Kiwibank backs off from 'avocado on toast' references for first home buyers

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 Jan 2022, 11:23AM
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Kiwibank backs off from 'avocado on toast' references for first home buyers

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 Jan 2022, 11:23AM

By RNZ 

A colloquial line about first home buyers spending too much on takeaway coffee and avocado toast has been pulled from Kiwibank's website. 

Kiwibank said the wording "misses the mark". 

The opening line on a page about low deposit options for first home buyers read: "Have you given up takeaway coffees and avocados on toast and still think you're years away from getting a big enough house deposit? A low deposit home loan could help you get into your first home sooner than you think." 

Now, only the second sentence remains on the site. 

In a statement, Kiwibank said it was continually updating its web pages "and have recently made some changes based on customer feedback". 

On Twitter, the bank said it knew "it can be really challenging to save for a house deposit and we recognise this narrative misses the mark". 

Property data company CoreLogic's House Price Index now puts the average value of New Zealand housing at $1 million. 

Lesley Harris, from the First Home Buyers Club, said "colloquial" lines about takeaway coffee and avocado on toast did not stack up against the state of the housing market. 

She said even if people were buying both foods "every single day of the week, that still wouldn't make a huge impact" on saving for a home deposit. 

"It's dangerous to throw those kind of fly-away comments around because I think it can be misconstrued as, I suppose, minimising just how challenging it really is." 

Harris said having enough for a deposit was not the only issue now but actually being able to secure a mortgage too. 

"Banks' lending criteria's tightened. There's half of the low deposit lending around than what it was two to three months ago with the changes to the Reserve Bank rules." 

That change, in November, saw banks restricted to only 10 per cent of new lending able to go to owner-occupiers with a less than 20 per cent deposit. 

"The pain's being felt," Harris said. "I don't think it's fair to actually blame people for not being able to afford their first homes." 

Harris said the reality was that even affording rent was now "very, very challenging" and had to be dealt with before people even considered stepping onto the property ladder. 

She said it was becoming harder from the get-go because incomes had not increased to the level of the cost of living. 

"We've never seen it as tough as what we're seeing in New Zealand today."