PHOTO:ROSA WOODS/STUFF Wellington remains severely short of listings and stable government employment will act as a substantial economic cushion.

OPINION: Unemployment is going up as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and because many businesses are using the shock as a trigger for some long overdue restructuring, there will be redundancies of people across the entire income spectrum.

However, the greatest numbers of people who will lose their jobs will be from the tourism, retail and hospitality sectors.

Some people in those sectors are certainly on good incomes, maybe as business owners. But the bulk of their employees will be on lower than average wages. Many will be on migrant visas, many will be on highly variable hours and weekly incomes, and many will have worked for a variety of employers.

People with these characteristics will, in most cases, not have comfortably met the criteria set by banks for advancing a mortgage. Many won’t have even been thinking about buying a house.

That is why I’ve emphasised since February that a key characteristic of this downturn will be the absence of a wave of forced sellers.

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This is especially the case when we consider the record low level of interest rates. Household debt servicing costs (interest payments as a proportion of disposable income) sit at less than 7 per cent compared with over 14 per cent during the Global Financial Crisis.

Plus, ahead of the 2008 GFC there were 56,000 properties listed for sale around New Zealand.

Early this year there were only 19,000.