National has announced that it will begin offering to sell 3,800 state houses to tenants living in them on market rents.
I don’t automatically oppose selling state houses but there needs to be four conditions:
Put together, these measures would help the houses stay in the hands of those on low incomes, keep the houses cheap because the price wouldn’t be dragged up wealthy people buying to be landlords, boost home ownership rates, and create a bigger pool of cheap housing.
It seems that National has only put one of these in place, the third. That’s just going to see the houses on-sold to investors. As in the 1990s (and the 1950s when National first started selling state houses), the former state houses will end up being rented out at more expensive rents.
Under National’s policy, there will be a greater concentration of the private housing stock in fewer hands and a smaller pool of cheap housing. But of course, that’s the whole point.