My wife is an addict - and her addiction is real estate

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

It's a difficult thing to watch your partner become consumed by addiction, but it's even more painful when the malady stands to cost you millions.

My wife, and plenty of other people I know, is suffering from a modern affliction, one that sees her face creased in concentration and aglow with the blue-white light of a mobile phone, or a laptop, as she feeds her seemingly insatiable desire.

From a distance, it might look, or sound, like she's an online gambler, but I think she'd prefer the term "speculator", because her addiction is real estate.

It all started innocently of course, many years ago, when we were actually looking to buy a house and thus the constant pinging of property links in my inbox made sense, but then we found the house, moved into it, and yet, tragically, it soon became clear that her property watch was not over.

I'm sure she would describe it as something innocent-sounding and innocuous, "just keeping up with the market", but all the local real-estate agents have her on speed dial, and greet her garrulously by name during our many, many open-house visits.

I'd like to think we bought an investment property a few years ago because it was financially wise, indeed I really like to tell myself that, but it's possible that it was just an elaborately expensive way of feeding the beast.

This is not an addiction you ever get a break from either, sadly. No matter where we go to on holiday, within hours I will be well informed about what we could buy if we sold up in Sydney and moved there instead.

This has led to serious and deep discussions – some might call them arguments – about the benefits of a life in Brisbane, or Noosa, and what it would be like to commute from Pearl Beach or Jervis Bay.

It's reached the point where I've started planning holidays exclusively to places where homes are more expensive than Sydney, which does cut down y


It gives me some scintilla of comfort that I am not alone in this, because there are plenty of other people we know who share this fascination with finding the next perfect house, or even just discussing, at great length, the vagaries of the market. Scarily, it's not just a Sydney thing, either.

From overhearing these conversations, I know far more about the dip in property prices in Perth than I could ever wish to know. Roughly 100 per cent more, in fact.

And I do try not to check her phone, because when the Apple Screen Time report comes up and informs us that she spent most of the previous week on a real estate app, I can't help worrying about our future.

Personally, I can get involved in the thrill of the house hunt when I'm actually looking for a property to buy, but going to open homes in suburbs that I've barely heard of, let alone desire to live in, is becoming a torment.

There seems to be only one answer to the problem, or at least one way to make it seem more acceptable, and less frightening. I'm going to suggest that my wife change careers, and becomes a real estate agent.