Path to Home Ownership in Manawatu

Written by Ellie Bambury, Auckland
Homeownership. It sounds like a daunting prospect (especially for Aucklanders and Wellingtonians) but it shouldn’t be something you write off completely before considering all available options - especially location options. With a few simple measures and research, buying your first home can be a viable option for you! Take a look at how you could go about purchasing property beyond the reaches of Auckland (and Wellington!) because there is so much going on around the country for you to experience. 
Before we explore the wonders of Manawatu and why it could be exactly what you’re looking for in terms of lifestyle and value for money in property, let’s assess whether you’re actually ready (or close to being ready) to buy a house. 

You’re likely to be on the right track if ...

You’re a good renter
If you pay your rent on time, take care of your bills and look after the property both for and in between house inspections, chances are you’d be good at paying off a mortgage. This is one of the biggest factors to consider because you’ll not only be paying off a mortgage but also rates, insurance, phone, power and utilities, as well as homeowner association fees and maintenance. 
You have job security
If you’re in a stable job that is going to feed into your savings and allow you to make scheduled payments, rejoice! However, if you’re always hopping between jobs with varying incomes, then have a think about whether you’d be financially stable enough to maintain the payments required to pay off a mortgage.
You have good credit
Having a good credit score without excessive debt is a necessity for getting as far as approval for a mortgage. If you’re not able to pay off those credit card expenditures, or your student loan debt is completely unmanageable/without a feasible plan in place for paying it off, getting a loan might not be workable.
Now, if you’re reading those points and thinking you might be on the right track, here are some tips regarding the all-important savings and being sensible during the house-hunting process.
Monitor your expenditures 
Start working towards increasing your savings and putting a plan of action in place. There are ways to motivate yourself and get on track to spend less and save more, without completely missing out on enjoyable activities.
The ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’
Consider checking in with your parents, and possibly other family or close friends to see about getting a loan from them. Of course, this agreement comes with its own pros and cons and won’t be viable for everyone, but if you have trusting relationships, leaning on loved ones for financial favours can be a great way to lift you up onto the property ladder.

Consider buying with somebody else
This idea won’t appeal to some people, but if you’re keen on owning or part-owning your own home, consider investing with somebody else you know and trust. Think about it - you only need to save half the deposit amount, and therefore work towards getting your property sooner. You can always buy them out later if it works for you.

Why Manawatu?

Now, let’s face it, the truth of the matter is, your savings will go a lot further outside of Auckland and Wellington. With an average house price of just over $400,000, Manawatu offers the best of both worlds. Here you can lead a slightly slower pace of life while still having access to everything a big city offers, with a great selection of shopping, bars, and cafes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. One of the greatest aspects of living in this stunning region is the work-life balance, not everyone can say that their average cross-city commute takes 10 minutes. 
Educational pathways and career development are nurtured and encouraged, with top-class universities and tertiary institutes, small businesses and larger corporations where you can go to climb up the career ladder, all within your reach.
For the art and culture lovers, there are ample theatres, museums, cultural and science hubs spaces offering shows, festivals, exhibitions and interactive workshops. Those of you who are into sports, the endless greenery provides more than enough space for outdoor play and training, and there are stunning walks for those who enjoy a leisurely stroll. If you like to travel around and see even more of what the North Island has to offer, the snowy peaks, our capital city of Wellington, and other towns and beaches are within close driving distance. What’s not to love?

If the Manawatu life is calling you, here are some nifty tips to help you save for that dream home.

Create cash envelopes

It’s psychologically harder to hand over cash than swiping your card because you can physically see the money disappear. 

Automatic savings

Set up a transfer system to send a percentage of your wages to an account you cannot touch.

Buy and save

Try saving the same amount of money as you spend on unneeded purchases (a daily coffee/new shoes/nights out). 

Calculate things by hours worked instead of cost

Whether it be food, clothes, excursions or something else, if you find yourself making purchases that aren’t really needed, ask yourself how much they are worth in relation to how many hours’ work you’d need to do to pay for them.

Food budgeting

Planning meals, taking leftovers for lunch, not going out for dinner or ordering takeaways as often, and bulk-buying can all contribute hugely to your savings.

Gym & recreational activities

If you’re paying hefty fees for a gym membership that you don’t take full advantage of, consider scouting around for a cheaper deal elsewhere. Use the great outdoors or take advantage of home workout videos.
Hopefully, you don’t need much more convincing to start your new life in Manawatu. You’ll not only have everything you could possibly need on your doorstep, but you’ll be getting a lot more value for your hard-earned savings. Take into account all of the factors that can help you decipher if you’re ready to take the steps to homeownership, and beyond that, get excited about starting a new life for yourself in this beautiful spot in our big backyard!