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Auckland houses unaffordable – really?

Guest Blogger –  Stuart Christie

The NZ  Herald has once again relayed the harrowing story of families denied their opportunity to live in Auckland because houses have become unaffordable. It gave  examples of record prices paid. I’ve spent some years in real estate, and I wonder what is going on.

It’s all nonsense, of course, because the people who bought those houses could afford them and presumably  are very pleased with their purchases. I dare say that other bidders at those auctions could afford those houses as well, but were just beaten out by the last bid. That’s not new, that’s always been the case as long as auctions have been around.  Now, maybe if a property is  ‘passed in’ at auction it could be unaffordable.

Isn’t it true that most of these buyers are simply trying to buy houses they can’t afford? Unless your second name is Dotcom then it is likely there are thousands of houses you can’t afford in Auckland. That’s a fact of life. Sure, there have been a few  rapid price rises in some areas, but first or second home buyers have generally never been able to afford a first home in central Auckland or most of the inner suburbs. Read the rest of this entry »


Missing in Action: The Wisdom of Crowds in New Zealand

Missing in Action: The Wisdom of Crowds in New Zealand

by Alan Wilkinson 

Are New Zealanders well served by our mainstream print media websites?  The two major ones are APN News & Media’s NZ Herald and Fairfax Media’s Stuff.  

As the Internet brings the world to our screens at the click of a mouse, we have access to worldwide news from any international source we choose. So it is inevitable that the role of local media websites is changing from the print versions.  Rather than try to compete with the major international news gatherers or simply relay world news from them, our local media have to add value by selecting items of particular interest and relevance to New Zealand.  A cursory scan of the world news on either the Herald or Stuff websites shows the impact of this localisation and loss of general coverage in favour of human interest trivia with a scattering of regional and NZ interest stories.

At the national and local level, the coverage is much more detailed, competitive and complete.  The Herald website is more directly accessible, while most of Stuff’s coverage is buried deeper in regional or sectional web pages.  Obviously print journalism everywhere is under financial pressure as readers switch to online sources rather than buying paper versions, and as advertisers follow suit.  Furthermore, the Internet provides direct access to the best expertise on specialist subjects. General journalists cannot hope to compete at that level, nor can their newspapers generally afford such expertise.  In consequence, where local news stories require specialist input or insight our media are generally limited to what can be obtained readily and for free. So it is patchy in both coverage and quality.  Read the rest of this entry »