When sin­gle women were locked out

Horowhenua Chronicle - - OPEN HOMES -

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.

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