Desire to own property waning, survey finds

Home ownership is becoming less of a desire for some Kiwis. Photo / File

There has been a drop in desire by people to own their own home while at the same time the amount of money people believe they need for retirement has increased, research has found.

An annual survey of 1001 people undertaken by investment platform Sharesies has revealed how Kiwis’ attitudes towards money have shifted over the last year.

This year over a quarter (27 per cent) of those surveyed said they did not want to own a property, up from 12 per cent last year.

Sharesies co-CEO Brooke Roberts said that was a big shift in a year and there were a few things driving it.

“One is that feeling that it is getting harder and harder to own a home, it just feels inaccessible.”

The survey found 23 per cent felt they would not be able to afford a house, up from 16 per cent last year.

Roberts believed the change also reflected more options becoming available for Kiwis to invest into.

“In New Zealand when we started Sharesies investing equalled home ownership – that was the narrative. That is starting to change.

“With 9 per cent of people using Sharesies now and investing becoming more of a thing that is accessible to people that they are starting to build their confidence in that way too.”

She said people were now more open to building their wealth in other ways through shares and funds and not just property.

Sharesies now has 470,000 users with $1.9 billion invested.

The research also found people were becoming more aware of how much they would need to save for retirement.

Of those surveyed 40 per cent believed they would need over a million dollars compared with 34 per cent in 2020.

“People are becoming more aware that they are going to need quite a bit of money in order to retire.”

Massey University research out this week found a couple looking to retire in the city would need $809,000 to have spending choices in retirement.

Brooke Roberts, co-CEO of Sharesies. Photo / FileBrooke Roberts, co-CEO of Sharesies. Photo / File

While KiwiSaver remained the main savings vehicle for retirement more were also seeing share investment as part of their long-term plan.

Of those surveyed 43 per cent believed that investing in shares was a way to save for retirement, up from 35 per cent.

Roberts said people were becoming more conscious of investing and how they could develop that wealth and have more financial freedom in the future.

“There is still a lot to be done when it comes to understanding what KiwiSaver is.”

KiwiSaver funds invest in a range of assets including shares, bonds, property and cash.

Covid impact

Around half of those surveyed felt comfortable with their savings and current money situation but when asked about the direct link between financial situation and the pandemic only 46 per cent of Aucklanders felt comfortable. That compared to 55 per cent of people living in Wellington.

The research also surveyed 685 Sharesies investors. Of the general population surveyed 46 per cent said they never checked on the share markets while 77 per cent of Sharesies investors claimed to check the markets weekly.

Nearly a third of Sharesies investors survey had also become more aggressive with their investment strategies since the pandemic began compared to 9 per cent of the general population surveyed.

Sharesies investors were also looking to make the most of any extra cash and invest more in the share markets (63 per cent), while those surveyed from the general population would rather put their money into an emergency fund (34 per cent), pay off their debts (31 per cent) or travel domestically (27 per cent).

Asked if they were more or less likely to invest in NZX-listed companies due to the pandemic 26 per cent said they were more likely to while 14 per cent said they were less likely to.

Unsurprisingly more Kiwis have been investing into healthcare, technology and energy shares while one in five had either stopped or were investing less into tourism and travel-related stocks.

Men were still more confident than women when it comes to investments with 55 per cent of males surveyed saying they were knowledgeable about the sharemarket compared with 23 per cent of females.

Younger people are also becoming more investment savvy with 47 per cent of those under 30 saying they were knowledgeable compared with 36 per cent of those 35 and over.

Māori and Pasifika people were also less like to own shares and understand how investing works.

Only one-third of Māori and a quarter of Pasifika agreed that they understand how investing works, compared with 41 per cent of Pākehā.

Pasifika people were among the most uncomfortable with their financial situation as a result of the pandemic (26 per cent), followed by Māori (19 per cent) and Pākehā (15 per cent).

Four in five Pākehā feel that they are in control of their spending, whereas Māori (67 per cent) and Pasifika (57 per cent) are least likely to agree.

Māori and Pasifika were also least likely to be happy with their financial situations (40 per cent and 38 per cent respectively), compared to more than half (54 per cent) of other ethnicities who are happy.

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