Kiwibank said it changed the wording of its website “based on customer feedback.”
A familiar line about first-time homebuyers overspending on take-out coffee and avocado toast has been pulled from the Kiwibank website.
Kiwibank said the wording “misses the mark”.
The first line of a page on low deposit options for first-time homebuyers reads: “Have you given up on take-out coffees and avocados on toast and still think you have years of securing a large enough home deposit? A low deposit home loan could help you access your first home sooner than you think.
Only the second sentence remains.
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In a statement, Kiwibank said it continually updates its web pages “and recently made some changes based on customer feedback.”
On Twitter, the bank said it knew “it can be really hard to save for a house deposit and we recognize that this story misses the mark.”
The house price index from real estate data company CoreLogic now puts the average New Zealand home value at $ 1 million.
Lesley Harris, of the First Home Buyers Club, said the “familiar” lines on take-out coffee and avocado on toast did not match the state of the housing market.
She said that even if people bought both foods “every day of the week, it still wouldn’t have a huge impact” on saving for a home deposit.
“It’s dangerous to make those kinds of off-the-cuff comments because I think it can be misinterpreted as, I guess, downplaying how difficult it really is.”
Harris said having enough for a deposit was not the only problem now, but also being able to get a mortgage.
“Bank lending criteria are tightened. There are half of the loans at low interest rates compared to two or three months ago with the changes to the Reserve Bank rules. “
This change, in November, limited banks to just 10 percent of new loans that could go to homeowners with less than 20 percent deposit.
“The pain is felt,” said Harris. “I don’t think it’s fair to blame people for not being able to afford their first home. “
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Harris said the reality was that even paying rent was now “very, very difficult” and had to be dealt with before people even considered stepping up the property ladder.
She said it became more difficult from the start because income had not increased to match the cost of living.
“We have never seen it as difficult as what we are seeing in New Zealand today.”