Whangarei couple

PHOTO: After two years of searching, the couple bought their first home by auction in September. Photo credit: Supplied.

Having bought their first home amid the COVID-19 Delta outbreak, a Whangarei couple says Auckland’s prolonged lockdown could’ve worked in their favour.

It comes as realestate.co.nz reported in October that “stock and new listings remain a challenge” across the country, offering slim pickings for buyers. Property values increased 2.1 percent in October, CoreLogic House Price Index figures show, head of research Nick Goodall telling Newshub this was a likely reflection of strong demand and fewer properties for sale during lockdown restrictions.

In October, Wikiriwhi Hetaraka and fiancé Te Aki, settled on their 4-bedroom, freestanding home in the Whangarei suburb of Kamo. It marks the end of two years’ of searching, the couple telling Newshub they’re “still in disbelief”.

“When we finally got our house there was an immense amount of happiness, joy and relief,” Hetaraka said.

As one of two bidders at the auction – the couple, who paid in the mid $600,000s, attribute their purchase to good timing.  Auckland was in alert level 4 until September 21, Northland moving to alert level 3 just before midnight on September 2.

“From my point of view, COVID played in our favour when it came to the auction as no one from Auckland was able to view the house,” Hetaraka added.

Having scraped in before November 1, (when deposits to owner occupiers of less than 20 percent reduced to just 10 percent of a bank’s total lending), the couple used the KiwiSaver first home withdrawal – and the old-fashioned envelope system – to save their deposit.

“Using the envelope system, we’d get money out and pay for our groceries and treats…once the money was gone, that was us for the week,” Hetaraka explained.

Viewing other auctions first also helped them prepare, the couple said, as it gave them a feel for the bidding process.


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