought the house for them.

That or the house is in Whanganui. No disrespect to Whanganui but if you live in Auckland, that is just not a realistic daily commute. I know this because I went and googled it. (It is six hours.) 

The follow-up story to the 19-year-old home owner is usually a piece negging ‘millennials’ (a term I find is only used to criticise young people) about wasting too much money on avocados or lattes to buy a house.

While I am shocked that someone would try and tell me to “harden up” and compare avocado consumption to how hard it is to buy a house in Christchurch as a millennial, I can’t deny that they kind of have a point. I wish I had been much better at saving.

Westpac told Guy it had a range of tools for first time home buyers. He still brought a hammer.
Westpac told Guy it had a range of tools for first time home buyers. He still brought a hammer.

I have over $3000 “invested” in basketball shoes (mum don’t read this) that I claim are appreciating assets but are probably not going to have any resale value unless I make the NBA which is seems unlikely situation at this point.

The Friday housing article is simple; newspapers just write an article about house prices going the opposite direction of where they said they were going on Monday! Ta-da! Do you feel like crying yet?

In the midst of all this hype, I’ve decided to make a mini docudrama/mockumentary to mirror/parody and hopefully capture my real life experiences of trying to buy a house in 2017.

Westpac has come on board to sponsor the series and has given me a “bank nerd” to hold my hand and make me fill in the occasional form.

Am I crazy? Possibly? It’s quite dramatic: ‘Will I succeed or will I fail’?Anyone familiar with my previous work will probably have pretty low expectations for me, but isn’t that the Kiwi way? Set the bar low and then barely clear it!

I’ve worked incredibly hard over the past few years… well my dad doesn’t call it work… I’ve saved as well as I can to try get that magical 20% deposit. I’m going to give it my best crack! I can’t wait to film an auction!  If you see me in Whanganui, you’ll know that the house hunt in Auckland isn’t going great.

I genuinely hope that I can buy my first home, or at least get a piece of an investment property somewhere in New Zealand. Or Venezuela. Or anywhere at this point. I’ve gone mad!

Hopefully, I would be a better landlord than the ones I had. That wasn’t supposed to be a dig at my parents; I’ve had actual landlords when I’ve rented in the past.

At the same time, I need to move out of home ASAP. That was a dig at my parents.

This article and Guy’s journey to try and buy his first home are sponsored by Westpac New Zealand Limited.  

The opinions expressed in this article are not neccessarily those of Westpac.