When single women were locked out
Getting a mortgage was much harder during the 1960s, 70s and 80s than many firsthome buyers now realise. Women in particular were largely locked out of the housing market until the 1990s. Mortgages were rationed and ticking the boxes didn’t guarantee a mortgage.
When teacher Kay Robertson tried to buy a flat in Christchurch in 1976 she was told a 25 per cent deposit wasn’t sufficient because she was a single woman.
Robertson, who had attended the United Women’s Convention the previous year, said that she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
She saved more and went to the bank later that year with a 33 per cent deposit, only to be told that she could only get a mortgage if a male relative guaranteed the loan.
“My father had been dead for years and my brothers had family of their own,” she said.
When Robertson discussed the issue with a younger female colleague who along with her husband had secured a mortgage, the response was: “Oh, but you don’t need a house.
You are not married”.
Robertson also noted that a younger single male teacher she knew qualified for a mortgage with a much lower deposit.
She raised the issue of single women being locked out of finance with local National MP Colleen Dewe and was told she should be happy to have the vote.
Being Ma¯ ori could also be an impediment to getting a mortgage in the days when bank managers made value judgements. Even now the more Ma¯ ori you look the harder it is to get a mortgage, says University of Auckland social psychologist Carla Houkamau.
Houkamau and colleagues’ 2015 study examined differences in the rates of home ownership between Ma¯ ori who looked Ma¯ ori and those who didn’t. The results found that Ma¯ ori who looked more Ma¯ ori were stereotyped and had more difficulty accessing finance.
Robertson says buying first homes wasn’t anywhere as easy in the 1970s as first-time buyers now perceive. Many of her peers had to get second and third mortgages. Those who bought new homes got the home only and had to add paths, letterboxes, fences, driveways, and garages later when they could afford to.
IN the 1970s, first-home buyers often had to add driveways, paths, fences and letterboxes later on, when they could afford to.
Social psychologist Carla Houkamau says it still hard for Ma¯ ori to buy houses.