I'd love to buy a house but due to my partner having a somewhat specialist job that seems to only exist in Auckland, we had to move from Christchurch a few years ago. We're now resigned to the fact that even though we earn a pretty decent income, a decent house is just well out of our reach while we live here. If we were willing to make some large sacrifices such as the neighbourhood, the size of the property and giving up some of our hobbies, then yes, we could probably get something like one of those copy-paste town houses in Flat Bush. However, I don't see the point of owning a house at the expense of all that while also having a mortgage that leaves no room for anything else with the risk that if either of us ended up not working then we'd be screwed.
Instead, we're going to continue renting in Auckland in a decent sized property in a nice neighbourhood while looking to see how we can make our way back to Christchurch where we could get the house and land we want for around $400k-$500k, which would be well within our reach and would have us in a mortgage where it wouldn't be the end of the world if one of us ended up out of work for a period.
I can understand why you would feel that way. Equally it's a very dangerous game when you don't own a house. If I was in your situation I'd be looking to buy a rental property in Christchurch. It forces a certain level of discipline which didn't exist for me before I owned a house.
I'll give you a concrete example. I live in the middle east but have a property in Auckland. I have a generous housing allowance that would allow me to rent a 5 bedroom executive 400m2 house. I've chosen to rent something more modest for 3/4 of that as it allows me to also top up my NZ mortgage payments. For me a certain level of pressure is a good thing.