“We thought we’d done everything right – saving for a house meant eventually owning a house, right?” Wrong.


Jenny Bates, 28, a secondary school physics and biology teacher and her engineer husband David, ticked off a few things while saving for their first house. They got married, went on their OE and progressed their careers. “We looked at a few places before we went overseas, but none seemed quite right so we thought we’d leave it until we got back. In hindsight we’d be in a completely different position if we’d have bought then.” When Jenny and David returned to NZ, they once again turned their attention to buying a home. “We both landed great jobs that we enjoyed, had a good savings plan in place and thought, let’s do it.”

It didn’t take long for the penny to drop that it might be much harder to do than they thought, before realising that in fact it would be near impossible if they were to remain in Auckland. “I had never thought that owning a home might not happen; it was the next step for us and we had to do a total rethink. At some point when we start our own family I had envisaged we’d go down to one income, well that was completely off the table. We’d both be working, trying to raise a family and struggling with a massive mortgage.”

“In an unfortunate situation, I am lucky that my qualification as a science teacher means I am quite transportable and my salary is the same wherever I live in NZ. Moving out of Auckland was a solution for us, but unfortunately it’s not one that is available to everyone.”

Jenny will take up a new teaching position at St Peter’s school in Cambridge next year. David is currently applying for jobs and the couple are spending their weekends looking through open homes in the Cambridge and Hamilton areas.

The good news

  •   Jenny and David will be able to purchase a house with their move out of Auckland.
  •   Jenny has a great job to look forward to.
  •   David can commute while he is looking.

The bad news

  •   They can’t afford to stay in Auckland.

Final thoughts from Jenny
If I’d had known then what I know now:

  •   Don’t think it’s just going to happen one day. Saving for a home requires careful planning.
  •   Don’t wait for later – start saving early.
  •   Compromise – don’t expect to buy your ‘forever’ house.

And Jenny’s thoughts on The Ownery
It allows you to do what we wish we’d done:

  •   Get started even earlier
  •   Save smaller amounts for longer
  •   Get a foot in the market as soon as you can.

The Ownery caught up with Jenny Bates physics and biology teacher at Mt Albert Grammar in between classes. You can hear Jenny talking with John Campbell on the impact of teachers moving out of Auckland in order to afford to buy a house here.

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