"Don’t think, ‘I have to have this or that.’"

by Rebecca Macfie / 07 September, 2016
If Veronica Ding had followed the advice of commentators who said the market was overheated and it was better to rent, she’d probably be locked out of the Auckland housing market by now.
Veronica Ding and the property she eventually ended up with. Photo/Rebekah Robinson
Veronica Ding and the property she eventually ended up with. Photo/Rebekah Robinson


If Veronica Ding had followed the advice of commentators who said the market was overheated and it was better to rent, she’d probably be locked out of the Auckland housing market by now.

Instead, 31-year-old Ding and her 33-year-old partner took the plunge in mid-2013. They looked at only three or four houses over a couple of weekends before putting an offer on a recently renovated three-bedroom weatherboard house on a 700sq m section in Manurewa, South Auckland. They had a combined deposit of $60,000, and paid $370,000.

Her friends questioned the decision to buy in a suburb that wasn’t seen as a “good area”. But the house was neat and tidy, and after 10 years of renting rooms in shared houses, she was happy to have a place of her own.

A year later, the couple decided it was time to “flip” the Manurewa property and get something better. The market was heating up – one house that Ding liked the look of attracted 11 offers.

They sold the Manurewa house in the same condition they had bought it for $425,000 at the end of August 2014, and two days later went cashed up to an auction for a house in the suburb of Burswood. They paid $655,000 for the three-bedroom 1990s property on a 668sq m section. Ding’s parents are emigrating from China at the end of this year, and the house is big enough to accommodate both generations.

She’s relieved to have got a toehold in the market back in 2013, just before the Reserve Bank introduced loan-to-value ratios that restricted banks’ ability to lend to buyers with less than a 20% deposit. Now working as a real estate agent, Ding urges first-home buyers not to overthink the situation, not to be fussy and not to be influenced too much by the opinions of friends and commentators – because indecision and delay are costly.

“Don’t expect too much for your first or even your second house … Don’t think, ‘I have to have this or that.’ You just have to be in the market. If you have a very limited budget, that will decide what kind of house you can buy and where the location is going to be. You have to sacrifice something.

“I tell people, ‘Just get a house.’ You will probably be disappointed in the first couple of years because maybe you will have to [commute a long way] to work, or you won’t like the area, or you want to be close to a town centre or your parents or whatever. Well, you just have to suffer that, and then everything will be better.”

Read more: 

• How Singapore tamed house prices and deflated their housing bubble

• ‘An awesome house’ in Christchurch trumps a shoebox in Auckland

• Would banks be at risk from a 40-50% drop in Auckland house prices?

• An investment specialist spots three key risks in Auckland’s housing bubble trouble

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