Ghost houses and the invisible hand

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, June 16th, 2015 - 243 comments
Categories: capitalism, housing - Tags: , , , ,

Just when you thought the Auckland housing fiasco couldn’t get any worse:

‘Ghost houses’ hit Auckland renting market

… Prices are rising so fast that speculators are buying homes and refusing to rent them out, instead looking to sell them for huge profits without the hassle of finding tenants in the interim. One Mount Albert villa has been empty for years, much to the disgust of neighbour Chris Haturini.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith doesn’t think the number of ghost houses is rising, and there is no way of knowing how many of Auckland’s 22,000 unoccupied properties are being deliberately left empty.

However census figures show the percentage of unoccupied dwellings in some desirable Auckland suburbs has surged in the past 10 years, with more than one in 10 Takapuna homes empty.

So let’s get this straight. Auckland has an urgent deficit of 20,000 to 30,000 houses. Meanwhile 22,000 houses, up to 1 in 10 in some suburbs, are sitting empty. Behold the awesome efficiency of the market! Tremble at its rational distribution of resources!

Seriously though, this is messed up. Because houses are sitting vacant: many people have nowhere to live; we have overcrowding and its related health problems; we have people unable to escape cold damp houses; we have rents that are too high; we have desperation further inflating the property bubble. All this in the service of (untaxed) speculative gain.

See that? It’s the invisible hand of the market giving we the people the invisible finger…


In other ghost housing news:

243 comments on “Ghost houses and the invisible hand”

  1. Skinny 1

    The similarity to whole city’s of vaccant housing in China is uncanny. Speculating investors buy and leave vaccant. Looks like the capital gains promoted by our Government are more inviting.

    Step right up and make a killing!

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Vacant cities in China are nothing like a few empty houses scattered around Auckland.

      • Tracey 1.1.1

        are house prices soaring in those cities Lanth?

      • Skinny 1.1.2

        You can hardly call 22,000 ‘a few’ smart arse. Spare a thought for those living in sub standard accommodation wise guy.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.2.1

          6.6% unoccupied houses, according to 2013 census.

          A good number of them will be ‘between tenants’ or used as holiday homes etc, so the actual number of houses permanently empty will be lower.

          My main point however, is that entirely vacant cities in China is really nothing at all similar to empty houses spread out across Auckland.

          • Skinny 1.1.2.1.1

            A lot has changed since 2013, direct marketing in China highlighting the rise in values and fueling the bubble as a result. Add low interest loans out of China.

            Your point isn’t quite true as many well heeled Chinese are buying housing in these ghost city’s on spec that the demand will come.

            • Lanthanide 1.1.2.1.1.1

              The existence of ghost cities in China and ghost houses in Auckland are fueled by very different priorities and policies. The size of the situations is also vastly different.

          • mac1 1.1.2.1.2

            Lanthanide, Census 2013 reports that 10.6% of dwellings in NZ are unoccupied. This is an increase of 16% from 2006 and actually means that there were 26,172 unoccupied dwellings in 2013.

            Unoccupied private dwellings are private dwellings that were empty, such as unoccupied holiday homes and dwellings being repaired or renovated, or private dwellings whose occupants were all away, at the time of the 2013 Census.

            http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/quickstats-about-national-highlights/pop-and-dwellings.aspx

            • Lanthanide 1.1.2.1.2.1

              6.6% unoccupied houses in *Auckland*, according to the 2013 census. This article is about empty houses in Auckland. Nationwide statistic is largely irrelevant, except to note that actually this level of vacancy is lower in Auckland than elsewhere, which is a small positive note.

              • weka

                Some areas have much higher unoccupied rates due to the number of holiday homes.

                eg Otago has a 14% rate, Central Otago 22%, Queenstown Lakes 30%, so you can see how the holiday towns affect an area.

                I wouldn’t expect that in a city like Auckland, so might make more sense to compare Auckland with other big cities rather than national rates.

                (I agree that this is about the Auckland issue, but it might be interesting to know if big city occupancy rates are better elsewhere).

              • mac1

                You’re absolutely right, Lanthanide. Census 2013 says 6.6% unoccupied houses in Auckland. ( My figure of 26, 172 actually refers to the numerical increase in unoccupied dwellings in NZ since 2006.)

                The 6.6% figure however does not match the figure of 22,000 given in the press item linked in the original post. The number given in the link below to Census results from stats.govt.nz differs markedly from that 22000.

                http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/quickstats-about-national-highlights/pop-and-dwellings

                This link gives 33,360 dwellings in Auckland unoccupied out of a total of 509,625, which is 6.6%- your correct figure. This is very different from 22,000 quoted by the article.

                The number of 22000 unoccupied dwellings in Auckland can’t be based on these figures. The press journalist quoted in the original post by Anthony Robins may be using a different definition of ‘Auckland’, though the source of the figures in the press link is stated as being the 2013 Census.

                What is interesting from these census figures is the following bit of information which is very critical of this National government’s performance against that of its predecessor.

                From 2006-13 the increase in dwellings was 33,432 or 7.6%. This is an annual growth of 1.1%. From 2001-2006, the previous census period, the annual growth increase was 2.2%; double under Labour than under mostly National.

          • lprent 1.1.2.1.3

            …so the actual number of houses permanently empty will be lower.

            Yes. However the interesting thing with this is that it provides a pretty good ‘fingerprint’ to tracking property speculators. Which of course we have an existing widely evaded tax for.

            If a house isn’t occupied for periods of time, either by an owner occupier or tenant(s) or some other valid usage, between sales then on sale the sale profit should be taxed.

            Sales information is easy for them to get from LINZ.

            Short turnover houses of less than a few years should be used by the IRD to target evaders of the speculation tax. They should target such people for audits including documentary proof of occupancy.

            Furthermore, they should go further and start collecting information on real estate agents and lawyers who appear to be assisting such schemes to evade tax and start targeting them as well for conspiring to evade tax.

            This looks like quite a useful tax gathering area.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    If we had an economic system nobody would own cars as they’re uneconomic, Our farmers wouldn’t be destroying our environment and housing would be available to everybody.

    The ‘free-market’ isn’t an economic system – it’s an excuse to have wealthy people who then screw over the rest of society through that wealth and influence.

    [lprent: What is this comment doing in this post? It seems completely off topic. Use OpenMike rather than dragging a post completely off-topic. ]

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Cars are economic to own in the current cities we live in, which is why so many people own them (one of the highest rates of ownership in the world).

      If we’d had different laws and requirements going back 50 years, then sure the cities would have been developed in less car dependent ways. But now that our cities are built around them, trying to get rid of cars will cause a great upheaval. Part of the problem with peak oil…

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        causing a great upheaval isn’t the same as being economic to keep.

      • maui 2.1.2

        Disagree that they are economic in our current cities, they’re a big waste of consumer money.
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/65246398/Leave-the-car-at-home-and-save-thousands-lobby-group

        • adam 2.1.2.1

          I agree maui, people I know who have sold their cars all have similar refrains after a few months.

          “I have so much more money”

        • Chch_chiquita 2.1.2.2

          I would have loved to leave the car at home, even if the cost of using public transport was the same as using my car. But I need a reliable public transport option that will not take me an hour and a half to get anywhere, and that simply does not exist in Christchurch. After the earthquake I was sure there will be plans for putting in a good rail system that will also offer options for people looking to go out from the city and ease the pressure off the housing market here. But no, that never happened.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        Cars are economic to own in the current cities we live in, which is why so many people own them (one of the highest rates of ownership in the world).

        No they’re not as cars were never economic in the first place which means that our cities, based around everyone having a car as you pointed out, are also uneconomic.

        If we’d had different laws and requirements going back 50 years, then sure the cities would have been developed in less car dependent ways.

        Even with the sprawl that we’ve built up we could have developed our cities around public transport which would have been more economic than what we ended up with.

        Here’s the main point about cars that use fossil fuels: Burning up a scarce resource as if it’s infinite is uneconomic.

        The reason why those scarce resources got burnt up instead of being used economically is because a few people realised that they could get lots of money for selling them and the way to sell lots of the resource is to get lots of people using them in an uneconomic way. In the case here, cars.

        And I’m not even looking at the excessive use of iron to build the cars there.

        • maui 2.1.3.1

          Most suburban homes I know of are really quite close to a bus stop. It is imaginable that we could alter our transport system into one based on a sort of rapid bus transport rather than cars. If you’ve got fast, comfortable new age buses travelling near your home every 10 mins and they’re saving you more than $10,000 a year people would switch.

          • Lanthanide 2.1.3.1.1

            You’re of course, forgetting the cost of such a rapid bus system.

            If you want to put a bus stop on every street, and have buses run every 10 minutes, you’re going to need a very large number of almost-empty busses cruising around, burning up fuel and requiring drivers.

            Which is probably why it’s never been done on a large scale anywhere.

            The ultimate solution is really autonomous on-demand cars that you hire per ride.

            • TheContrarian 2.1.3.1.1.1

              “The ultimate solution is really autonomous on-demand cars that you hire per ride.”

              Yeah but electric rather than petrol. The private motor vehicle has its uses though

            • McFlock 2.1.3.1.1.2

              lol

              The st clair-nev bus in dunedin used to run every ten minutes. Then it was scheduled for every ten minutes but arrived every fifteen. Now it’s scheduled every fifteen and seemed to run every 20, lol, although it’s largely improved back down to fifteen over the last year or so.

              • TheContrarian

                We should invest in a monorail, unless you think it is more of a Shelbyville idea…

              • Lanthanide

                The Orbiter bus in Christchurch runs every 10 minutes. I haven’t used it in years and years, but was usually pretty reliable, except during rush hours (which is of course, when you wanted to actually use it).

                But it didn’t have stops on literally every street in the city.

                • Tracey

                  “except during rush hours”

                  unless you are

                  retired
                  at home parent
                  on disability
                  on sickness
                  tourist
                  student 😉

                  all of the above comes to over 30% of any population. I do get your point but you dismiss a significant percentage of your fellow citizens very easily

                  • Lanthanide

                    I used the bus when I was a student. 4 out of 5 days for 3 years I needed to use the bus during either the morning or afternoon rush hour, or both.

                  • he did say it was reliable outside of peak times so therefore worked well for those categories of people.

                    lath’s mistake was using the collective “you” to complain about the performance during rush hour when he meant “me and other 9-5 workers”

                    Of course you also missed shift workers in your dataset

            • maui 2.1.3.1.1.3

              http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/11/13/were-spending-much-more-on-fuel/
              Consumer spending is in the region of $5-8 billion on fuel costs a year. Take a fraction of that spending each year added with Gov investment and we’re on our way. We already have bus stops servicing most suburbs, not every street, but it’s reasonable and could gradually expand. We already have bus fleets, though not very many electric ones or ultra-fuel efficient buses, which would allay your fear of “burning up fuel”.

              And less spent on fuel by consumers means more to spend on more valuable things in the economy – more economic growth.

              • Lanthanide

                Electric busses still require fuel, it’s just electricity instead of a combustible fossil fuel.

                If you were to replace all of the private cars with electric busses, you would likely have to build more power stations to meet the load. And also charging infrastructure to charge the busses up, adding still more cost overhead on to the whole thing.

                The busses for many people are always going to be less convenient than owning a private car. Many people are happy to pay a price premium for convenience.

                “And less spent on fuel by consumers means more to spend on more valuable things in the economy – more economic growth.”

                Individuals can already choose to use the existing public transportation, or arrange other means of transportation such as car pools, or use their bike, or get a motorbike / scooter. Clearly people choose to own and use private cars because of the convenience and versatility of them compared to the available alternatives, and they’re quite happy to pay for the privilege.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  If you were to replace all of the private cars with electric busses, you would likely have to build more power stations to meet the load. And also charging infrastructure to charge the busses up, adding still more cost overhead on to the whole thing.

                  You mean like all the stuff we built for cars over the last century? Most of which can probably be re-purposed.

                  As for building power generation, well, we’re going to have to do that anyway unless you want us to come to a grinding halt once we can no longer import oil. And, due to the fact that it will have to be renewable generation, that means that those buses and trains won’t be burning fuel.

                  The busses for many people are always going to be less convenient than owning a private car.

                  For the majority of people in the cities I suspect that cars are more inconvenient. Go to and from work every day? Take the same route at the same time? Have the hassles and costs with parking? Guess what, PT is more convenient.

                  There’s some very good reasons that as Auckland’s PT capacity increases it gets used up pretty damned fast.

                  Clearly people choose to own and use private cars because of the convenience and versatility of them compared to the available alternatives, and they’re quite happy to pay for the privilege.

                  I suspect that most people haven’t done a cost/benefit analysis and thus don’t know that they’re paying a price premium. Buying a car is just what you do because everybody buys a car and everybody tells you that you need a car. And it’s a status symbol that’s getting less and less status.

                  And, of course, if everybody used PT it would cost even less per person.

                • maui

                  A few thousand electric buses isn’t going to be as much strain on the power grid as a million or so electric private vehicles in the country. Either way our transport infrastructure has to become fully electric soon if we are to face up to climate change. I wonder which method involves using the least natural resources and carbon emissions.

                  It requires a change in behaviour for sure and authorities to make the alternative as attractive as possible (which hasn’t happened), rather than making driving the most attractive. Vehicle use is subsidised in so many ways. From the billions spent by NZTA on motorways to our planning laws that require certain no. of carparks for developments. But if it became ingrained in people that using the car was costing them so much compared to public transport and was killing the planet, you could see people shift. Especially if the Government put as much effort into it as they have done into the likes of cracking down on smoking.

    • McFlock 2.2

      And all our clothes would be mass-produced utilitarian overalls with only those variations that are absolutely necessary, as that would be the most efficient way to clothe the population.

      Bit fucking boring, though.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        You will welcome our efficient non-market-based communist overlords. They only ever act in your best interests (even if you’re too short-sighted to see it) and will deliver utopia.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1

          Interestingly enough, I didn’t use the word ‘efficient’ anywhere but it was ‘efficiency’ that was what the major selling point of the free-market reforms from the 4th Labour government onwards.

          This ‘efficiency’ has brought about the uneconomically long jeans I have and the fact that everyone wears pretty much the same stuff no matter where in the world you go.

          • McFlock 2.2.1.1.1

            So “economic” has nothing to do with the efficent use of scarce resources? Good to know.

            And speak for yourself “everyone wears pretty much the same stuff”. Some of us are peacocks, you know 😛

            BTW, lab4 lied.

            • TheContrarian 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Long jeans are uneconomical McFlock. Yes sir, that’s a fact.

              • McFlock

                In people’s republic, everyone wears buttcheek-showing cutoffs.

                This could help recruitment – until I join the revolution, anyway 🙂

              • Draco T Bastard

                You’re the one who said it, not me.

                • TheContrarian

                  Sorry I figured the way you said “uneconomically long jeans” I assumed you meant long jeans were uneconomical…because you know, that’s what you said.

                  Did you actually mean something else?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Really? You should probably learn to read because what I actually said was:

                    the uneconomically long jeans I have

                    As in my jeans are 4″ too fucken long and there’s not a damned thing I can do about it because the idiot manufacturers have decided that it’s cheaper to throw away 8″ of jeans leg than to produce shorter jeans as they used to.

                    The entire structure of the paragraph said the complete opposite of what you stupidly assumed so, yeah, you should learn to read.

                    • McFlock

                      So they’re more economical to be to long for you?

                    • TheContrarian

                      This is getting more mind boggling by the second.

                      Have you though about visiting a different store?
                      When I need jeans I generally shop around a bit and after visiting a couple of shops I am generally able to find a pair that fit properly which, being 6′ 4″ tall, can sometimes be difficult.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      @McFlock

                      So they’re more economical to be to long for you?

                      WTF are you smoking?

                      @TC

                      This is getting more mind boggling by the second.

                      Not really.

                    • Enough is Enough

                      Draco never ceases to amuse but this has to be the greatest thread Draco has ever contributed to.

                      Comedy gold.

                    • McFlock

                      Your jeans are too long because it’s more economical for suppliers to produce generic sizes than bespoke patterns for every single waist/leg combination.

                      I’m in the same boat – all suits seem to be slim fit, never wee-stout-fellow fit.

                      They’re not uneconomically long – they’re more economical to produce that way than the expense of re-patterning and transporting to supply long-tail consumers. Same as for people who have one leg longer than the other, or indeed only one leg. Or is it only you who should have global production expanded so that you’d be able to personally wear something off-the-rack?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Your jeans are too long because it’s more economical for suppliers to produce generic sizes than bespoke patterns for every single waist/leg combination.

                      No it’s not. It’s financially cheaper but less economical because it’s using up more resources and using up more resources to produce the same effect is less economical.

                      As I say, our financial system produces uneconomical results.

                      Or is it only you who should have global production expanded so that you’d be able to personally wear something off-the-rack?

                      Why would you expand production? You’d still produce the same number it’s just that they’d be in short, medium and long to cover the full range of people as they used to.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Once again Draco, have you thought of maybe just, you know, shopping around until you find a pair that fits you properly?

                      I have friends of all sizes and they seem to be able to find a pair that fits. Not everything is the result of our financial system – perhaps you just haven’t found the right shop?

                    • Satiate Me

                      Thanks to the wonders of globalisation and the market, you can have this efficiently, affordable and even economically under your interpretation.

                      Have a dig round tmlewin.co.uk

                    • McFlock

                      No it’s not. It’s financially cheaper but less economical because it’s using up more resources and using up more resources to produce the same effect is less economical.

                      As I say, our financial system produces uneconomical results.

                      Or is it only you who should have global production expanded so that you’d be able to personally wear something off-the-rack?

                      Why would you expand production? You’d still produce the same number it’s just that they’d be in short, medium and long to cover the full range of people as they used to.

                      It uses up more material to make your trousers.
                      It uses less time in manufacturing and development to make trousers of a standard size.
                      It uses less logistic resources to ship and maintain warehouse space for minimal reserves of those standard sizes.
                      It reduces waste to stick to standard sizes when not as many people in your exact size purchase those jeans – bigger market for specific product equals smaller error rate in the supply chain.
                      It requires an increase in production because for your jeans to be in your store the supply chain needs to maintain inventory stocks for a wider variety of sizes.
                      And what about people with one leg shorter than another? Should all stores stock right-leg-longer slim, rll-stubby, and left-leg-longer variants as well?

                      It’s the same reason bras get bespoke after a certain size (e or f, I think): the larger bras require different engineering patterns, so rather than retool the factories the producers stay in the globally-common sizes. Finding larger boob-hammocks is apparently a study in cost and scarcity.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      @lprent

      Well, it wasn’t supposed to be. Anthony specifically mentioned the free-market and the invisible hand:

      See that? It’s the invisible hand of the market giving we the people the invisible finger…

      The free-market is generally considered an economic system and I pointed out that it isn’t as it brings about uneconomic results such as cars, farmers destroying the environment and a shortage of housing. Interestingly enough, it causes an over abundance of that which isn’t really needed (cars) and a shortage of that which is (houses). This is probably due to the fact that cars depreciate while houses appreciate especially when there’s a shortage of them and the banks are willing to continue to create ever more money to be loaned on them.

      Admittedly, the thread then focussed on cars rather than housing…
      These threads – they have a life of their own 😈

      Considering how far it’s wandered it may be worth shifting to OM. Or, perhaps, just delete it. :headdesk:

  3. Ron 3

    New Zealand needs a “Use it or lose it law” in the real estate area. A punitive tax rising each year would soon bring these properties onto the market.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      A land tax that only applies to the cities, and only to unoccupied housing. Not sure how to administer it though.

    • T Chris 3.2

      Does that include baches?

      And houses that have been inherited by siblings deciding what to do with it.

    • vto 3.3

      Yes absolutely. I understand more advanced, civilised and populated peoples than us already have similar requirements in their lands…

      …it is entirely unreasonable that a person can, at their sole discretion, sit on land and do nothing with it when the surrounding community has needs that are not being met ….

      land is not a individual thing, it is a community thing.

      ffs this sort of stuff is Humanity 101.

      • Skinny 3.3.1

        Land banking should have been nipped in the bud decades ago. Rich powerful groups of greedy pricks have held land that should be opened up for development when the wider community requires. As should the rich inner city suburbs residental owners not have too much influence on apartment dwellings by laws so building upwards is not overly problematic.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    Improved squatters’ rights are a great way to fix this.

    • Anno1701 4.1

      +100 to this !

      & add on a “mansion tax” IMO

      I work next to large residential building that could house a fair few people, but it has been left empty by the owner for years now !

    • adam 4.2

      Indeed, we have no squatters rights. Many a big house on the shore would look way better with a real family in it.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1

        They exist, but the requirement for twenty years of continuous exclusive possession is too big a hurdle to affect ghost housing.

        Edit: the point being it’s a lot easier to amend existing legislation than draft whole new bills.

        • adam 4.2.1.1

          I agree on the editing part.

          By no rights, I mean the police have evicted squatters here in Auckland at will, and not at the direction of the property owner.

          So once again we have a law, which is not worth the paper it’s written on…

      • James 4.2.2

        Squatters rights – Mwahahahaha – Love to see Labour take that up as a policy.

        It would be a disaster. Most people (I would believe) would be more inclined to side with the rights of the person who has purchased a house, pays the insurance, pays the loans, pays the rates over someone who just takes over it because they can for free.

        Just look at some of the horror stories from the UK where it is still law.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.2.1

          Why would Labour take up a policy suggested by a Green voter on a blog?

          • adam 4.2.2.1.1

            My goodness One Anonymous Bloke, you have done it – you have taken over the labour party!!!

            How was your turn from Green to the lighter shade of blue?

            Was the metamorphosis as painful as they say?

          • Tracey 4.2.2.1.2

            it must be so because the right only think what their party tells them to think. Ergo, other parties do it too.

        • adam 4.2.2.2

          The overwhelming number of squat’s don’t have the so called property owner paying the insurance, paying the loans, or paying the rates. Hence why they get squatted. But, go on, pull up the usual reactionary drivel. For every bad story there is 100 good ones – it’s why the laws are still in place – as they do a lot more good than harm.

          • James 4.2.2.2.1

            “The overwhelming number of squat’s don’t have the so called property owner paying the insurance, paying the loans, or paying the rates”

            You have any evidence of this?

            • adam 4.2.2.2.1.1

              “pays the insurance, pays the loans, pays the rates over someone who just takes over it because they can for free”

              You have any evidence of this?

              • James

                Do a degree yes,

                If it is secured with a loan if the payments are not made then the house is foreclosed. Thus a lack of foreclosure means that the property is either paid in full, or that the payments have been occurring. (Not an absolute truth but a fair logic)

                Same with the Rates – if they are not paid, then the council can step in (See Penny as an example).

                But regardless – you stated that ““The overwhelming number of squat’s don’t have the so called property owner paying the insurance, paying the loans, or paying the rates”

                So do you have any evidence of this OVERWELMING number – or are you making shit up just to suit your argument?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  For example, according to NZ law, squatters must pay rates on any property they occupy. I gather your information about this is provided by your gut.

                  Do you think your gut could educate itself a little before running your mouth so hard?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.2.3

          As for the horror stories, they exist on both sides of the equation. Perhaps you can explain to me why it’s ok for people to keep empty houses when there are homeless families.

          I’m all for clever investment, and entrepreneurial spirit, and if this is the only way you can make money, fuck your right to make money.

          • Anno1701 4.2.2.3.1

            “I’m all for clever investment, and entrepreneurial spirit, and if this is the only way you can make money, fuck your right to make money.”

            +100 to this !

            dealing in slaves use to be a profitable investment back in the day as well….

          • James 4.2.2.3.2

            “Perhaps you can explain to me why it’s ok for people to keep empty houses when there are homeless families.”

            Because someone owns them. Its their property, and they should have the right to do with it whatever they like.

            “fuck your right to make money” – Typical argument of hate.

            • You_Fool 4.2.2.3.2.1

              This is where we get into the rights of the individual vs the rights of society

              We have an issue and a way to solve it, but it tramples on a few’s right to flip the bird to the rest of society, what is the righteous thing to do? What would baby jesus do?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.2.3.2.2

              Owning multiple empty family homes for unearned capital gains while there are homeless families is fairly hateful behaviour, if you ask me.

              That’s why squatters’ rights were established in the first place – the powers that be agree with me.

              Edit: oh, and by the way, your failure to quote my remark in its entirety is called “lying by omission”. In this case in such a way as to entirely distort the sentiment being expressed.

              I feel sad for you that your beliefs are so feeble this is the only way you can defend them.

            • Tracey 4.2.2.3.2.3

              You a big supporter of Maori treaty claims James?

            • Colonial Rawshark 4.2.2.3.2.4

              “fuck your right to make money” – Typical argument of hate.

              When one says “fuck the slave overseers and the robber barons” it is not an act of hate; indeed it is very much an act of love – for they know not the damage that they do to both themselves, to others and to the world via their unparalleled craven greed and avarice; stopping them peacefully and non-violently is an act of love upon all – including themselves.

            • Tracey 4.2.2.3.2.5

              echo, echo, echoooooo

        • McFlock 4.2.2.4

          “Horror stories”?
          Not many people would have too much sympathy for someone who loses a house because they failed to notice that someone had been living in it for 20 years.
          Seriously. Even if you were in a coma someone would have power of attorney to monitor your affairs. How much shit do you need to have to forget you own an entire building?

        • joe90 4.2.2.5

          Just look at some of the horror stories from the UK where it is still law.

          Just look at some of the horror stories from the UK where it is still law illegal.

          fify
          /

          http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/03/death-homeless-man-blamed-anti-squatting-laws

  5. Charles 5

    Quick! Pass some anti-squatting laws, my empty houses… my beautiful empty houses …besmirched by the hoi polloi…oh i just can’t bear the thought!

    Later in The Herald that day….

    John Key announced Anti-squatting legislation today to address the growing poverty of poor homeless vulnerable homeless poor homeless poor people in NZ that grew under the last Labour government.
    “People are living five to a ten room villa, in Mt. Albert squats” he said. “No leather furniture, no housemaids. This government will not stand by while NZ poor live in substandard conditions. Surely the street, or prison, would be better than that.”

    • Kiwiri 5.1

      Or the hospital would be an excellent place so long as the number of beds aren’t shrinking, and there is also the grand luxury of being served by low-paid staff reheating frozen food.

  6. Kevin 6

    And lets not forget the thousands of fully serviced land-banked sections waiting to be built on.

    There was an article in the Herald about this just before Christmas but have had no luck in finding it again.

  7. Molly 7

    In 2011, George Clarke presented a series titled “The Great British Property Scandal”.

    As Britain seems to be the precursor for the stupidity policies that are being enacted, it is worthwhile to have a watch if you can find it online.

    The series coordinated with a social media campaign, a brief video can be found on this site.

    Many councils allowed maintenance and upgrades to slide, and properties slowly became uninhabitable. That led to whole streets being boarded up, and neighbourhoods being abandoned. Eventually, the council would decide that the cost of owning these empty neighbourhoods was too onerous, and they would onsell to developers who would then demolish those homes and rebuild. Sound familiar?

    The approach of the different presenters and different perspectives are worth looking at. There are streets in Mayfair that are privately owned by overseas investors, who never visit but use the property as an investment tool, so the “ghost” houses are across the economic spectrum.

    • Kiwiri 7.1

      Couldn’t find the brief video on that website.

      Found these on You Tube:

      2’21” clip:

      Summary clip that is 6’20”:

      • Kiwiri 7.1.1

        Thanks, Molly.

        Umm, I didn’t intend for the You Tube links to be transformed into those huge windows. Moderators: feel free to do something about that if you don’t wish them to be so in-the-face.

        [They are fine – MS]

        • Molly 7.1.1.1

          Thanks Kiwiri. (You had to click in the middle of the app to get the Youtube video, but you have provided the link to that directly anyway…)

  8. DH 8

    This doesn’t make a lot of sense. Typical speculators wouldn’t leave houses empty for extended periods, they couldn’t afford to.

    Property is only hugely profitable when you leverage; borrow money. But borrowed money has an interest bill to pay (which with property is normally paid by rents) Then there’s council rates, maintenance, insurance etc. What bank would lend money to a speculator without any rental income? What speculator would give up rental income?

    You’d really need to pay cash for a property to be able to sit on it for the long haul and I doubt many people with the readies would put their own dosh into speculative property ventures. You’d be giving up the income from your money, and incurring further expenses, to make not a great deal more.

    There may well be land banking but I’d think it merits investigating as to what exactly is the real situation. Some money laundering going on perhaps?.

    • Not if you are a member of the Chinese elite and you can print money out of thin air.

      • DH 8.1.1

        “Not if you are a member of the Chinese elite and you can print money out of thin air.”

        There’s also tax. You only avoid capital gains tax if you’re classed as an investor and for that you need to be in it for the rental income. Buy a house, leave it empty, and sell for a profit a few years down the track… you’d be liable for a hefty tax bill

        I can understand speculating on tracts of empty land but not actual dwellings.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1

          Tax is paid on the capital gain – which is effectively unearned income – why would tax be a deterrent?

          • DH 8.1.1.1.1

            “why would tax be a deterrent?”

            are you serious? If you’re a speculator you’re in it for the profit. Tax would take 20-30% of it. What kind of capitalist pig would willingly give up that kind of money when they didn’t need to?

            • Tracey 8.1.1.1.1.1

              20-30 % of your profit still leaves you with 70-80% of your profit.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1.1.2

              “…are you serious?”

              No, and I’m in august company in my silliness.

              I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain.

              Warren E. Buffett.

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.2

          What bank would lend money to a speculator without any rental income? What speculator would give up rental income?

          The bank looks at the borrower and whether or not the borrower can make repayments on an interest only mortgage. If the answer is “yes” then, no problem.

      • Anno1701 8.1.2

        Or you have bought the property and are currently banged up in a Chinese jail for corruption ?

        Rumor has it this is the case with the building near my work

    • Not if you are a member of the Chinese elite and can print money out of thin air.

    • You are assuming that the investors are smart or rational. Evidence suggests they are neither…

      • DH 8.3.1

        “You are assuming that the investors are smart or rational. Evidence suggests they are neither…”

        I suspect that’s more wishful thinking than truth. Some seem more cunning than smart but it would be unwise to label them stupid.

        From what I’ve seen it’s the inexperienced, the hungry & cash-poor, who tend to behave in what seems an irrational manner. But that’s more because they’re desperately trying to grab a piece of the action and the established players aren’t making it easy for anyone. Land banking isn’t for the amateurs, you need serious money behind you to do that.

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.3.1.1

          In general terms Keynes figured it out decades ago. Most professional investment managers and brokers put their money where everyone else does, for career reasons. So it is a herd mentality. Nothing cunning about it at all.

          Of course, the very smart money, the so-called ‘1% of the 1%’ have been unloading over-priced assets for a long time before hand and by the time the actual crash comes, they have nothing to do but re-buy all those assets at rock bottom prices.

        • You_Fool 8.3.1.2

          you are the one saying that no investor would leave a house intentionally vacant, but there are houses where that is happening (empirical evidence is a wonderful thing) which would suggest that said investors are neither smart nor rational (a condition which the whole of humanity suffers) or else they would be doing as you say to avoid taxes and gaining an income on their investment.

          • DH 8.3.1.2.1

            No. I said it didn’t make sense to leave a property vacant for simple capital gain. The implication there is that many properties are vacant for other reasons. What those reasons are I could only speculate. Possibly some are tax avoidance, GST scams, money laundering…. who knows?

            • Tracey 8.3.1.2.1.1

              With your property value increasing by 10+% a year isn’t that enough reason? In Auckland, for some times, house values have been effectively doubling in value every ten years….

              If you buy a million dollar home with an average interest rate of 5.5% and in ten years your property sells for $2m.. are you ahead or behind in the game?

              IF you paid cash…

              then it makes sense, doesn’t it?

    • Tracey 8.4

      they are sitting on the capital gain. Tenants equal work/time/effort from an owner directly or through a management company. I won’t underestimate the number of foreign cash buyers.

  9. linda 9

    Marx said said capitalism would destroy itself its coming true

    • indiana 9.1

      How many years has it been since he said that?

      • McFlock 9.1.1

        Less time than since Adam Smith predicted the free market would be an efficient means of distribution.

      • The lost sheep 9.1.2

        And look how Marxism has flourished during that time….

        • Clean_power 9.1.2.1

          What do you mean? Hasn’t egalitarian Marxism conquered the world yet? Ooooops.

        • Tracey 9.1.2.2

          are you saying that some principles of marxzism don’t exist in any government in any nation on the planet?

          to my observation most western governments are a mix of socialism and capitalism

          • The lost sheep 9.1.2.2.1

            Most Western Governments would happily identify with elements of Socialism, but hardly any would identify with specifically Marxist principles?

            And most Socialist Governments that do reference Marxist principles would also happily identify Capitalist elements in their systems.

            But as far as the relative success of Marxism to Capitalism goes, lets just agree that Marx would be a bit gutted at the relative success rates of the 2 systems in the period since he proposed his theories.

            • Tracey 9.1.2.2.1.1

              it’s a ridiculous argument by both sides. We have neither a pure capitalist or pure socialist system of government, nor does anyone (including Chhia). ALL are a mixture.

              Marx would be disappointed I am sure at how little some things have progressed but even if his pure principles aren’t there some of his ideas exist.

              He could find some vindication from such things as

              State Housing
              Welfare payments
              ACC
              Free education
              Healthcare
              and the perpetual claim that new zealand is egalitarian and classless

              none of which existed in the west in his lifetime but are tenets of what he was after.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.2.2.1.2

              So we can measure this success how?

              How about we measure it by having a look at which countries achieve good or better outcomes across a range of social and economic indicators?

              Then we can look at their policy settings for Pinko influences.

            • McFlock 9.1.2.2.1.3

              splitting hairs between “marxism” and “socialism”, much?

              And Marx wouldn’t be gutted. That’s actually one of the things I dislike about his writings: he gave no timeline, and then gave himself an out in that any revolution that doesn’t achieve communism was merely a transitional stage towards communism, rather than an example of communism failing. I’ve never been a fan of historical determinism anyway, it smacks too much of “just because!”. Hegelian shit makes me feel like I’ve sat through Star Wars Episode II again: bored, depressed, unfulfilled, and with the slight feeling that someone just took a dump on my face.

              However, Marx did describe and document many of the vast number of failings of capitalism left to itself. For that (at the very least), humanity will be eternally indebted to him.

              • Tracey

                Marx talks about a state of affairs which leads to socialism and then to communism, so this notion that Marxism is not the same as socialism is a red herring or a sign that Lost Sheep isn’t quite as clever as he/she wants to portray.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.2.3

          Look how it has flourished?

          For example, by providing critical analysis of a range of economic and social phenomena. As a philosophical lens through which to view the world – best applied consciously.

          And then of course there are the policy triumphs – like state housing and universal healthcare, income assistance programs, free education.

          I expect you’re still feebly waving your tattered “pure Capitalism exists” bunting, despite being unable to answer Chomsky’s challenge to “show me some”.

          Baaaa.

          • The lost sheep 9.1.2.3.1

            You too seem to be under the impression that Marxism and Socialism are the same thing OAB?

            The comments above are specifically in reference to the quote re. Marx’s premature prediction of the death of Capitalism.

            • Tracey 9.1.2.3.1.1

              not the same but have similarities. So, he was wrong, it isn’t dead but nor is a single country governed according to pure cpaitalism… so maybe he was kind of right afterall.

              Complicated by there not being a single marxist theory as such

              • The lost sheep

                Yes Marx was a believer in Socialism, but far from all Socialist’s are believers in Marx!
                Wars have been fought over the difference.

                But the most significant of Marxist premises was that Capitalism would inevitably produce conditions that would make a Proletarian revolution inevitable, and a Socialist state would be the only possible outcome….

                As predictions go, 150 years later I’m betting very few of us would be willing to put our life savings on it?

                • McFlock

                  Is the distinction important enough in regards to a thread on auckland housing?

                  And do you believe that Marx created a model of 5000-odd years of human social progression and expected it to reach a stable culmination within a few decades of his writing it down? Got a link to support that belief?

                  • The lost sheep

                    I link to our understanding of the previous 5000 / 500,000 years of Human history, and the observable current state of Human society.

                    To me all the evidence strongly points to us continually moving away from highly unified and controlled co-operative societies, towards diffuse societies that encompass as many individual threads as possible.

                    And yes, that is very relevant not just to Auckland housing, but to most of the other issues discussed at TS?

                    • McFlock

                      Right, so you basically took a specific request for evidence that marx had a comparatively tight timeline for his prediction and turned it into some pile of bullshit.

                      And no, the fine distinction between marxism and non-marxist socialism is not especially relevant.

                      Fuck off, moran.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      To me all the evidence strongly points to us continually moving away from highly unified and controlled co-operative societies, towards diffuse societies that encompass as many individual threads as possible.

                      So, what you’re saying is that you think we’re moving towards communism?

                      See, I’d have to disagree with that as I see a lot of self-help books, and get rich books, and courses on how to become a success and amazingly enough they all teach you to be exactly the same as the rich prick. This increasing conformity is, IMO, a direct result of capitalism.

                    • The lost sheep

                      “Fuck off moron”

                      Intelligent stuff McFlock. I’m crushed.

                    • The lost sheep

                      So, what you’re saying is that you think we’re moving towards communism?

                      Not by any definition of a Communist society that I am aware of?

                    • McFlock

                      Intelligent stuff McFlock. I’m crushed.

                      No, it wasn’t intelligent. But then neither was responding to a request for a source about when marx expected his prediction to come true with “I link to our understanding of the previous 5000 / 500,000 years of Human history, and the observable current state of Human society”.

                      That’s when I realised you were simply stroking your own cock rather than reading what people write. So fuck off.

                    • Mike S

                      “To me all the evidence strongly points to us continually moving away from highly unified and controlled co-operative societies,”

                      Are you serious?!

                      OK, I’ll admit you could say yes to the co-operative bit but we’re already in highly unified and controlled societies and rapidly moving to highly unified and very highly controlled societies.

                    • The lost sheep

                      we’re already in highly unified and controlled societies and rapidly moving to highly unified and very highly controlled societies.

                      Compared to what past societies?

                      By my reading of history, a contemporary Developed World individuals ability to think, act, innovate, create, and express in ways outside a ‘societal norm’ is absolutely astonishing in comparison to any situation in the past…..

                    • McFlock

                      If your reading of history is anything like your reading of other people’s comments, you might want to read it again.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Tracey.
                      I have never said that we live in a ‘pure’ Capitalist society?
                      I agree completely that we have a hybrid, and I have pointed out that the ability to absorb and adapt to various influences is a great strength of a Capitalist based system.

                      Especially when that is compared to the well known failure of systems based on rigid and dogmatic academic theories that do not account for the realities of Human Society.

                    • The lost sheep

                      If your reading of history is anything like your reading of other people’s comments, you might want to read it again.

                      Really McFlock?
                      Give me some references that disprove the assertions I have made about history?

                    • McFlock

                      Only if you can demonstrate how a specific assertion you have made about human history is relevant to the auckland housing crisis.

                    • The lost sheep

                      It is relevant because the answer to the Auckland housing problem does not lie in dreams of Marxist Revolution or any other totally implausible intervention.

                      Now you can tell me I have not answered you correctly, and that is why you will not be backing up your claim I am ignorant of history with some concrete evidence….

                      And I’ll tactfully not make an issue of your evasion.

                    • McFlock

                      thin, but ok.
                      Which claim would you like me to call you a moron about?

                    • The lost sheep

                      Any of the claims I made that prompted you to say I needed to go back and read history again?

                    • McFlock

                      By my reading of history, a contemporary Developed World individuals ability to think, act, innovate, create, and express in ways outside a ‘societal norm’ is absolutely astonishing in comparison to any situation in the past…..

                      Not when you compare it with the ability of individuals in a similarly privileged position in their society – Buddha, or Omar Khayyam, for example. But if you’re building the iphones that enable the privileged to tweet, you’re not so free. Nor if your expression annoys the local lord. Or if you’re driving a car while black in the USA – or even at a pool party.

                    • The lost sheep

                      You need to compare Buddha and Omar Khayyam with modern Black teenagers driving cars to a pool party in order to suggest parity McFlock?

                      What about comparing like with like?
                      How did the Proletariat’s freedom and wealth in those past times compare with the average working class person in a modern economy today?

                    • McFlock

                      Indeed, how about comparing like with like.

                      Even if you refuse to admit that in the global economy we outsource much of our serfdom, you missed the bit about arrest for peaceful expression of political opinion and also you seem to be confusing “working class proletariat” with “middle class bourgoise”. Because you know shit about marx.

                      Intellectually you’re trying to wear a jumbo-size condom when you have a panda-proportioned dick.

                • Tracey

                  Marx talks about a state of affairs which leads to socialism and then to communism, so this notion that Marxism is not the same as socialism is a red herring or a sign that you don’t quite understand the relationship between Marx theory and socialism.

                  • The lost sheep

                    There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them
                    Wikipedia.

                    Marxist Socialism is a specific form which many adherents to other forms of Socialism reject, so it is invalid to suggest that we can discuss them as if they are synonymous.

                    You define one of the essential differences yourself.
                    Marxists do not see Socialism as an enduring state. They see it as a transition phase leading to Communism.

                    Do all Socialists agree with that?

                    • McFlock

                      lol

                      So according to marxist-communists, we are in one of the phases between capitalism and communism.

                      Socialism.

                      Which is all that http://thestandard.org.nz/ghost-houses-and-the-invisible-hand/#comment-1030906“>OAB said in the first place – that socialist advances have been made.
                      So Marx has a few runs on the board, at any rate.
                      Fuck off, moran.

                    • Tracey

                      I haven’t said “Marxism” and “socialism” is the same. I have said you are creating a red herring.

                      Others may have turned what Marx postulated/theorised into an “ism” but in essence he stated as I wrote above.

                    • Tracey

                      Do you consider that unrest begins before the stones shatter the shop windows or just at the point the glass shatters?

                    • The lost sheep

                      That’s my point Tracey.
                      Marx predicted Capitalism must follow a path of increased impoverishment and enslavery of the Proletariat, leading to an inevitable breaking of the glass.

                      He was wrong.
                      Marx failed to predict how flexible Democratic Capitalism would prove, and the massive gains in wealth and mobility it would bring the ‘masses’.

                      He would be astonished to find that 160 years of Capitalism later the workers are too busy basking in front of the flat screen watching Dine With Me NZ to go out and loot shop windows.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Meanwhile, on Earth, the IMF disagrees with you.

                    • The lost sheep

                      The IMF has been commenting on Marx’s predictions OAB?

                    • Tracey

                      “how flexible Democratic Capitalism”

                      by flexible you mean adopting socialism and becoming a socialist/capitalist hybrid which means that he is correct, cos pure capitalism doesn’t exist.

                      Can you tell me by what date he stated capitalism would die Lost Sheep?

                      The glass has broken many times since he wrote that… most recently during G7, 8 and 20 “meetings”. Occupy Wallstreet and so on…

                      I think you put too many words into Marx’s mouth. At the very least you could credit him for making the term capitalist popular 😉

                      Capitalist is the owner of capital. What percentage of the population own some capital? In NZ arguably fewer today than in 1970

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      What McFlock said.

                      After 160 years of a mix of Socialism and Capitalism, the IMF is warning that some societies have allowed a lunatic fringe to dictate economic policy instead, and that is creating massive inequality and poverty.

                      That’s what’s happening on Earth.

                    • The lost sheep

                      So neither Tracey or OAB would accept that the average wealth of the Proletariat has increased enormously since Marx’s time?

                      Wouldn’t say that class structures and barriers to mobility have broken down greatly since Marx’s time?

                      Wouldn’t think that individual freedoms and rights of all members of society have been vastly strengthened since Marx’s time?

                      But you would think that the level of discontent in contemporary Capitalist societies equates to the thresholds of discontent that Marx observed during his lifetime and based his theories on?

                      And you wouldn’t think that the failure of ‘ Occupy’ to gather the support of even 1% of the population was an indication of how far we are from the demise of capitalism in the manner that Marx predicted?

                    • McFlock

                      Given that marx predicted ongoing swings between socialism and capitalism as the proletariat and the capitalist classes struggle for influence before the final transition to a communist state, everything you mentioned was predicted by marx.

                      And you still haven’t provided any evidence for whether marx was making is prediction for the final synthesis within decades of his writing, centuries, or millenia, or even whether he provided a timeframe at all.

                      You pretend to look and act like an intellectual equivalent of a v8 muscle car, but you’re only running on two cylinders.

                    • Tracey

                      and you think we live in a pure capitalists system. Which we don’t. So Marx was right when he said capitalism would die… cos it is only “alive” as a hybrid.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I’m just a fucking moron as you say McFlock, but I know Marx well enough to confirm that he predicted an inevitable progression towards class conflict and Social Revolution.
                      That does strongly imply we should be able to observe such a progression since 1850 odd?

                      But I know the history of the last 160 years well enough to know that Marx utterly failed to predict that what we would actually observe looking back to his time is that Capitalist Societies would have actually progressed in the opposite direction.

                      I know the contemporary world well enough to know that: the threshold for Marx’s predicted revolution does not even remotely exist; It would be unnecessary anyway as we have democratic structures that allow change without conflict; There is almost zero support among the masses for a Communist type society.

                      And I know logic well enough to assert that none of you would be willing to wager your Auckland Housing Capital Assets on a Marxist Revolution anytime soon!
                      But i’d be quite happy to put up mine on a wager to the contrary…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      So neither Tracey or OAB would accept that…

                      So, I provide some examples of how Marxism has flourished, and then you get to put words in my mouth. If that’s how this works I want to know when you are going to stop fucking your pet goat, goatfucker.

                      Capitalist societies.

                      No, goatfucker, mixed economies. We’ve been through this already are you a goldfish as well as a goatfucker?

                    • Tracey

                      Lost Sheep

                      What percentage of the world population own some capital? In NZ arguably fewer today than in 1970?

                    • McFlock

                      I’m just a fucking moron as you say McFlock, but I know Marx well enough to confirm that he predicted an inevitable progression towards class conflict and Social Revolution.
                      That does strongly imply we should be able to observe such a progression since 1850 odd?

                      Aaaaaand that progression includes various forms of socialism, which we’ve seen, which is what OAB said in the first place before you started your pretentious philoso-wank.

                      But I know the history of the last 160 years well enough to know that Marx utterly failed to predict that what we would actually observe looking back to his time is that Capitalist Societies would have actually progressed in the opposite direction.

                      Only if the benefits to the working classes in the last 150years were the result of the ruling elite singing koombaya and giving everyone daisies. hint: nope. Organised groups representing labour and the disenfranchised fighting for power were responsible.

                      I know the contemporary world well enough to know that: the threshold for Marx’s predicted revolution does not even remotely exist; It would be unnecessary anyway as we have democratic structures that allow change without conflict; There is almost zero support among the masses for a Communist type society.

                      Even if this entire paragraph were true (it’s not, marx allowed for the possibility of bloodless revolutions on the will of the populace, and viewed limited popular representation as being a tactical withdrawal of the elite into a stronger defensive position to maintain the deeper power structures ofthe system) it’s still irrelevant because marx never pinned down a timeframe for you to bet against. He simply said that, inevitably, humanity would end up in a communist society.

                      So just fuck off. You don’t want to talk about the comments that you ostensibly reply to, and you know nothing of any note concerning what you do want to talk about.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.2.3.1.2

              Isn’t that what Piketty’s been banging on about?

              In any case, you still haven’t actually shown me some. Capitalism, that is. I suggest you follow up the Chomsky reference.

              • The lost sheep

                As i have never made any statements expressing a belief in a so called ‘pure’ form of Capitalism OAB, I hardly need waste my time arguing about the concept!

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  …we’re very far from a capitalist economy and have never been one — it’s a state capitalist economy with substantial state intervention that, in many respects from basic research and development to manipulating interest rates to determining the laws that administer regulations that permit CEOs to pick their own boards and hence to enhance their salaries, and thousands of other ways…

                  NC.

                  Capitalism is far more diluted and distorted by the behaviour of alleged Capitalists than it ever will be by Socialism.

            • Tracey 9.1.2.3.1.3

              “Capitalism (according to Marxist theory) can no longer sustain the living standards of the population due to its need to compensate for falling rates of profit by driving down wages, cutting social benefits and pursuing military aggression.”

              wikipedia

              Sounds like a description of the National Party vision for NZ though, doesn’t it. 😉

              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10718419
              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10876513
              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11407112

        • tricledrown 9.1.2.4

          Marxism is a lot closer to Adam smiths homespun old wives tales last sheep.
          marxism is socialism has been a great success world wide .
          Fundamentalist forms of Capitalism mainly Fascism and Socialism Communism have had the same outcome Totalitarian dictator states.
          The most successful economies run balanced economies a bit of Socialism mixed with Free market.
          So funny sheep Shager.
          Show me a successful pure Capitalist country it Doesn’t exist although Communist China comes close.
          Fundamentalist f/wits ignore facts to push their propaganda following their blinkered ideology like lost sheep.
          obviously you didn’t take advantage of your free Education.

  10. Colonial Rawshark 10

    1) the population growth of Auckland needs to be actively discouraged – the regions are crying out for population and economic activity.

    2) Steps must be taken to make it definitive that houses are not viable short term financial assets.

    Do Labour have policies near any of these issues.

    • Kiwiri 10.1

      + 4,471,000

      Come on, Labour. Come up with a visionary new policy package for Auckland and regional economic and community development. Please do it. Many in the country are crying out for it. This is now the time to revive the Labour Party and make it the truly noble and caring political party for the next century.

      • Colonial Rawshark 10.1.1

        By the way, appealing to the better nature of the Labour Party juggernaut is an exercise in futility; you have to apply pressure to force them to listen up.

        You can also see the failed state of our politics. No one is willing to discuss, let alone address, the root causes of what is happening up in the Auckland housing market. We are left operating on the superficial level of symptoms management and suppressing the pain.

        • Kiwiri 10.1.1.1

          How true. Wise words.

          Some of us will have to think how to apply pressure. Or appeal to some of their careerist nature and motivation.

        • Kiwiri 10.1.1.2

          Oh, I must give further thought and revise my comment at 10.1.

          In the past two elections, I have observed it would be very difficult, if actually impossible, to appeal to the ‘better’ natures of several Labour MPs.

        • Old Mickey 10.1.1.3

          Well said CR. Diversity of thought is not welcome in the hallowed committees that make the decisions in the labour party.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.3.1

            What are you talking about? What is the point of a committee if everyone on it speaks with one voice?

            If your mission in life to leave people in no doubt that you are entirely ignorant of the topics upon which you pontificate, well done.

    • Lanthanide 10.2

      Central government should institute regional minimum wages. Probably only Auckland and Christchurch would need to rise from where they are.

      Then allow all other regions to set their minimum wages, but they can’t set them lower than the national one (and when the national one goes up, all regional ones must stay above the national minimum).

      After all, earning minimum wage in Auckland is quite different from earning minimum wage in Gore.

      Minimum wage for Auckland should probably be something like $17-18/hour. If business scream about it being too expensive to operate in Auckland at those rates, there is a very obvious solution – move to the regions.

      This would be a step towards getting more people involved in local government as well. At the moment local government is largely in control of ‘boring’ and ‘invisible’ things like consenting and infrastructure. But if they have control of a policy that hits the back pocket, both business owners and employees are more likely to be involved in the local government elections.

  11. Michael 11

    This topic does appear to me to be an exercise in merely tilting at windmills, more indicative of a blatant lack of understanding and world view projections than anything based upon facts.
    Now John Polkinghorne of the Auckland Transport Blog has already looked into this last month: http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/05/28/are-vacant-homes-adding-to-aucklands-housing-shortage/
    To quote his final paragraph ‘At a city-wide level, though, I don’t think there’s much we can take out of this. I think it’s a myth that there are large numbers of people leaving homes vacant for speculative reasons, and I think the data in this post goes a long way to busting it. I also don’t see support for my original hypothesis that low vacancies in Auckland suggest a housing shortage. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a shortage, but the vacancy data doesn’t really tell us. Of course, since the census we’ve had two years of strong population growth and not built enough homes for all the new Aucklanders…’

    • Anne 11.1

      North Shore – Belmont area.

      Next door house. Sold to Honk Kong businessmen. Sat empty for 18 months. Now rented at around $1000 per week.

      House two doors away – modern and large. Been on market twice in past nine months and now on market again. In that time no-one has lived in it.

      500 metres away (as crow flies) State Houses (some 10 to 12 of them) – in mint condition – sat empty for 5 years. Some are now inhabited but whether they’re tenants or people who have bought the properties off Housing NZ I don’t know.

      Multiply that for the whole country and it represents a shocking scenario.

      • Michael 11.1.1

        Yes, there are always exceptions but there does not, per the data at hand, an apparent change in behaviour under way in general.

      • Tracey 11.1.2

        wow… that is some data blip if not representative

      • Karen 11.1.3

        The most shocking bit here is the empty state houses.IMO there is no good reason for state houses to be left empty when so many people are homeless or live in overcrowded houses.
        The government always uses the excuse that they are in the wrong area, but Belmont is a great area. The other reason given is they are the wrong size, but this doesn’t make sense either as there are so many people living in garages, sheds, caravans etc. Whatever the size it would be better that that, and anyway, it is very easy to add a room to an existing house.

        What the government is really doing is divesting itself of responsibility for ensuring everybody has access to decent housing.

        • Anne 11.1.3.1

          Yes, and it included several of those larger 2 unit/2 storey state buildings that were refurbished inside and outside. They also stood empty for up to two years before tenants moved in.

          • Karen 11.1.3.1.1

            If they are still empty maybe it is worth contacting media and/or Phil Twyford.

            • Anne 11.1.3.1.1.1

              No, they appear to be tenanted now but my question was/is why did it take so long to tenant them? They were in a rather dilapidated state for some 2-3 years before they even started to work on them.

              Btw, the empty houses occurred AFTER the Nats came to power… for the benefit of John Key who has just accused Labour in the House of “doing nothing for state house tenants during nine long years in government.”

        • Tracey 11.1.3.2

          The recent example of the state house removed for sale so a garage dwelling family can have a home is an example of government policy that sees humans as economic units.

          In this way there is no downside (in their minds) to the time it takes to market and sell the house, complete settlement, receive the funds, upgrade or build another home and install the garage dwelling family in the home.

    • Tracey 11.2

      Love the auckland transport blog. One of my faves

  12. linda 12

    e elite in china have shipping there money out china for while this could be one of side effects i remember reading artical from America the same thing was happening

    • indiana 12.1

      You do realise that there are some pretty stringent laws in China to prevent this, but yet some how people look to find ways to circumnavigate these laws. Simple law for NZ should be – foreign purchaser must build new house in outer suburb and real estate agents held accountable for not completing their due diligence on the purchaser. Not that any of this will curb the cost of housing…

  13. Kiwiri 13

    Hmm, I can understand now why George Clarke embarked on his project and public campaign, armed with apps and online publicity, in the UK a few years ago.

    Looks like we have the same housing dis-ease in Auckland at the mo.

  14. Tracey 14

    China

    Foreigners can buy property but not the land it sits on, or anything under the land in China

    UK

    “The British government is acting to close a long-standing loophole in its tax code: In April, for the first time, U.K. homeowners from overseas will need to pay capital-gains tax when they sell their property.

    The move means the taxman will collect up to 28% of the profit earned on a property at the point of sale—the same tax that British home sellers pay.

    The charge is not retroactive and will only apply to the price differential between an official valuation for the property for April and its eventual sale price.

    The new capital-gains tax comes on the heels of an overall increase in stamp duty introduced last year that has increased buying costs for properties priced at £1 million (about $1.526 million) or more.”
    https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCkQFjACahUKEwjsruaz7pLGAhVFlKYKHTMDAM0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wsj.com%2Farticles%2Fu-k-closes-a-tax-gap-for-foreign-owners-1423760946&ei=CmF_VeyBG8WomgWzhoDoDA&usg=AFQjCNFbttYH_FTksANGpV6eWTDI0eCnww

    USA

    “Foreign non-resident real estate owners have two taxation options. One of them is to have the property taxed as Effectively Connected Income (ECI) of a U.S. trade or business. Income from real estate that is “effectively connected” with a U.S. trade or business is taxed to the owner of the real estate at the same rates that apply to U.S. individuals and corporations. In addition, the owner can claim deductions that arise from the operation of the property.[citation needed]
    A second option is to have the property treated as an investment property and subject to a flat 30% tax. Most income received by foreign persons from U.S. investments, including, rent, is taxed at a flat 30%, and the foreign person is permitted no deductions related to the operations of the property. That means that if there is a mortgage on the property, the interest payments are not deductible. However, many countries have entered into income tax treaties with the U.S. reducing the 30% rate to a lesser amount.[citation needed]
    Estate tax[edit]
    All U.S. real estate (and other assets) owned by non-resident aliens (and others) are subject to an estate tax. This tax is usually at about 35% of the total value of all assets (world-wide assets for U.S. persons, and U.S. assets for non-resident aliens) at their time of death. However, U.S. citizens and residents are permitted a $5 million exclusion from estate taxes. Non-resident aliens are allowed a $60,000 exclusion (prior planning may change the exclusion level to that of a citizen/resident).[4]”

    https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAAahUKEwibuavV7pLGAhWLnbwKHTzxALY&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FForeign_investment_in_the_United_States_real_estate&ei=UGF_VZvRL4u78gW84oOwCw&usg=AFQjCNHy4Hjp-Z_fLMrHOtb13tkshY99mw

    Australia

    “Coalition announces package of measures for foreign buyers, including new fees, lower review thresholds, increased penalties and more enforcement.

    The package announced by the government on Saturday also includes a range of new fees for all foreign acquisition applications and new lower review thresholds for foreign purchases of rural land ($15m, down from $252m) and agribusiness ($55m, down from $252m).
    Live Bronwyn Bishop suggests Gillian Triggs resign and run for office – politics live
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    Read more
    The prime minister, Tony Abbott, claimed existing rules controlling foreign acquisition of real estate were not being enforced under Labor.

    Foreign investors mostly aren’t allowed to buy existing residential real estate but, subject to approval, can buy new residential property on the basis that this drives demand for housing stock”

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/may/03/foreign-investors-face-crackdown-on-australian-property-purchases

    Singapore
    A foreign person who wishes to purchase a landed residential property is required to seek Government approval. A foreign person means any person who is not a –

    Singapore citizen;
    Singapore company;
    Singapore limited liability partnership; or
    Singapore society.
    The ownership of such properties by foreigners is restricted to those who make adequate economic contribution to Singapore. The ownership restrictions are provided in the Residential Property Act.”
    http://www.sla.gov.sg/Services/RestrictiononForeignOwnershipofLandedProperty.aspx

    Canada

    Appears to be like NZ. There is no sign they have a city with similar escalating house values similar to Auckland.

    http://www.jenniefrizzo.com/ForeignOwnership.ubr

    France

    WEALTH TAX
    If a French property is owned by a non resident then individual wealth tax is payable at a rate of 0.55% in excess of €800 000 and is scalable up to 1.8%. If a French property is owned via a designated offshore jurisdiction company or a company deemed to be outside the approved territories, wealth tax is imposed at the rate of 3% per annum.

    CAPITAL GAINS TAX
    French capital gains tax applies mainly to secondary residences but more specifically to non resident individual owners of French property. This tax is imposed if the capital gain is realised within 15 years of initial ownership although there are small allowances after 5 years of ownership. The current rates of capital gains tax are levied at the rate of 16% for French and other EU residents and 33.3% for non EU residents. In certain cases there is an additional levy of 10% relating to a social security charge on the net gain.

    SUCCESSION LAWS
    In many common law countries like the United Kingdom and the Unites States people can generally leave their assets to whoever they choose. In France the laws are completely different and, regardless of the wishes contained within a properly executed Will, the wishes can be overturned by the protected heirs (Heritiers Reservtaires).

    Even if a foreign Will exists the French rules on succession take precedence regardless of any treaty or convention that France may have with another country.

    Foreign Testators should therefore be aware that any property that they own in France will be subject to French succession laws and to Inheritance Taxes upon their deaths.

    French Succession law focuses on the concept of Bloodline, thus protecting the rights of protected heirs, which include children, grandchildren and in some case, parents before the rights of the surviving spouse (a surviving spouse is a protected heir if there are no living descendants or ascendants.)

    Protected heirs are entitled to a reserved portion (Reserve Legale) of the deceased’s estate. For example, where there is one child of a marriage either through blood or adoption that child will be entitled to half of the deceased’s estate, where there are two children two-thirds, and where there are three or more children, three quarters.

    In the case of a son or daughter pre-deceasing the testator the share otherwise attributed to the deceased child will be distributed equally among the children of that deceased child. If there are no such children the share is distributed between the surviving children of the testator as if the predeceased child had not existed.

    If there are no children or grandchildren, but there are surviving or ascendants i.e. living parents or grandparents in both the parental and maternal lines, the reserved portion equates to half of the estate. If there are ascendants in only one line, it is a quarter of the estate.”
    http://www.ocra.com/solutions/french-property.asp

    Germany

    They have a rule that you get tax if you turn over your property in less than ten years. Germans have a tradition of buying a house for life, not buying, and moving up and so on as we do.

    “The percentage of Germans owning their homes is surprisingly low compared with elsewhere. At about 46 percent, it is the lowest in the entire European Union. As in other countries, the ratio differs according to income levels. The more affluent the people are the more likely it is that they will own their homes…

    There are no legal restrictions on non-Germans owning property, and many expats have significantly higher income levels and housing aspirations. The only bar to foreign ownership of property might lie in the financial institutions that offer mortgages. They might require a higher down payment because of the lack of a long-term financial track record.”
    http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/housebuying.html

    • Molly 14.1

      Canada

      Appears to be like NZ. There is no sign they have a city with similar escalating house values similar to Auckland.”

      There was an item on Al Jazeera a couple of weeks ago: reporting on the twitter campaign Don’tHave$1Million., which refers to the price of the average home in Vancouver.

      Huffington Post elaborates:

      …Some of the Vancouver values are driven by international buyers, attracted by the region’s natural setting, educational opportunities, and the low Canadian dollar. If current trends continue, the average price of a detached house in Vancouver could hit more than $2.1 million by 2030, predicted a Vancity report in March. …

      …“It’s ludicrous to think that average hard-working folks are expected to have that $1 million in hand to own a home,” said Xia. “For an average salary, it would take a ballpark of 40 years to save enough for just the 25 per cent down payment!”

      In fact, a new UBC study found the average young person spends more years in school than the previous generation, then must work five years more to save a down payment on a standard home in Canada.

      “Canadians in their mid-40s and younger earn thousands less for full-time work compared to 1976-1980 even though they devote years more to post secondary,” wrote study author Paul Kershaw.

      “Higher mortgages reflect the reality of getting into the housing market when the timing is not nearly as fortuitous as it was in 1977.”…

    • Colonial Rawshark 14.2

      There’s a Canadian house price bubble in full swing

  15. The “invisible hand” could clearly use a hand, perhaps via some crowdsourcing: eg, a handy web site where people could post the addresses of houses they’ve noticed have been sitting empty for a while. If you’re currently buying houses and leaving them empty because you bought them for capital gain and can’t be arsed making them rental properties, the prospect of them being quickly identified and occupied by squatters would destroy that value proposition for leaving them empty.

    • Tracey 15.1

      ooooOOOoooooooo

    • In fact, if NACT did actually govern in the interests of NZ rather than in the interests of the very people leaving the houses empty, it would be putting in place such a service right now – not to encourage squatters to move in (of course not! Wouldn’t dream of such a thing!), merely as an exercise in tranparency and open access to information…

  16. Dave 16

    Two things, one, is that figure correct? Is it really 22,000 houses unoccupied? If it is, then it isn’t a crisis, it’s a clusterfuck. Two, is there any reason why someone would keep their house unoccupied, I can understand for a holiday house, but who keeps a house in Glen Eden unoccupied voluntarily?

    • Tracey 16.1

      The assumption is that with such large capital gains in the Auckland market, the property sits because it avoids the hassle of tenants, wear and tear by them and it still goes up in value. IF you are a cash buyer your return is around 10% per year minus rates/water.

    • linda 16.2

      peoples bank of china the ecb and the fed have printing money faster than a helicopter since 2008 all that money needs to find a home remember the 1 percent can excess all the money they want at zero percent at no cost and we are suffering the fall out
      with ridiculous prices unplayable debt and a wreaked society.

      • Mike S 16.2.1

        They also get the first use of that newly created ‘money’ at it’s current value. By the time it filters down through the levels to the rest of us it has been affected by inflation so can only purchase less than what it could when those at the top first used it

  17. Philip Ferguson 17

    One of the most bizarre cases of the way the market ‘works’ in housing was the housing bubble in the south of Ireland.

    Speculators built houses on the basis that “if we build they will come” – talk about the market producing cargo cult ideology. Of course, the mysterious “they” didn’t come because the prices were beyond them.

    While the homeless figures grew, whole new housing estates remained unbought and unpeopled – scores upon scores of “ghost estates”.

    In the south, the homeless figure reached 90,000 with the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Planning estimating in 2010 as many as 300,000 empty properties.

    There were 700 ghost estates!!!

    Dozens of these *estates* – ie we’re not talking a few houses here and there – we’re talking entire new housing estates – were then bulldozed.

    Go the market! How rational a use of resources.

    I wrote a bit about the Irish case here: https://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/remember-the-housing-action-committes-dont-we-need-them-now/

    If you enter ghost estates ireland into google and use the video section, you’ll turn up a chunk of short news pieces on these ghost estates. You might also use the word bulldozed. Here is just one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rtz85asdsSo
    Here’s a short BBC piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHzn7MhBLrY

    The ‘efficiency’ of the market. What a ridiculous joke.

    Phil

  18. Tracey 18

    The answer can’t be holiday homes can it? Surely there are more than 20,000 holiday home sin NZ

  19. Old Mickey 19

    “So let’s get this straight. Auckland has an urgent deficit of 20,000 to 30,000 houses. Meanwhile 22,000 houses, up to 1 in 10 in some suburbs, are sitting empty. Behold the awesome efficiency of the market! Tremble at its rational distribution of resources! ”

    Lets not forget the 2000+ homes ready to be built and consented but cannot be started because of Auckland City Council and Watercare’s inability to fund public works….behold the awesome efficiency of Auckland City Council, and their ability to avoid any part or partial responsibility for the housing crisis.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      Behold the clusterfuck that happens when a centre-right government creates dysfunctional super city legislation.

      Marvel, as the centre-right gobshites exhibit zero sense of personal responsibility, while blaming and blaming and justifying and failing and flailing and failing.

  20. Mike the Savage One 20

    Welcome to the FREE global market place, for residential real estate! “Global” cities are just part of the market, and Len Brown and others want Auckland to be a “global city”.

    Despite of some recent, perhaps rather “cosmetic” rules changes by the government to residential real estate for foreign buyers, it will likely have little impact.

    There are wealthy all over the world, desperate to find a “refuge”, and despite of the social ills we may suffer, where third world diseases affect many children and adults in places such as South Auckland, this does not deter the rich and powerful to come here and buy up property all over the country.

    I came across this blog post yesterday, giving a good summary of what is happening, not just in Auckland:
    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2015/06/someone-elses-country.html

    There are many rich and wealthy, also in rising economies like China:
    http://www.forbes.com/china-billionaires/list/#tab:overall
    http://business.financialpost.com/business-insider/china-has-hundreds-of-billionaires-meet-the-countrys-21-richest

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/money-wealth/article/1822176/stock-market-gains-create-extra-one-million-millionaires

    Add billionaires and millionaires from other places, and there is a huge market of potential buyers:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_the_number_of_US_dollar_billionaires

    New Zealand is for sale, under your “leader” John Key, the well heeled merchant banker, who did well, who has made many golden handshakes for himself and his bosses, and brokered deals all over the place. He will have done so with the rich and powerful, yet again.

    New Zealanders are becoming servants in their own country, the Auckland housing market is just one symptom of it.

    And Nick Smith is now between a rock and a hard place, John Key spread his protective wing over him during question time in Parliament today, the man could not handle more pressure, poor Nick!?

  21. ropata 21

    Isaiah 5

    8 Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field until there is nowhere left and they are the sole inhabitants of the country.

    9 Yahweh Sabaoth has sworn this in my hearing, ‘Many houses will be brought to ruin, great and fine ones left untenanted;

    17 Now the lambs will graze in their old pastures, and the fields laid waste by fat cattle will feed the kids.

    20 Woe to those who call what is bad, good, and what is good, bad, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

    21 Woe to those who think themselves wise and believe themselves enlightened.

    22 Woe to those whose might lies in wine bibbing, their heroism in mixing strong drinks,

    23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deny justice to the upright.

    Ezekiel 16:49

    49 The crime of your sister Sodom was pride, gluttony, calm complacency; such were hers and her daughters’ crimes. They never helped the poor and needy;

    50 they were proud, and engaged in [dishonest] practices before me, and so I swept them away as you have seen.

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