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Affordable housing

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, January 18th, 2013 - 24 comments
Categories: class war, housing - Tags:

The housing bubble’s clearly back. More wealth concentrated in the hands of the few. More of the rest of us stuck with renting for life. The politicians are talking about affordable housing. But Labour’s plan’s not affordable unless your income’s $60,000 a year or more. And who could afford the petrol you would burn living in National’s planned exurbs?

Time was the government led new housing development by building state houses and offering soft loans to families to build in designated areas along public transport spines. What was wrong with that? We only gave up on affordable housing in the 1980s when the car was king, petrol was going to be cheap forever, and neoliberalism insisted that the government should leave it to the market.

The Labour/Green solution is part way there. 100,000 extra KiwiBuild homes plus the Greens’ 9,000 state houses deals with the supply side issue. Capital gains tax gets rid of some of the price-increasing demand from speculators. But who’s doing anything to assist the target audience – young families – to be in a position to buy those houses?

24 comments on “Affordable housing”

  1. end o times viper shorts 1

    Brian Rudman wasn’t about to let English’s blame of the auckland council rest yesterday –

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10859866

    we need to go back to the old to solve todays problems…

  2. Chris 2

    Not sure what the exurbs are you are talking about – haven’t caught that., but I would assume the Kiwibuild will be in the same areas. You can bet the acres of land that will be needed will not be found in city centres.

    • karol 2.1

      It may not be in city centres, so much as in suburban centres. There’s the Hobsonville shelved project that end o times links to above. I also have been watching the ongoing development of New lynn – something begun under Waitakere City Council, and continued under the Auckland Council since 2010.

      They have been building a new medical centre, car park complex beside LynnMall. It includes apartments on the top (3rd or 4th level), with an office in front of the building now providing info on buying these apartments.

      There’s also plans for further house and apartment complexes within walking distance of LynnMall – on sites that were once industrial sites (pottery/brick/clay industry that once thrived in New Lynn).

      • ad 2.1.1

        Whole of New Lynn reopens in March. 6 years of construction, and is now the rail network’s 3rd most popular station. The launch is going to be a bit of a thing…

    • Len Brown indicated there were 20,000 sections available in Auckland and major developments in the pipeline in East Tamaki, Massey and Silverdale.

      Auckland does need to grow up and not out.

      And it fascinated me how Blinglish can say Auckland should do something about affordable housing while at the same time the Government has reduced the competence of local government to the maintaining of good quality local infrastructure.

      • vto 2.2.1

        Blingish talks shit.

        Government put up the price of housing by an average $11,000 when Blingish put GST up 2.5%.

        Council put up the price of housing by an average about $15,000 when Councils put up development and other taxes, I mean “contributions”, recently.

        They are all bullshitters.

        You know, as a tangential issue, people down here in Chch have had enogh of govt and council and I am seeing more and more and more people simply giving govt and council the middle finger. People are building stuff without consent or anything. Respect for authority has drained. People are going off on their own and telling them to get fucked. Good for them I say.

        • Blue 2.2.1.1

          VTO will you be ok, when those buldings and alterations/repairs, built without consent, or engineers certification, fall down and kill someone?

          • vto 2.2.1.1.1

            Blue, from what I have seen, those buildings and alterations all get built to a standard above that required under any consent. People are more than happy and want to build as well as they can, they are just fed up to the eyeballs with every type of authority. Authority has lost respect and cred. Just like it has and continues to do in so many other spheres (think illegal police spying and arresting, politicians duplicity and lying, abuse of powers, on it goes, on it goes).

            Your idea that somehow having an authority oversee something makes it safe is actually quite laughable. Surely examples don’t need to be provided, but one is Pike River, another is CTV building.

      • tracey 2.2.2

        Man speaks with forked tongue… and the punters dont recall his contradictions.

      • Herodotus 2.2.3

        Len has been deceived, there are 20 k sections that have planning approval but the majority of these are held back by staging provisions that require infrastructure to occur before they can be developed e.g support roading networks e.g. flatbush stage 2, long bay, orewa, karaka.There are approx 2-4k sections that are on the market or currently under development (under development means that earth works have commenced – so will require 12+ months before they are able to build on or e/ w are completed and civil works are undertaken which takes 6 mths to complete. So don’t use this disingenuous 20k figure as being available to be built on today !!

  3. vto 3

    Look, it is blatantly obvious that the National Party will not be doing anything to bring down house prices. If house prices are rising they will get voted back in, if house prices are falling they will get voted out.

    Simple.

  4. Cayte Shepherd 4

    The Living Wage Campaign, when success is reached will ensure all people will have the ability to save and have discretionay Income.
    Which political partys have stated they support raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and pursuing a Living Wage? Only two so far and they are of the left. One is large the other not so large. Check out David Shearers speech to Conference 2012 it’s in there. http://www.labour.org.nz/news/speech-new-zealand-a-new-direction

    • just saying 4.1

      The Living Wage Campaign, when success is reached will ensure all people will have the ability to save and have discretionay Income.

      But there would have to be a job for everyone who wants one. And a living wage such as you describe would need to be considerably more than $15 per hour. And benefits for those who can’t work would have to be raised dramatically. And housing availablity and cost would need to be sorted-out.

      Does David Shearer support the above? Or are you being disingenuous?

    • Salad 4.2

      $15 is NOT a “living wage”.

      • fatty 4.2.1

        $15 is NOT a “living wage”.

        True…but it could be if it was introduced alongside a more ethical tax system, such as the first $27000 earned is tax free, and abolish GST.
        Also need free healthcare, free education, food in schools, universal child supplement, state housing etc.
        But I agree, if nothing else is done, then $15 p/h will do little more than prolong our problems. $15 p/h is probably something National will agree to in a couple of years

  5. Tiresias 5

    “More of the rest of us stuck with renting for life.”

    “Stuck” in this context is surely a Freudian slip, for it reveals that you regard ‘renting’ as somehow inferior to ‘owning’ – buying straight into the Right’s vision of ‘us and ‘them’.

    Sure there’s a lot wrong with the current system of leasehold, but nothing that can’t be put right by some intelligent legislation – security of tenure, a Rent Tribunal with a clearly-defined concept of a ‘fair rent’, an enforceable right to have repairs and maintenance carried out promptly, a right to claim a share of any increases in property value accruing to agreed improvements carried out by the tenant, &tc.

    Sure you’re paying part of your rent to your landlord – the part that doesn’t get swallowed up by rates and insurance and the aforesaid repairs and maintenance. Does that feel any better than paying three or four times the value of the property to the banksters in interest over 30 years while still having to pay rates and insurance &tc?

    What’s the magic in owning? A man’s house is his castle? Fugeddaboudit, when the local council can tell you what you can and can’t plant in your garden or turn up unannounced to require you to chop down your tree or upgrade your sewer. Yeah, you own a footprint of dirt – and if your job or job prospects mean you have to move you’ve all the costs of selling it, if you can, and buying another suitable footprint in hopefully the roughly right place with another bucket-load of lawyers and bureaucrat’s fees to cough up.

    You’re not paying rent to some fat-cat landlord? Maybe, but in addition to the interest on your mortage you’re paying local authority rates, insurance premiums, plus Joe the Plumber, Mac the Glazier, Tom the Tiler, Kevin the Carpenter, Paul the Painter and all their mates for all those jobs that need doing which you don’t have the time and or the know-how to do yourself. Or not paying them and watching the property get shabbier and more decrepit as its value goes down.

    Ask all the folk in Ireland or Spain or the USA who have been struggling to pay their mortgages to buy their homes until unemployment or just a rising cost of living that has outstripped wage increases for years beat them, and have been thrown out of their homes by the banks still owing them money because the sale value of the house is now less they still owe, if they wouldn’t have been better off just renting.

    As the folk of Christchurch whose damaged homes have been bought out from under them at less than replacement cost, or who are still fighting their insurers, or who are stuck jobless in homes they can’t sell because of all the uncertainty, if renting is such a bad idea.

    As the folk who in good faith bought homes built with untreated timber because some idiot in Government thought they knew better than practically every other building code in the world, if they think buying your own home is a big deal.

    Do we really want sprawls of basic, cheaply-built houses around the edges of our town and cities – bearing in mind that cheaply-built means short-life and expensive to maintain. What do you suppose these developments are going to look like in ten years time? In twenty years?

    I suggest we need:

    1. An adequate, well-maintained stock of rental properties meeting all needs from those of the newly-married to those of the elderly and infirm, preferrably owned and maintained by the State or local authorities to compete with a well-regulated private rental stock, and

    2. A shift away from the thinking that holds a property-owner is a superior person to a renter.

    Tho’ I will admit that if you bust your financial gut over half-a-lifetime to buy your own property you will at the end of your life have a valuable asset for your kids to be itching to sell and squabble over.

  6. Cayte Shepherd 6

    It would be helpful if people could think.

    Of course the living wage is not $15 per hour, that is a staged step.

    With a government with a full emplyment policy, jobs would be a major focus, as occured during the Labour/Alliance/ Progressive years. Or have people forgotton that we had about 3% unemployment in 2008 and the minimum wage had increased by 75% since 1999. With John Key and National squandering this achievment and advantage.

    Employment, by building 100,000 new houses, will be created in all the allied fields add onto this biofuels, preventage health policy which assist people to stay well instead of getting sick from preventable lifestyle disease. And once a government starts done this alternate tack jobs will be created in areas which we do not yet know.

    All it takes is a modicum of lateral thinking, desire and ability to be hands on to manage the processes required instead of relying on the chance of the market as dictated by neoliberal freemarket capiltalism and the derivative TINA (there is no alternative).

    • karol 6.1

      Neoliberals can be very hands on – like in selling off state houses, bringing in punitive social security policies, managing processes to enable the building of Sky City Convention Centre, CERA, etc.

      There’s a difference between neoliberal PR and the practice. Bringing private enterprise within the state system is part of their way of managing things – PPPs etc.

  7. Blue 7

    Cayte “instead of relying on the chance of the market as dictated by neoliberal freemarket capiltalism” Do you think the boom times in that decade were in spite of the capitalist market system or, as is reality, because of it? You can’t have it both ways and despise capitalism and blame it for the perceived current ills, and not credit capitalism for the good times it provided as well. Boom times means more taxes paid, more for the Government to spend. Surely that is more logical?

    • bad12 7.1

      The ‘boom times’ as you call them were an artificial construct of Governments of the past 20 years,

      (1), Stop building State owned rentals and in some cases as Government sell them into the private sector without providing replacements,

      (2), Artificially raise the population by some 1 million souls over a 20 year period by loosening immigration criteria,

      The numbers say it best, for a population of 3.3 million we had Government owned rental stock of 75,000 homes,

      For a population now of 4.4 million we have as that same Government owned rental stock 69,000 homes,

      The differences in those numbers are where the ‘demand’ both for private rentals and owned housing lies,the demand has pitted ‘rental investors’ against ‘home owners’ and has obviously pushed the prices up…

  8. tracey 8

    Blue

    Does that mean there were no waiting lists in hospitals during the good times?

  9. Ed 9

    The last big advance in housing provision was the building of new suburbs in the 40’s and 50’s – but as has been pointed out the scope for further sprawl is more limited – especially in Auckland. Replacing existing houses with higher density housing will not be easy but can be done. One way through the financing side is to go back to some form of State Advances mortgages, possibly linked to ‘rent to buy” arrangements that allow shared property ownership with the resident having the right to purchase on an agreed basis – possibly using RV or some agreed value from time to time. I don;t thin we should be too rigid about how assistance is given.
    A different problem is the passion for building expensive homes – developers need incentives to build lower cost housing – or perhaps penalties in building expensive homes. The UK has stamp duty on a scaled basis that affects auction prices at the margin for example. It doesn’t look as though we are going to get finance companies back supporting developers any time soon (didn’t National promise legislation there?), but possibly Kiwibank could be funded enough to be able to compete in the market for mortgages on lower value homes . . .
    Care also needs to be taken that housing arrangements do not lock too many people in to not being able to move – we need a mobile population; a guaranteed repurchase of ‘rent to buy’ dwellings could maintain a pool of such dwellings, while keeping a fund rolling over to support new entrants to teh market. It could all be quite community supportive while being able to be dressed up for the ashpirational new-libs . . .t

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