As New Zealanders, the notion of homeownership is something the majority of us aspire towards. However the ability to attain this dream has become increasingly difficult in recent times as New Zealand house prices have continued to rise, and with the advent of the consumption based economy, an increasing number of New Zealanders don’t have the required savings to get a foot on the ladder.

Our recently launched Real Estate Module, created in collaboration with Mike Greer Homes, aims to equip the next generations of New Zealand homeowners with an understanding of what it takes to enter the property market. It introduces real estate concepts such as mortgages, deposits and rent, while allowing students to understand the sacrifices required in order to even secure a mortgage.

Under the guidance of Miss Rait and Ms Saxon, rooms 8 & 9 at the innovative St Martins Primary School, Christchurch, have recently started their journey towards home ownership.

Their students are loving the new module; learning important financial principles and having heaps of fun while doing it, “[Banqer] helps us for the future when we’re looking to buy a house. To look at how much the houses cost and how much rent you get from them. I own three houses” Bruno recounted.

Miss Rait, also shared with us the impact Banqer and the Real Estate Module has had throughout her classrooms, describing how her class has become aware of the key financial concepts and practices when talking real estate “[the Real Estate Module] has helped the students see that you have to save money towards a deposit for a house before securing a mortgage.”

She went on to mention how her students are now familiar with how a mortgage works and what they mean for your investment, “the students have quickly worked out that the quicker you pay off the loan the quicker you get all the rent money. Some have bought several houses already and are hungry to buy more!”

We realise that as a child, principles such as mortgages and income can be hard to grasp, so we are thrilled to hear how well her students have been getting on. “Some [students] have come and told us to please decline their request for a mortgage as they've realised the house didn't return the rental income they wished to have.” Not only are these students learning fundamental principles, but they’re learning how to apply them in context.

Miss Rait and Ms Saxon were also blown away by their students enthusiasm to learn using Banqer in general. “I've never seen the children so engaged. They talk and work constantly. One maths session ran into lunch time and I had to usher them out the door as they all wanted to stay and work!”. “Another time that was pretty cool when the students were starting out on designing their mall from the real estate module resources, and they got so into it that I was leaving to go to morning tea first and had to persuade them to leave their designing and have a break.” Miss Rait tells us. Ms Saxon echoed the students new found motivation, "suddenly it took the kids interest and the kids could do a lot more with their money, it was more tangible."

The enjoyment that Banqer provides seems to have really promoted student lead learning throughout rooms 8 & 9, engaging students to seek and explore areas and principles that appeal to them, “the kids have started thinking of collaborative projects after the mall one - like a theme park, and are quite keen to use minecraft to build it, it definitely sparked their interest!” The ability to engage and motivate in the classroom is invaluable, and it seems as though the results really do speak for themselves when it comes to St Martins.

And to think, it all happened by chance “I listened to Simon Morris' Radio NZ podcastinterviewing a teacher about Banqer. The next day I suggested it to my colleague [Ms Saxon] and signed her up right there on the spot while I was talking to her. I quickly showed it to the students and boom! Banqer was an integral part of our classroom. We've evolved the way we do things and record and reward what the students earn (or lose) and even have student bank tellers.”

We like to think it was fate. We’re passionate about the education of our youth and the financial literacy of our nation, and without these like-minded education professionals Banqer wouldn’t be what it is. So we would like to thank Miss Rait and Ms Saxon, who are helping to equip the next generatation with not just a dream, but also the tools to achieve it.

We’d like to leave you with some quotes from rooms 8 & 9 at St Martins Primary, we know how much they’d all love to see their name featured on our blog, so we can’t miss any out:

Isaac: ”It teaches you about not to spend too much, you have to double it to pay it back."

Toby: “It teaches us how to pay off our mortgage from your rental.”,

Mya: “It’s really fun to realise how many houses you can manage before getting bankrupt.”

Lucia: “I like working out how to look for a bargain.”

Cara: “When you buy a house it shows the percentages of how much rent per week you get, so it helps you figure out the repayments.”

Leo: “The mall tasks requires you to organise well so you can count the costs more easily and effectively. Making up the names of the shops is fun.”

Jessica: “you can learn about financial literacy in a fun way. With the mall it’s good that you have a strict budget so you don’t go crazy and spend your money wisely. I thought you could set up your own account to pay for extra space in your mall so you don’t go over it.”

Fritha: “We have to keep our money sustainable/balanced to make sure I don’t lose my money trying to pay off my mortgage.”