No sympathy from the Minister

Housing Minister Marian Street is quoted in the Dom Post:

But Ms Street despairs at some of the “hard luck” stories.

The latest target of her ire is a weekend newspaper article about a young professional couple who turned up their noses at $400,000 do-ups in Grey Lynn and starter houses in “dodgy” outer suburbs. They were distressed when they found a two-bedroom townhouse in Herne Bay, one of Auckland’s most exclusive suburbs, was on the market at $900,000. …

“I’m really sick of reading stories about nice young couples who have got hugely high earning potential stretching out in front of them complaining about how awful the housing market is because they can’t get a house in Herne Bay.”

The couple in last Sunday’s article had dismissed $400,000 do-ups in Grey Lynn because they said they couldn’t afford to renovate – an argument that holds little truck with Ms Street.

So what are the details of this rich prick couple in the weekend media? Looks like a reference to this SST article:

Van der Stoep, a Sunday Star-Times journalist, and her partner, a fifth-year medical student, rent a one-bedroom apartment in Herne Bay, but are desperate for more space and a small garden they can call their own.

They won’t be in a position to buy until next year but they have already begun scouting the market to find a house at $385,000, the limit of what they can afford by spending 48% of their income a level which experts say causes “mortgage stress”.

Van der Stoep says the couple, who will have a combined income next year of about $76,000, have discussed pushing their budget up to $400,000 but even at $385,000 their finances will be stretched so they are reluctant to take on any more debt. They hope to save a 10% deposit.

“It actually makes a massive difference to your weekly payments. You don’t want to go at the end of the week `Oh my God, how am I going to afford the groceries?”‘

Van der Stoep says they looked at a small two-bedroom townhouse in Herne Bay which they thought might be within their reach only to discover it had a $900,000 pricetag.

So a couple earning $76,000 are now rich pricks. How dare they complain about spending 50% of their income on mortgage payments.

I don’t read the SST article as them complaining they can’t live in Herne Bay. It is complaining that even a modest house in a modest area is almost unaffordable for them.

And I am not sure about their “hugely high  earning potential”. A 5th year medical student may be a long way off “high earning” and medicine doesn’t pay anywhere as well as it used to.  Hell policy analysts earn more than some doctors. Likewise journalism isn’t known for its riches either.

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