The Kiwi Family in 2021
It’s hard to believe that a little over a year ago, we were all going about our normal lives! Up until 2020, COVID-19 was barely registering in people’s minds and we continued on with life completely unaware of what was in store for us.
Nothing went unaffected by a pandemic that flew across the world quicker than the news that iconic duo of Bennifer could be getting back together at the time.
That aside, being stuck at home for extended periods of time forced many people to re-evaluate what they now wanted out of life. And for a large majority of Kiwis stuck on this small island at the bottom of the world with nowhere to go, property was the answer!
The Kiwi Family Survey report explores the subject matters that are important to Kiwi Families in 2021. Surveying 500 New Zealanders, this chapter explores how the New Zealand family has changed since COVID-19, including their thoughts, priorities, and plans.
The Great House Hunt
Unfortunately, with international travel on hold, the country of flightless birds became restless! With excess money in the bank, eating more dinners at your own dining table than ever before and winter getaways cancelled, many people turned to the property market to find a home worth spending lockdown in. The same went for young Kiwis, some of whom were set to fly off on the big OE but were grounded for the foreseeable future.
It’s too bad the demand for housing outweighed the supply, so before you could say “chur”, New Zealand house prices had skyrocketed. Currently, almost eight in ten (78.9%) Kiwis surveyed said they are worried about the current house prices, with an almost equal amount (83.4%) saying that the dream of owning a home is no longer attainable for the average New Zealander.
Sadly, it’s not much better for those renters out there either, with almost all (93.8%) thinking that rental prices in New Zealand are overpriced. Over two-thirds of renters that are house hunting (69.9%) want to purchase a home in order to escape the rental market.
Like everyone looking to buy a house, we just want good bang (or block) for our buck. House value (70.5%) was the most important factor when searching for a property, followed by living in a safe neighbourhood (67.5%), low maintenance costs (57.7%) and having heaps of local amenities (48.9%).
Climbing the ladder
It will come as no surprise to anyone currently looking to buy a house that most people (79.1%) are feeling largely locked out of the property game. Even with eight in ten (83.1%) accepting that their first home won’t be their ‘dream home’, it seems that unless you’re a millionaire or a boomer selling up and moving to the regions, the whole process feels as impossible as seeing a Kiwi in the wild. In fact, 71.5% of people are losing hope of ever being able to buy a pad.
With so much uncertainty in the world and government measures to cool the flaming hot property market proving futile, it’s understandable that of those looking to buy at this moment in time, almost half (48.1%) just want to get in before it’s too late.
Despite the longstanding stereotype that millennials aren’t willing to give up on their beloved avocado on toast, almost six in ten (58.7%) said that they were cutting back on living expenses in order to save for a home. A third (33.7%) said they are planning on pooling resources with their family or mates in order to climb the ladder.
Applying for government grants (32.0%) and taking on a second job (24.0%) were also popular options for saving for a home.
While many people are still waiting to get on the house train, they can only hope that the market slows down enough for them to hop on board!
Kiwis pushed further out of town
Unsurprisingly, those of us looking to jump on the property ladder are also considering relocating to different areas in New Zealand. Most of us blame the cost of living (41.8%) for wanting to up and move but being closer to friends and family (29.0%) is also a popular reason.
Residents of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) are the most likely to consider leaving the Big Smoke (26.2%). Although Wellingtonians (20.9%) and Cantabrians (17.0%) also have relocation on the mind, the residents of our biggest city are more inclined.
Whanāu in a pandemic
If one thing became clear during the pandemic, it was how much we value our whanāu. Over half (54%) of us came to value our family more since the events of 2020.
In fact, almost nine in ten (87.7%) of us think that putting family first and caring for everyone is important.
When asked what differentiates Kiwi families from the rest, most of us said that us Kiwis are more easy-going and relaxed (51.7%). We also like to think that we’re not too fussed about marriage before kids (32.6%), we spend more time together (33.1%) and often live closer to each other (24.9%).
Even though we aren’t bound to our houses in the same way we were during lockdowns, Kiwi families are still spending time together as they were in the midst of the pandemic.
Three in 10 (32.8%) say the pandemic has changed the way they spend free time together as a family and that a similar amount of us are opting to spend more of our free time our loved ones.
For those of us who increased our family time because of COVID-19, baking banana bread or sourdough together is the hangout of choice with four in ten (40.7%) of us spending more time together cooking and eating. Whether it was nerding out together over The Mandalorian or supporting the Crusaders to their Super Rugby Aotearoa victory, watching more content together was a popular choice for a third of us (33.2%). Whereas nearly three in ten are getting outside and enjoying Mother Nature together.
While staying healthy, both physically (32.3%) and mentally (36.9%), was a challenge for some families, luckily a fair bit (37.4%) of us say we haven’t encountered any major challenges throughout the pandemic.
Given the almighty fail that was 2020, it’s understandable that our stress levels were flying through the roof. Although we may have regained a bit more freedom in our lives, not having a clue what the future holds due to the pandemic is taking its toll. In fact, over half (51.2%) of us feel somewhat or significantly more stressed than the start of 2020.
Sadly, money matters are top of mind for half (50.6%) of us now and four in 10 (42.4%) of us are already worrying about our future cashflow! For anyone living in the Big Smoke, you won’t be surprised to hear that the cost of living is the number one concern for those us already worried about our wallets (67.9%).
While the unemployment rate is going down again, no one is under any illusion that the market won’t be shaken up again just like a snow globe. Two fifths (41.1%) of us are still worried about finding and holding down jobs in the future.
Given many people also took pay cuts to tide the company over this time last year, even more of us (51.7%) are worried that even if they do have a job, it won’t pay enough to keep up with the cost of living. While half of us are prematurely worrying about money matters, a lot of us (43.4%) are already living each day burdened with living pay cheque to pay cheque.
Although we don’t love worrying, it is somewhat reassuring to see that us Kiwis are thinking ahead to the future. Over half (53.9%) of us are worried about putting enough away in case of emergency and just under half (46.5%) are thinking ahead to our retirement wanting to make sure we are saving enough to be able to enjoy the golden years.
By keeping these important factors top of mind, Kiwis will hopefully then be making informed decisions to put them in the best possible place for the future.
Download full research report
22 Jul 2021