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Nats in secret state house sell-down

Written By: - Date published: 9:03 am, January 10th, 2013 - 60 comments
Categories: housing - Tags:

It turns out National’s sold off a net 251 houses since it was re-elected. The spin is that isn’t a sell-down but moving resources to where they’re needed… uh, huh…. fewer resources. Meanwhile, looks like KiwiBuild’s hugely popular. The State building affordable housing always has been. Now, if only me and my partner could afford to service a $300,000 mortgage….

Selling down those state houses makes its bloody hard for families who’ve already got it tough. They’re chucked out in the private rental market, where the homes are worse condition and cost more – and their added demand helps to push the prices up further. Nice one, National.

My mate in Housing NZ reckons that it’s just the beginning too – big sell-offs coming in the next few years.

Back to KiwiBuild. And no-one’s denying the good intention. But what kind of income and deposit do you need to get the private mortgage to buy a KiwiBuild house? Sorted.org.nz reckons it would be about $700-800 a fortnight in repayments, if you can stump up with $15k for the minimum deposit. Anyone know what the minimum income a couple with a couple of kids would need to get a loan like that from a bank is? What’s Labour’s upper income limit to buy a KiwiBuild house going to be, again? Is this just charity for the upper-middle class?

60 comments on “Nats in secret state house sell-down ”

  1. karol 1

    Meanwhile, finding affordable rental accommodation anywhere within reasonable commuting distance of Auckland CBD is becoming an increasingly fading dream. This morning I was looking at ads for rentals well out of the city, and wondering if I’d still be able to commute to my part time work.

    Does anyone in the position of advocating for more houses for sale, in the MSM the Labour Party etc, realise that there is a major crisis in affordable rental properties NOW!!!???

  2. You_Fool 2

    I am not sure, but the loan repayment would have to be less than 50% of the total income, which makes ~1.6k per fornight, or 3.2k per month, or 38.4K per year before tax, or at least 50k per year before tax, so a couple both on minimum wage can’t make it…. Still I wouldn’t call it upper middle class welfare, but definitly is going to be aimed at the middle class, at least in Auckland, but then it is Auckland so the overall housing picture needs to impact that as well.

    Doesn’t mean that State Housing shouldn’t be available for those that need it, and the fact that it is being sold off and not replaced is not a good thing, and another example of NAct not caring and not thinking…

    • Chris 2.1

      A couple on minimum wage both working 40 hours a week would be on ~$56k per year (before tax) so they would be able to make those payments. The hard part will be getting the deposit, which Kiwisaver should help with (assuming they are using that).

      I agree that it is targeted at the middle class though, but wouldn’t go as far as saying upper middle class.

      My best guess is that Labour hope it will be taken up by a large amount of young professionals who will turn them into rentals and increase the rental stock driving down prices for people on lower incomes. This is basically my major issue with this whole policy it seems to be continuing the NZ obsession with property investment far more than any policy I have seen from them combats it.

      In relation to the state housing sell-off, it’s worth mentioning that the housing stock increased in National’s first term by 500 and Housing NZ forecasts that it will increase by another 500 by 2016 (http://www.hnzc.co.nz/about-us/our-publications/briefing-to-the-incoming-minister-2011/briefing-for-the-minister-of-housing-2011/briefing-to-the-incoming-minister-2011.pdf).

      Also I don’t see the issue with sales of old properties exceeding the value of new purchases (depending on where the money goes). It seems a seasonable goal of selling the high value properties in richer areas to build in lower value areas.

      • Saccharomyces 2.1.1

        But if those young professionals do let the houses out then the extra supply still won’t force rental prices down, as they’re artificially inflated by accommodation supplements, giving no need for the lower end of the rental market to be competitive.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          There is no need for the bottom end to be competitive, just have a supplier, the Government, supply housing at minimal cost.

          • Saccharomyces 2.1.1.1.1

            You know what CV, you’re going to be surprised that I’m saying this, but I agree. I’d actually prefer that the money used for accommodation supplements was used for income adjusted rents on state houses.

            • Treetop 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Reported in the last week on RNZ: in the last five years those receiving the maximum accommodation supplement has gone fron 45,000 to 85,000. The figure of those getting Temporary Additional Support for rent was not mentioned. Campbell Roberts from the Salvation Army said that in Sth Auckland it is the worst he has seen housing in twenty years.

              Guess who was the government twenty years ago and they pulled the market rent stunt?

              There has to be a joint agreement in government for HNZ housing. The 1950s – 1960s programme was robust and served families well.

              As well a few days ago on stuff.co.nz people being bumped between HNZ homes as the dwelling is deemed to be earthquake prone. I am not sure who has to cover the moving cost between HNZ dwellings.

        • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1.2

          “…artificially inflated by accommodation supplements…”

          [citation needed]

          • Saccharomyces 2.1.1.2.1

            OTH, no citation needed, basic economics. There’s a practically unlimited demand, and a fiinite supply. Chuck money at it and all it’ll do is increase the price.

            You COULD argue that as the landlords are getting a greater return that they’re more likely to keep the stock in better condition, and I’m sure plenty do, but I’m also sure that most don’t.

            At the end of the day accommodation supplements are just another transfer of wealth TO the landlords.

            • mike e vipe e 2.1.1.2.1.1

              it ended up in foreign banks hands as they are the biggest lenders and a lot of landlords mortgage to the hilt to reduce tax burden as well as expand their empire’s.by borrowing against the existing portfolio.
              Jim Bolger And peter Dunne came up with this silly Idea in 1996.
              All it did is push rents up and house prices and make the big four Aussie bank rub their hands with glee.

              • Zaphod Beeblebrox

                Great point. More house borrowing equals more debt which means more profits for the big 4 Aussie banks heading out of the country.

                Which begs the question- why not just increase Housing NZ’s stock and try and run a small profit? Surely it can’t be that hard for Housing NZ to replicate what a private landlord does.

                • McFlock

                  Personally I think that there are benefits to owning as opposed to renting one’s home, as a lot of people are learning about their “permanent” state houses.

                  Besides, all the govt has to do is arrange financing for the homes via an “approved” bank that purely coincidentally happens to be 100% NZ owned.

            • McFlock 2.1.1.2.1.2

              I agree with the last line.

              But I think you’re ignoring the flipside of the coin, that there are mandatory minimums in building quality as well as a gap between what some people can afford in rent and what their accommodation requirements are. Which means that while economically accommodation supplements might not be the most efficient use of resources, they do actually achieve their objective which is to get people into homes.

              The most efficient use of accommodation resources is the state house. Pity the nats are selling those off.

            • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1.2.1.3

              “…basic economics…” lol

              You mean where people are rational actors in their own self-interest? That load of bollocks, or are you compounding bullshit with Objectivism?

              If your fantasy had some reality in it, the sell-off of state housing would have alleviated the problem, which has instead got worse.

              All you’ve got is dogma, devoid of reality. Do a little fact-checking for a change.

              • One Tāne Huna

                PS: a little cursory checking tells me that a fair amount of effort goes into ensuring that HNZ “market rents” follow not lead the market, and that on at least one occasion they have been kept lower by Ministerial fiat.. So much for blind dogma.

              • Saccharomyces

                OTH, so people don’t behave in a rational manner (broadly speaking)? Are we all just meat-bags wandering around acting randomly? Wow, pretty interesting place you live in!

                “the sell-off of state housing would have alleviated the problem, which has instead got worse” – how has that affected supply? The owner doesn’t make a difference it’s still only a unit on the supply side. New dwellings make more supply.

                • McFlock

                  It depends on how “broadly” you want to speak.

                  Economics is like weather prediction, but rather than following the laws of physics each “molecule” (economic actor) follows its own individual priorities and has a certain (and changes for each actor) tendency to act irrationally even by its own priority list. Oh, and has imperfect information on how it should act, anyway.

                  There is no predictive value in economics, because you can never know when the system will collectively “pop” and just decide that tulips aren’t really worth all that much after all.

                  There is no verifiability in economics, because you can never rule out that an observed correlation was simply some other causal issue, or just a correlation that will cease to exist at any particular point in the future.

                  I recall that when we had a stock exchange in Dunedin, Otago won a rugby match and the Dunedin stock exchange rose when every other exchange lost points. And of course that had unknown butterfly effects ever since. Rational my arse.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Saccho seems oblivious that in the language of neoclassical economics, “rational” is a word with no relationship whatsoever to the English use of the word “rational”.

                    • McFlock

                      ahhh, the old “use archaic or invented meanings of words so that what we mean bears no relationship to what we say” gambit.
                      Well played, econofucks, well played.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  Saccharine, I repeat – all you have is blind dogma, which makes it absurdly easy to refute your Gish-gallop of assertions.

                  To put it in terms you’ll understand, the housing market isn’t “free” because we have building standards and other regulatory defences which prevent dwellings degrading to Objectivist levels which are (by definition) lower than the current lowest example which can be found.

                  To put it another way, your version of “freedom” is worse than imprisonment.

            • Treetop 2.1.1.2.1.4

              The transfer of wealth is 1.2 billion per year. Link is a longish read.

              http://www.interest.co.nz/property/57062/accommodation-supplement-landlord-subsidy-punching-big-hole-govt-books-due-unaffordab

              Not sure if link has a break in it as it finishes.

    • Lightly 2.2

      Banks will lend about 35%-40% of disposable income – that’s a lot less.

  3. Colonial Weka 3

    Using the ANZ’s calculator, for a rough idea of costs, I got two people with two kids would need a combined income of $60,000 and a deposit of around $15,000 to be given a $285,000 mortgage to buy a $300,000 house (I’ve rounded those figures).

    https://apps.anz.co.nz/calculators/affordability/

    • Chris 3.1

      Add an extra $7,000 if they have 2 cars instead of one as well.

      • Colonial Weka 3.1.1

        Depends also on how much debt is on the cars. And theoretically the deposit % can go very low. Lots of variables.

        It really needs someone who understands how this works for people with kids to go and do the fuller calculation. If a couple need to both be in 40hr/wk jobs, and they have kids under 5, then childcare costs will be significant.

    • Zetetic 3.2

      thanks. Chucking in various combinations of income and expenses, seems you need something in excess of 60k… plus the 15k to start with. Now how many families does that rule out?

      • Lightly 3.2.1

        you’re far from alone.

        distribution of household incomes by family type are here http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/people_and_communities/Households/HouseholdEconomicSurvey_HOTPYeJun12.aspx

        there are about 210,000 families with kids who couldn’t afford to service a mortgage on a KiwiBuild house, out of 600,000 families with kids in total.

        Then, you have to have the $15,000 deposit. Not sure if there are any stats on that but I bet it rules out tens of thousands more.

        Basically, KiwiBuild isn’t open to the bottom 35% of families with kids – strange, since that’s meant to be Labour’s base – and a good portion of the top half will already have houses.

        Did Labour provide numbers on whether there are 100,000 families with kids who could afford KiwiBuild?

        • mike e vipe e 3.2.1.1

          Their is also kiwisaver which allows you to capitalise a percentage of your savings to buy your first home most renters in Auckland are paying more than $350 to $400 per week in rent!
          But increasing the house supply will keep rents and hosing prices down as well.
          This is a centerist policy the greens wanted to build 6,000 more houses a year were they supposed to be state houses. The problem with past state housing was that all one income level were pushed into one suburb with unintended consequences. Then Norman Kirks housing policy of financing young families into their first homes back fired with most of those people ending up voting national because they moved from working class into investment class with their flash new homes becoming very valuable and started voting National!

          • karol 3.2.1.1.1

            hen Norman Kirks housing policy of financing young families into their first homes back fired with most of those people ending up voting national because they moved from working class into investment class with their flash new homes becoming very valuable and started voting National!

            That doesn’t surprise me, because the whole focus on everyone owning their own home is pretty much supporting the individualist, capitalist system. There should be more systemic support for those of us who choose to be life-time renters.

            • Blue 3.2.1.1.1.1

              With respect Karol, why would you ‘choose’ to be a life time renter?
              Surely that money would be better placed investing in your own equity in a property by paying off a mortgage. If it is your choice to rent, why on earth do you expect “systematic support” for the choices you have made? It would be different if you had no choice, then that support should be expected.

          • Lightly 3.2.1.1.2

            Yeah, that could be the basis of a small deposit for many people.

            You know, one of the worst thing Dunne did was get rid of Kiwisaver mortgage diversion, whereby you could redirect your Kiwisaver into your mortgage payments.

      • mike e vipe e 3.2.2

        Zettiec banks are back to lending with 5% deposits at the moment to those with good credit ratings
        but a young family would find it still very difficult as costs of raising a young family have gone up considerably in the last 10 years .So how much do a young couple on 50 to 60,000 with say 2 children get in family support payments.
        Banks also see each extra child as a liability so those even on the average family income of nearly 60’000 would struggle to get the banks to say yes even if the amount they are paying in rent was more than mortgage repayments as they know a landlord will make those payments!

  4. Olwyn 4

    Mike Smith: I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Zetetic is criticising National here, not Labour. It is true he has raised a question about Labour’s affordable housing scheme, but a raised question does not amount to a scathing dismissal.

    Now. Does the Labour caucus that you are advising share his outrage about the state house sell off? Will it do things differently – build more state houses for example? Or more modestly, replace those that have been sold off? Is the same caucus able answer the question about affordable housing? Is there a plan to extend it beyond the middle class once it is up and running? Or similar?

    If Labour will not answer such questions, then surely this gives you a clue as to why these days Labour is being criticised by the left almost as much as National is.

  5. tc 5

    Opposition need to stick with the facts and not buy into the spin coming from gov’t and their complaint Housing dep’t flunkeys, less houses is less houses and in growing areas so it’s not hard to figure out there’s more wealth transfer to developer mates going on, especially in Glen Innes/Orakei neck of akl.

    Sales should be made after new builds are completed so stock rises before dropping back to a bigger number than before they commenced, the method being used shows they really don’t give a toss.

    If you can bail out SFC and give up over $1Bill p.a. in tax revenue, to name a couple of NACT’s choices, yet you can’t finance the new build prior to the sale. Shows where the priorities are.

  6. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 6

    Meanwhile, looks like KiwiBuild’s hugely popular.The State building affordable housing always has been. Now, if only me and my partner could afford to service a $300,000 mortgage….

    You could if the government adopted policies of the past which supported citizens in just the way that is needed now, and which led to good outcomes for both them and the state. This was to have table mortgages on a 25 year basis. It’s a case of adopting suitable financial packages that allow access to housing for the young, and working poor.

    That means leaving aside advice that suits well-off people ie to pay your mortgage off quickly over a short term so that the amount paid in interest is minimised. The long term mortgage has payments that an average person can afford, and still be able to live their life for the two decades required to pay it off. More interest paid over the longer lifetime of the mortgage doesn’t matter if a reasonable rate of interest is charged say 5% through Kiwibank maybe. The mortgages could be granted, after a financial assessment, to people who have demonstrated over two years that they can save money, and keep their spending controlled with little on debt cards.

    That’s how it used to be done when we had a government policy of supporting the young and lower income instead of the reverse. Time to clear out the dead hand of government, for sure, and replace it with two hands of live, eager to get all NZ prosperous government, not the mendacious, bloated, self-serving, nearly? corrupt lot that we have now.

  7. Tom Gould 7

    A simple solution would be to raise the minimum wage to $18 an hour, build a load of new energy efficient houses, and sell them at cost to poor families with no deposit and a 3 percent 30 year loan though Kiwibank. I concede it’s hardly a new idea, and it might annoy a few folk, but history often repeats.

    • Fortran 7.1

      Not sure that I am happy to allow say Kiwibank to lend at 3% when my mortgage is still at 5.1%?
      Idea great in principle but needs refining as to where the land is going to be and what financing is available – not by taxpayer subsidies.

      • karol 7.1.1

        So you would rather continue with us private renters subsidising the speculation and profits of private home owners?

      • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 7.1.2

        Fortra
        Good if you can think nationally rather than personally. Housing is as important as healthcare and we give taxpayer subsidies for that. Both items need taxpayer input, with controls of course. The old idea used to be limited to first home buyers – low incomes had 3% interest and over that 5%. We got a 5% loan as we were doing two jobs to get ahead. You could get ahead on ordinary wages and with stable workingtimes in those days. We wouldn’t have the runaway consumer society if people had been encouraged to save the deposit for their first house. It’s a great way of providing stability in a small economy like ours but does require thought and suitable action from government, not just sit back, have a beer and let the market handle it all. Doh!

        Sweat equity is another possibility. Asleep while walking and vivacious viper both put this point.
        I think Labour did have this going some decades back. But of course with our unstable democratic system, a change of government can change policies – because they can!

        Probably new ministers keep a notepad or ipad or something, a voice operated device, by their beds, and their new policy is what comes to them in dreams or that half-awake state when the brain isn’t at full tilt or then perhaps they are always in this state.

    • indiana 7.2

      Why do that for 3% over 30 years when you could put that money in the Cullen Fund and return 10%+ over 30 years? Beside the country does not have money siting in the bank to loan out at 3%…oh wait one government did borrow money to loan out at 0% for tertiary studies…

      • Lightly 7.2.1

        actually, the Crown does have money that its borrowing at less than 3% currently. It could add another billion or two for onlending in cheap loans to the $45b National has borrowed and the markets wouldn’t batter an eye. And it wouldn’t affect the net debt because Kiwibank mortgages are a financial asset on the government’s books.

        • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 7.2.1.1

          Lightly
          That sounds good if it is factual – don’t understand government financing completely. It would be a good investment by the government as it would be a boost to the economy in a quiet way, provide infrastructure that is really needed (as opposed to expensive sport stadiums which remain empty for many months and probably don’t recover costs).
          Also it would provide a case for training people in building skills, give some hope for employment and enterprise that does not relate to recovering from Acts of Gods. Let’s have some acts from our small gods in government!

      • Colonial Viper 7.2.2

        Why do that for 3% over 30 years when you could put that money in the Cullen Fund and return 10%+ over 30 years?

        The idea that “past performance does not guarantee future performance” sailed right by, didn’t it?

        • Akldnut 7.2.2.1

          “…oh wait one government did borrow money to loan out at 0% for tertiary studies…

          Oh wait one government borrowed hundreds and hundreds of millions to give away to people who least needed it and renamed the policy “Tax Cuts”

  8. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 8

    I have had a perfectly good comment waiting in moderation for half an hour. Is it because I used the word mendac.ous, cor.upt or what? You can’t have word sorters with the vocabulary of a nine year old child

    Now it’s up but it appears to have slotted in with others from the time it was written. Now it doesn’t show up as a new comment, it’s down the list.

  9. cricklewood 9

    Probably the best thing we could do that would improve living standards relativily quickly is create and enforce a minimum standard for rental properties, Watching ‘renters’ prior to xmas made me cringe, should have been entitled Slum Lords.
    If as a landlord your are going to recieve money by way of an accomodation supplement (most slum lords do as there rentals are usually at the bottom end of the market) the place should meet minimum requirements around heating, insulation, facilitues and weather tightness.
    If it doesn’t meet the standard you can’t rent it out to anyone receiving a supplement…
    This couple with a construction program should sort out alot of the shit heaps. I particulary liked the look of the small places built in Lower Hutt near Wingate, They are quite compact well built with solar water heating, They are perfectly servicable and very cheap to construct

  10. Binders full of viper- women 10

    “Now, if only me and my partner could afford to service a $300,000 mortgage….” AND get balloted ahead of someone who can easily afford the repayments yet in this lottoesque policy may very well get a lucky-cheap-house ahead of you … good luck with the ballot.

  11. The labour house building policy misses the point that there is a dire need for low cost,
    affordable housing for those on low incomes, the policy is targeted at the more affluent of
    society.
    Habitat for Humanity has done some brilliant work in NZ building affordable houses which
    includes the people who are going to live in them and in return they help with the build.
    If Habitat or the like were included in a housing policy initiative to help those who are not
    able to pay a high deposit or the cost of a huge mortage,that would be a game changer.
    The cold,cold hearts of the Nacts who turf people out of their state homes in order to appease
    their favourite sector of money grubbing delinquents who want to capitalize on a families
    misfortune of loosing their homes is demonstrably wrong.
    Valuable prized sections for the money grubbers to build houses on for personal profits and
    handed to them by an obliging Key led Nact govt only demonstates the Nact thinking towards
    the average joe and joe’s family in NZ.

  12. AsleepWhileWorking 12

    There needs to be an opportunity to use sweat equity which has not been mentioned so far on this thread (although Habitat for Humanity is close as it requires input from the people the home is for).

    Perhaps the G. could turn land it already owns into leasehold land which would lower the cost even more (and land sold by the G. has to be offered back to Maori before anyone else, but it isn’t being sold…just leased). Lease could be legislated as not exceeding a percentage of market value to ensure there are no big jumps.

    This is the best combo I could think of to keep costs down.

  13. Housing and transport is far too expensive, especially in comparison to the US. $2200 a month gives you a gym, free internet and computer access, central heating, a private park, soundproof rooms, a concierge, a security guard, a private po box, a car space, a pool and a center city location. As for transport, a metro ticket costs about $3 one way vs $5 in NZ, also buses just cost a dollar or so. NZ’ers are being ripped off in a big way.

  14. infused 14

    Less typing on here and more working and you might be able to afford that 300k mortgage.

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 14.1

      infused
      My prescription for you – less lemon in your tea, and more teas and sympathy and thinking time with longer, considered and explained blogs from you instead of snipey stupid one liners.

    • @ infused, so are you a proof reader and writer
      too ?

  15. millsy 15

    Only people who benefit from shrinking the HNZ stock are private landlords. Simple really. Bet Monique Watson is loving this.

  16. Annette King 16

    Olwyn, thank you for your question. Labour has and does oppose the sell off of state houses, in other words the reduction in the number of state rentals available which is happening under the guise of ‘reorganisation and repositioning’ There needs to be more state housing in a number of parts of NZ. The frustrating part of being in opposition at present is trying to get Heatley to say where all these houses that are in the wrong place, wrong size and wrong condition are. He has refused to answer written parliamentary questions or provide information through OIAs although he quotes his mantra on a regular basis. I currently have appeals with the Ombudsman and the Speaker. In the meantime houses are being sold, demolished or emptied for ‘ earthquake’ reasons in areas of high need- HB, Lower Hutt, Porirua, South Auckland.

    For those disputing the ability for low income people to buy their own home, there are already some very successful shared equity programmes including rent to buy underway, provided by the not- for- profit sector. Labour is already in discussion with providers to get the best advice on how to implement.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Awesome to see you here on The Standard, Annette.

    • Olwyn 16.2

      Thanks Annette, for your comprehensive reply, and good luck with the ombudsman. I also hope that the rent-to-buy scheme proves able to be more fully implemented.

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