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State housing: bursting the “market” bubble

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, January 20th, 2014 - 102 comments
Categories: class war, cost of living, housing, poverty, sustainability, thinktank - Tags:

The (un)affordability of housing in NZ, especially in the cities of Christchurch and Auckland, is beyond crisis point.  It’s become an inhumane blight on the record of our current government.  In Auckland it has gone from crisis to hyper-inflated devasation for the least well off.  And most often, those on lowest incomes are being relegated to living in transport poverty on the outer margins of the city.

Some MSM reporters have been talking up the up-swing in home building.  But doing that all within the system of private home ownership is just giving more fuel to the rentier classes, and those desperate to buy their own home.  The answer is simple – to end the crisis in (un)affordable housing, the state could just provide more housing at an affordable cost.

Meanwhile, the just released report of the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, shows that Auckland housing is becoming increasingly over-priced – the bubble just keeps on inflating.  Anne Gibson reports in today’s NZ Herald:

Last year, the survey pegged Aucklanders as having a median household income of $75,200 and a median house price of $506,800, giving the city a total median multiple of 6.7 (house prices divided by incomes) when anything more than 3 is regarded as unaffordable.

But now Auckland’s median house prices are $561,700 and median household incomes $70,500, the city has been pegged as having a median multiple of 8. The survey concluded Auckland had slipped further in its ranking as one of the world’s most severely unaffordable places to live.

Last year, Auckland was the world’s 313th most unaffordable place out of 337 cities but now it is the world’s 347th most unaffordable out of 360 cities.

Christchurch-based survey co-author Hugh Pavletich said the trend was extremely worrying.

[…]

Demographia sourced its New Zealand housing data from the Real Estate Institute and the incomes from Statistics New Zealand.

Mr Pavletich said income figures were projected on Census 2006, until Census 2013 when the latest figure was used.

Some NZ economists question the findings.  But more worrying, is the underlying ethos of the Demographia Report written by Alain Bertaud, Urbanist, Senior Research Scholar, Stern School of Business, New York University  and Former Principal Planner – The World Bank.  Basically he is critical of the kind of approach in Aucklannd’s Urban Plan – an approach that aims to increse density in selected areas of Auckland, rather than continue to consume more land for housing and urban development.

Bertaud wants to follow the (alleged) approach of the Chinese government:

Even the Communist Party of China recently declared that resource allocation is best achieved through markets; why can’t urban planners in so-called market economies reach the same conclusions and let markets decide how much land and floor space households and firms will consume in different locations?

“Markets” don’t actually decide any such thing.   It’s people: people in positions of power and wealth, especially the investment bankers and property speculators who really decide how things go – and they want the land to be available for their profiteering.  It has been people with power, money and influence hiding behind the myth of “markets deciding”, that have created the life-destroying property bubble in places like Auckland.  Continuing with this mythical scam, Bertaud concludes:

It is hoped that the clear quantitative approach demonstrated by the Demographia survey would incite local think tanks in India, Brazil and China to develop the data base and the methodology to analyse the affordability problem and find a market solution to solve it.

There is another, more humane and economically beneficial way to solve the crisis in affordable housing: a crisis maintained by the profiteering of the few, and causing inhumane suffering for the least well off.

It’s been done quietly in Utah, while other US states have continued increasing human suffering on the back of the misery of homelessness.  Other states have been harrassing and demonising the homeless – seriously, where are they going to go if they are hounded off the streets?

On Open Mike today, Adam posted a link to this article; ‘Utah is ending homelessness‘:

In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail says for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah’s Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but the keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah’s.

It sounds like Utah borrowed a page from Homes Not Handcuffs, the 2009 report by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless. Using a 2004 survey and anecdotal evidence from activists, the report concluded that permanent housing for the homeless is cheaper than criminalization. Housing is not only more human, it’s economical.’

The lesson is clear.  To solve NZ’s housing crisis, especially in Christchurch and Auckland: a significant increase in affordable state housing, and make the housing available to all who need it.

More state housing is Green Party Policy, and Mana Party Policy and activism – these parties are leading the way on the apporaches needed to make life more liveable for the least well off.

102 comments on “State housing: bursting the “market” bubble ”

  1. vto 1

    The fundamental behind what Utah has done is simple and so very important. In a nutshell – give people a stake in their community and it flies.

    High house values help nobody except the banks. The sooner steps are taken to drive down the cost of home ownership (and everything else with a capital value) the better. It means less of our daily toil has to go into paying for the roof over our heads and more of our daily toil can go to other things such as food, education, etc.

    It is all such a complete no-brainer.

    The main problem of course is that no government wants capital values (of houses or anything) to drop because it means they get voted out.

    This current government knows this reality and will be rubbing its hands with glee over the current rise. They will do absolutely nothing to deal with this housing problem.

    So, how do you get a government to work to bring down house values when doing such will get them voted out? It is a conundrum…

    • Could you imagine National, for one minute, having a bar of this policy?
      Talk about “communism”, North Korea, dancing Cossacks and all the other bull………
      Affordable housing fits right next door to solving child poverty.

  2. tricledrown 2

    Karol I believe these houses were homes that had been reposed by banks and are not new homes like Labour Green Mana have as their policy.
    Its good seeing the greens 6,000 houses they promised to buold each year being upgrade by Labour to 10,000 per year.
    The Greens popularity is forcing labour back to its roots instead of being labour lite.

  3. tricledrown 3

    RNZ noon news New Zealands housing affordability worst in the world with house prices rising rapidly and wages falling.
    Come on greens and Labour get stuck in to dickhead smith.
    The holidays are over we johnny is still on planet key hawaiikey.
    Friggen hell fire some shots.

  4. bad12 4

    Well said Karol, it is the State House which in effect since the 1930’s has kept the lid on inflation both in house purchase and house rentals,

    The fact is the National Party when in Government have a deliberate policy of house price inflation being good for the economy,(such inflation being counted among the data as ‘growth),

    Thus the National Party when in Government have a deliberate policy of lowering the number of State Houses which in turn creates demand for rental property both from renters and would be landlords,

    The current sell off of State Housing by Minister Nick Smith is in fact the biggest unannounced State Owned Asset sell-off, with the value of the HousingNZ estate said to be in the realm of 50 billion dollars and Smith having been quoted as saying that ‘any house worth $700,000 that is empty will be sold’ coupled with the recently rushed through under urgency law change which promotes the removal of the tenants from these houses unveils the ‘real plan’ of this particular National Government for this unannounced asset sell off,

    Another reported quote from Smith gives us an estimate of just how large this asset sell off has been planned by the current National Government with Smith on a number of occasions happily blurting out the fact that the National Government plan is that HousingNZ will provide 20% less of the total ‘social housing’ and He expects the private NGO’s such as the Salvation Army etc to ‘magic’ the shortfall into existence on the basis that such NGO’s can now get the same subsidy that the Government gives to HousingNZ,

    Lastly as i have often put forward as a comment, at it’s peak HousingNZ had an estate comprising some 75,000 homes for a population of 3.3 million, that population is now at or very close to 4.4 million souls and on a population basis alone would strongly suggest that the ‘needed’ number of HousingNZ homes is now in the realm of 100,000,(most of that increase needed being within the City of Auckland)…

  5. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 5

    Excellent article Karol,

    It is great to hear that somewhere in the world there are people trying new solutions to problems and succeeding.

    I would really like to see NZ being courageous in similar ways. It is so boring seeing the same old problems year in and year out being addressed in the same old tired and failed ways.

    I fail to understand why ‘market theory’ continues to be viewed as an answer to everything. Don’t we all know already that there is a severe error in the basic assumptions of market theory?

    “Markets” don’t actually decide any such thing. It’s people: people in positions of power and wealth, especially the investment bankers and property speculators who really decide how things go – and they want the land to be available for their profiteering. It has been people with power, money and influence hiding behind the myth of “markets deciding”, that have created the life-destroying property bubble in places like Auckland.

    Brilliant

  6. Absolute fab karol. I have a vested interest in state housing for two reasons.
    They were the corner stones of the original Labour Party. They provided shelter, a home, a job, and training. Not many other “institutions” do that.
    One of my uncles returned from the war, and without a state house, probably “would never had made it”. The same with a lot of people I first worked with when I first entered the work force. Some brought their houses, others didn’t, but each house was a home.
    That’s the lie National fails to understand. Kicking people out of their houses isn’t simply kicking people out of their place, it’s destroying their way of life, destroying who they are, but then, unless there’s a big f**ken $$$, National aren’t interested.
    Our house has doubled in value in the past few years, I look at it and say what complete bull***t. Its still the same house I brought a few years ago, and probably paid a tad too much for then, but not like today.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    “Markets” don’t actually decide any such thing. It’s people: people in positions of power and wealth, especially the investment bankers and property speculators who really decide how things go – and they want the land to be available for their profiteering. It has been people with power, money and influence hiding behind the myth of “markets deciding”, that have created the life-destroying property bubble in places like Auckland.

    And that is why we got “markets” which have, inevitably, made people worse off.

  8. CC 8

    While accepting that affordable state housing has much to commend it, will the Government actually be able to provide houses at a reasonable cost under the current regime. Recently, it took possession of a number of public private partnership constructed units. The property developer appears to have been able, to screw the taxpayers for well in excess of $500 000 per unit. No – this was not in an area of expensive land or ‘exclusive’ properties! It must be time we looked to the past and re-instituted the housing policies that served the country well last century.

  9. Sanctuary 9

    While National seem determined to return us to slum housing stock of the 1930s and an emergency program of state house building is critical right now, no one is NZ really wants a state house, insofar as no one really wants to rent off the government all their life. People perceive that as for those with no choice, or for free-loaders.The idea of the government or council owning all the houses doesn’t fly in this country.

    What people would like to see from a party is a commitment to subsidised housing in a variety of forms (flats, units, apartments, townhouses, houses) that can be purchased, or rented to purchase, or leased, as well as rented. Even if this required some right off of capital cost by the state, the book value would still be immense and economies of scale (I wouldn’t be afraid to have entire apartment blocks pre-fabricated in China complete with white wear, plumbing and wiring if that is what it took) could see prices plunge.

    • karol 9.1

      no one is NZ really wants a state house, insofar as no one really wants to rent off the government all their life.

      You sure of that? Citations needed.

      31 December 2013 – 4,493 people on the waiting list for a state house.

      I am one of a large number of life time renters – and I’m not in any immediate or medium term danger of being homeless, or any way likely to be most in need of a state house. But to me, given a free choice between renting from the state, or from a private landlord – a private landlord profiteering and adding to house price inflation – I’d choose a state house.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        +1

      • Sanctuary 9.1.2

        You really need a citation for that? How about trying planet earth.

        • karol 9.1.2.1

          Yes, I do, Sanctuary – I have presented some evidence to the contrary eg HNZ waiting list. Where’s your evidence?

          Will below adds the fact that many people were proud to rent state houses in the past. It was a cause for celebration when the Labour Government first introduced state housing.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.2.2

          If you have a secure long term rental at a good rate, with freedom to make minor changes to the property including gardens etc, why not rent from the govt?

          • QoT 9.1.2.2.1

            I think Sanc has identified another area for us to work on in society: the notion that getting help or using basic services from the government is inherently a form of bludging.

            We shouldn’t keep buying into the rightwing notion that a big government providing the necessities of life is a shameful thing.

    • Problem is Sanctuary, our wages have gotten out of skilter. Once we had a carpenter earning good wages, below him a couple of others earning decent wages, and then there were a couple of apprentices. What’s missing? The last group. What’s been added? Big time property speculators/developers, and the banks. Look at how much money flows overseas in profits to the banks. We’re funding part of Australia’s lifestyle.
      A couple of other points regarding state houses. Many people had no problem renting state houses, then in the 60’s National convinced people the right thing to do was to buy their own house. Problem was a lot weren’t replaced. The same is happening today. The other problem people faced, once rents were straight forward, you could budget, now with each successive Government, you don’t know where you will stand.
      The other issue surrounding building is the role of Government and Local Government authorities. What we’ve seen is the salaries for those in the top tiers rise far above the norm, and the extraordinary amount of compliance costs and fees has exacerbated the costs of building to many home owners and builders. These need addressing. A cap needs to be put on the level of pay paid to those in the top levels of the public sector. If they believe they are really worth that amount, let them go find it in the private sector. Very few do.

    • Mike S 9.3

      I’d much rather rent off the government, especially if it’s long term. I’m in the position of having to find another place to live as the owner of the place we’re in is selling it. That’s 3 times in 3 years, all 3 houses owned by foreigners living overseas. Why should we allow someone who doesn’t even live here to buy residential housing here?

      I would ban all foreign ownership of residential housing, if you want to buy a house here then come and live here. I would make it illegal for anyone to own more than 2 residential properties. I would also make it illegal for a company to own a residential property.

      Residential housing should be for people to live in, not for making profits from at the expense of those with no capital and those on low incomes.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.3.1

        Residential housing should be for people to live in, not for making profits from at the expense of those with no capital and those on low incomes.

        QFT

        And if the profiteers don’t like it they can go back and read Adam Smith and several other classical economists about how bad rentiers are for the economy and society.

  10. Plan B 10

    The idea of putting a floor under a market has been mentioned here before. For instance Kiwibank it is said puts a floor under banking- it helps make the sector work a bit better by giving people an option regarding minimum standards if you like- it is sort of a market based regulation alternative.
    The same can be said for state housing I suppose – state housing provides a standard that means if the market does not deliver what people want at the price they want to pay then they have an option- willing buyer and willing seller – but with the state providing the minimum ( at whatever level the state thinks is appropriate )
    So state housing and many other state owned entities like insurance may be explained as a market based approach rather than a regulation based approach to standards in different markets. Ha the right will hate it.

  11. tricledrown 11

    Real competition something the big 4 Aussie banks do not like they write Nactionals finance policy .
    The biggest beneficary of the housing bubbly are the foreign owned banks easymoney for them no work involved doubling their profits.
    The electricity market is next.

  12. Molly 12

    Housing affordability is something that has interested me for a while, and while being involved with a community planning group (and attending many Auckland Council workshops/presentations) it is apparent that housing affordability means different things to different people. In particular those making the rules and regulations. Changing rules comes at a prohibitive cost for small innovators and new models of housing provision – and so we stick with the continuation of the market which has systemically failed over the last few decades.

    For me the definition is somewhere along the lines of:
    “Housing that is affordable to rent/buy, live in and maintain to a healthy standard as part of a healthy community.”

    What I have discovered over the last few years is a decided lack of innovation and different small scale housing models that truly address affordability. I believe that housing needs to be part of a healthy community, and so the design of the neighbourhood and how it interacts is as important as the size and design of whatever built form of housing type you choose whether it be apartment, terraced, or detached.

    Some innovations that are worth looking at in terms of developing true affordability are:
    1. Co-housing – taking the middleman property developer (whose average cut is 16%) by supporting the prospective owners/renters to be the developers,
    2. Allowing multi-generational family homes without too much regulation. We already have these in Auckland, but they are in garages and sleepouts as the cost/restrictions are too high to do legally. There has been some movement towards this in the Unitary plan, but not to the degree that it is needed.
    3. Giving leeway to self-build owners – who were never the problem in the leaky building situation anyway. Self-builders who intend to live in the property usually build over-spec rather than to minimum requirements.
    4. Allow Tiny Houses. Imagine if Christchurch had been savvy enough to create villages such as this to transition people from devastation to rebuild.
    5. Promote smaller houses such as those shown by the Tumbleweed and the Not So Big house movements.
    6. Even better combine this idea with the idea of using waste materials to build such as the business models in the US, Tiny Texas Houses or Phoenix Commotion.
    7. Promote self-build earth buildings – for smaller dwellings or sleepouts.
    8. Promote options 3-7 to replace those unhealthy living environments in uninsulated garages and sleepouts by reducing/streamlining or eliminating regulations in some areas. This can be done by requiring that the resident in the property is the owner, and that if the property changes within a set time frame, full fees and consents are charged accordingly.
    9. Have permanent affordable housing prices on state houses provided at discount. There are many ways to do this, choose a few.
    10. Protect any change of government from wholesale selling of state housing by making them only 49% shareholder in any state housing project – the community itself retaining the remaining balance.

    The issue has been discussed on the Transport Blog recently, and also on Joel Cayford’s Auckland planning blog. His recent entries Who Is The Liveable City for? and On Special Housing Areas are well worth the read.

    I also believe that the solution should be multi-modal, and innovation in design, business models and investment will help aid that. People are very good at coming up with solutions themselves if given the opportunity and support.

  13. Molly 13

    On the pricing side:
    1. Do not allow overseas investors to buy residential property. My preference is for no land sales but this is only about affordable housing.
    2. Enforce current CGT to its full intent – eliminate those leap-frog developers who live in their home while they sell it and do this consistently in order to avoid income tax. Follow up rental properties that get sold to ensure that CGT is paid.
    3. Use Kiwibank to offer a NZ resident discounted mortgage rate – lower than the Aussie banks. If this redirects mortgages to Kiwibank (or TSB) this should have an impact on the balance of payments, which must have a lot of money from residential mortgages leaving the country every day.
    4. Implement a perpetual housing affordability model – for housing provided by the state. Sell off some of the new development at a discounted rate to pay off the loan – or invest in the next one. Ensure that this discounted rate is transferred to the next owner in perpetuity.

  14. Tiger Mountain 14

    Tenure is a most important feature of state housing. It was once truly “your place” as long as you desired. The nats have finally wiped this. Chucking everyone into the pool of uncertainty that is house hunting, or more correctly garage hunting and mates sofa hunting. Houses disappear from streets overnight and other modest ex “staties” such as in Pt Chev easily sell within hours of listing for a mill plus.

    Many home owners are full of it and in denial–“my place” is really the banks place and monopoly building suppliers and spec plan CAD twiddlers place that you get to occupy as long as you can pay the mortgage.

    Houses are the classic example of you can’t take it with you but can enjoy while you are around. A hugely increased state housing stock at newly set low rent levels (and a CG tax) would be good for most of us as well as the homeless and substandard living arrangements sector. Rents would drop in the private sector, house prices would drop and some stability would ensue for thousands.

  15. Bill 15

    Good on Utah – although they appear to be missing the point entirely.

    ‘Correct’ thinking would allow them to understand that cost isn’t a determining factor – profit is. The question then – the one they should be asking is ‘How profitable is it to house a homeless person against imprisoning them in a privatised prison system?’

    Obviously, imprisonment makes more sense. Jail the homeless, the drug takers, the drug dealers and (just generally) the poor. See, just because we don’t contribute much to the financial economy in terms of PAYE etc, there is no reason why others can’t extract a profit from our situation.

    Meanwhile, if the preference is to ignore or contradict how much of the world actually operates vis a vis generating profit from poverty, then in addition to measures mentioned – pass squatting legislation that gives homeless people some rights at the expense of property speculators….and watch rents tumble, streets empty and empty properties fill 😉

  16. Richard Christie 16

    Last year, Auckland was the world’s 313th most unaffordable place out of 337 cities but now it is the world’s 347th most unaffordable out of 360 cities.

    What is it with people and double negatives?

    1st on list of “most unaffordable” will not be very affordable, in fact it will be the first amongst the unaffordable, i.e. the most unaffordable, it’ll probably be a place in which it is a struggle just to get by.

    Last on such a list is the last of the unaffordable, i.e. the least unaffordable, ergo the most affordable.

    Sliding in this scale seems to make Auckland more affordable.

    • karol 16.1

      Yes – poorly worded in that article.

      The latest, 2014 – 10th Annual Survey still shows Auckland in the “severely unaffordable” range according to the criteria it used.

      Median Multiple (the main ranking calculation they used):
      Severely unaffordable: 5.1 & Over
      Affordable: 3.0 & Under

      By that calcualtion NZ had dropped considerably in the ranking from 5.7 to 8.0

      So clearly there are more cities on the list this year. Whether or not Auckland has “slipped down” the rankings, depends on what cities were added (or taken way) compared with last year, and whether the same cities are below or new cities have been included. I checked. All the cities below Auckland in the 2013 report except one (Swindon) were part of the 2014 report.

      201414 Cities below Auckland
      Auckland (8.0 – Median Multiple rank)
      San Luis Obispo, CA
      Port Macquarie, NSW
      Melbourne, VIC
      Bournemouth & Dorsett
      San Jose, CA
      Sydney, NSW
      Santa Cruz, CA
      San Francisco
      Oakland, CA
      Santa Barbara, CA
      Honolulu, HI
      Vancouver, BC
      China SAR
      Hong Kong

      201322 cities below Auckland
      Auckland (6.7 Median Multiple ranking)
      *Swindon & Wiltshire
      Abbotsford, BC
      *London Exurbs (E & SE England)
      *Kelowna, BC
      *Mandurah, WA
      *Melbourne, VIC
      *Wollongong, NSW
      *San Luis Obispo, CA
      *Gold Coast, QLD
      *London (GLA)
      *San Francisco Oakland, CA
      *San Jose, CA
      *Santa Barbara, CA
      *Coff’s Harbour, NSW
      *Sunshine Coast, QLD
      *Santa Cruz, CA
      *Sydney, NSW
      *Port Macquarie, NSW
      *Bournemouth & Dorsett
      *Honolulu, HI
      *Vancouver, BC
      *Hong Kong
      [* = in the 2014 report]

      So basically, a lot less cities are ranked below NZ in the latest report. Hence Auckland HAS slipped down the rankings, and become more severely unaffordable.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        Great place to “create wealth” using a portfolio of rental properties though.

  17. Saarbo 17

    Housing is a biggie in 2014. On one side are the people desperate to gain access to affordable housing, whether that be renting a state house or purchasing affordable homes that don’t require 2 people to worklike slaves for the rest of their lives to pay off. On the otherside are the investors and home owners who are pretty keen to keep their house prices at the elevated levels that they currently are. Personally I think to alleviate poverty then a new state housing scheme is a must. But there is a chance that a very large state housing scheme in Auckland that significantly increases supply could pop the bubble…something is going to because that is exactly what it is.

  18. (not)BM 18

    people who cant afford houses made poor life choices or are welfare bums

    • karol 18.1

      Thank you, BM.

      Actually, people who profiteer from people’s need for housing are the ones making poor (socially irresponsible) choices.

      • (not)BM 18.1.1

        part of our freedom is the right to make a profit ,winners and losers its the losers who complain

        • vto 18.1.1.1

          why would they complain do you think?

          • vto 18.1.1.1.1

            BM, if you’re around….

            In your family (assuming you have partners and sons and daughters and cousins and aunties etc etc), do you have winners and losers? Do you have, say, a son who is wealthy and a daughter who struggles? Does the fact that the son’s wealth is at the expense of your daugher’s struggle concern you?

            This is the crux.

            Virtually no people that I know would be happy with one child ‘winning’ at the expense of another child.

            Yet this is what you and your type want and implement.

            As said above by the others – your actions are callous and inhumane. I do not want people like you in my society. I don’t like you. You are a negative for human good. You are bad for my community. You can bugger off.

            But I think it goes another step further than that too. I think that you would not want that yourself either, yet you vote for it. This means further that you and your lot are unthinking, unintelligent and shallow (on top of callous and inhumane).

            • BM 18.1.1.1.1.1

              Have a read of this, it may answer your question

              Open mike 06/01/2014

              • vto

                It doesn’t.

                And neither have you.

                Would you be happy with one of your children “winning” at the expense of another?

                • BM

                  You’re arguing with a young feminist girl, not me.

                  • vto

                    Answer the question chicken

                    • Arfamo

                      I don’t think BM understands that there don’t have to be winners and losers to make a profit. The winners and losers thing is what identifies him as unsuitable for living in communities.

                    • BM

                      Even though this argument has nothing to do with me.

                      I don’t like win lose approach to business, that’s for old pricks like Larry Ellison.
                      This need to crush and destroy your opponent is some sort of baby boomer/old person throw back due to the influence of WW2 etc.

                      I prefer the approach of organizations such as google, I might have a larger piece of pie than my competition but at least he has some pie.

                      Tends to my for better business relationships.

                    • Arfamo

                      part of our freedom is the right to make a profit ,winners and losers its the losers who complain

                      Then why did you say this? How do you reconcile that with what you’ve just said.

                    • BM

                      For fucks sake, I didn’t write that, it’s some annoying young feminist that’s pretending to be me.

                      Look at the gravatars, you may notice a slight difference.

                    • Arfamo

                      Oh. Lol. Sorry. That is such a terrible thing for someone to do. That is right up there with voting for National. Pure evil. If I were you I’d storm off out of here in a huff and never come back.

                      Seriously though, that’s a no no. Impersonating someone else. Not good.

                  • dave

                    BM your a total wanker you callous prick winners and losers!!!!!!!!everybody needs a home BM.

                    • BrucetheMoose

                      BM – the old argument of the winners and losers scenario is the classic sociopath’s reasoning in order to justify their selfish behaviour and satisfy their conscience. The law of the jungle and strongest will survive nonsense in other words. You do know who fully used that philosophy to it’s fullest to justify his power lust and manipulate an entire country to embark on a insane campaign of domination and destruction, causing tens of millions of deaths and even more suffering – don’t you? Get with the times BM. The winners and losers mentality belongs in last century, it has no future in this one. Otherwise we simply have no future.

                    • BrucetheMoose

                      The old argument of the ‘winners and losers’ scenario is the classic sociopath’s reasoning to justify their selfish behaviour and is used in order to satisfy their conscience. The law of the jungle and strongest will survive nonsense in other words. You do know who fully used that philosophy to it’s fullest to justify his power lust and manipulate an entire country to embark on a insane campaign of domination and destruction, causing tens of millions of deaths and even more suffering – don’t you? Society needs to get with the times. The winners and losers mentality belongs in last century, it has no future in this one. Otherwise we simply have no future.

        • karol 18.1.1.2

          What sort of system is it where the competition always mean some people will not have enough to survive on? Callous and inhumane system.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1.1.2.1

            Callous and inhumane people who changed the system to this particular setting, despite the fact that they were already wealthy, and despite the fact that there were tried and tested real-world alternatives available.

            Callous and inhumane people who maintain this state of affairs.

            • Draco T Bastard 18.1.1.2.1.1

              Callous and inhumane people who maintain this state of affairs.

              Otherwise known as government who do what business wants and not what the people want.

        • Draco T Bastard 18.1.1.3

          There is no inherent right to make a profit and, no, it wasn’t the choices of the poor that made it impossible for them to afford to live but the decisions of governments as they kowtowed to the rich.

        • Tracey 18.1.1.4

          making a profit is a “right” BM? Are you sure?

  19. Tracey 19

    Thanks for the posts molly

  20. tricledrown 20

    blinkered monetarist does that include john keys mum.
    the middle classes are now getting squeezed out of the auckland CHCH market the next generation of middle classes will have to stay home with their parents live in a tiny apartment or live in a rural small town.
    The productivity commission said the cost of housing is the single biggest factor holding back New Zealands prosperity.
    Ask Don Brash rodney hide who demanded productivity commission.

  21. dave 21

    the hidden side of the housing bubble is the dept bomb that’s building up i hate think where this is heading we carried on our merry way after 2008 gfc we just love dept! almost 185 billion dollars all on housing ,

  22. greywarbler 22

    A new housing survey to give us a reaslistic view of our market and affordability of housing. With comment by Hugh Paveltich et al, property speculators beating the drum for more greenfield property to be made available. That will bring the price down – more supply. For how long? Christchurch survey author Hugh Pavletich said that year after year there was debate by economists over the accuracy of the income figures used in the survey.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/9629141/Housing-affordability-getting-worse

    We hardly do anything beside farming now, we can’t afford to put ticky tacky boxes on every bit of flat land so property speculators can provide inadequate houses for the proles. And leaving speculators doing something that government ought to do build long term affordable housing that stays in the state system. This is by getting people to buy them, or rent to buy on the same basis that retirement villages work. State renters then get a house, at a reasonable price, they get security, and if they keep the place in good order they get a priority pass to a state house in another area if they have to move. Also they get their money back, less some costs. The figures need to be done, but it could be that state housing could pay for itself with this group of people.

    Others who have a poor care record, need help looking after houses properly, which would keep destruction and deterioration down. A house one of my family rented, never had the windows open, hence a build-up of damp which went into the gib board. Talking to the tenants would help with coping with such problems. It might have been they were very afraid of that night time rapist, Rewa? who was busy for some long months. Or burglars while they were working. Did they have a security stay, and know how it works.

    Taking an interest in tenants and regular checking that they know to air a house, get drips fixed, etc. would help save expensive repairs and bad feeling. For the worst, concrete walls and painted floors that could be hosed would be sensible. That would provide something for families especially where there are young children, simple but with rugs on the floor and light painted walls, windows that closed tightly, and reasonable furniture and whiteware that worked it would be pleasant and no-bassle. Permission to put posters up on the walls etc would be given so they wouldn’t lose any bond that would be paid. And the undisciplined couldn’t kick interior walls down then. Probably more window glass would be broken, but that would be less expensive to repair.

    • karol 22.1

      Yes, gw, that is the research I cited in my post. But even on TV3 News tonight, economists at the ANZ who disgrees with the way the figures in that survey are compiled, agree that incomes are not increasing as much as house prices – the general finding of the survey.

      • Molly 22.1.1

        Watched the news as well, and the person that composed the affordability report brought out that old chestnut “free up land on the fringes”.

        That freed land might be affordable to develop, but is usually less affordable to live in. Residents require a vehicle to get to shops, doctors, schools, amenities etc. The development of green fields means – once again – the requirement for good sustainable design in terms of health and community is once again lost to the cheaper building option of one house on a square of land.

        Perhaps we should talk about state “affordable communities” – mainly because the long-term benefit of a well-designed community is phenomenal. Too much planning oversight ends with property boundaries at the moment, and there is little connection between the development and the community it is built in.

        Remember one of the first HNZ developments in Palmerston North understood this and deliberately created a walkable neighbourhood with a variety of building types with access to recreational facilities – Savage Crescent – as recognised by Palmerston North City Council in 1996 and original design plans.

  23. (not)BM 23

    blah blah blah we cant afford a house boohoo may be if you lot stopped opposing John key you could!

    • karol 23.1

      BM, that’s a totally useless comment. I never said I couldn’t afford a house. I rent and can pay for it (although I do think it, and other accommodation in Auckland is over-priced, re percentage it takes of people’s incomes). But I am concerned many others can’t afford even what I can afford. The facts speak for themselves re-affordability and the numbers living in garages etc.

      And how would NOT opposing Key change the unaffordability crisis?

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 23.1.1

        So, if we stopped opposing John Key we’d be rewarded with lower house prices? John Key is the PM and house prices are unaffordable (not for me personally, before you start, fool). Kind of the point of the post.

        I think if we put John Key in a sack and sent him to Hawaii it would make good youtube, but I can’t see how it would affect the housing affordability crisis.

        Personally I think we need to revalue a day’s work.

      • greywarbler 23.1.2

        Karol
        You are so patient! Treating RWNJs as if they were worth your time and can actually understand the words.

    • Paul 23.2

      You’re gibbering, poor fellow.

    • Draco T Bastard 23.3

      It’s the actions of John Key and this National led government that are making housing unaffordable.

      • Try deliberately “stimulating” the economy to create a false appearance that we are actually improving, when infact the economy was going nowhere.
        $50 billion in extra borrowings does not suggest a healthy economy. If your house was worth $300,000 yesterday, and it now is worth $500,000 today, without any improvements, have you made any significant improvements to the economy?
        Perhaps the point of note though, is that this Government has happily stood by and watched as this country has been transformed into a country now divided in two. One that has wealth and aspirations, the other, without money, and fast losing hope.

  24. jcuknz 24

    There was an interesting report from I believe London where young singles, and not so young singles find rents exhorbitant and the idea to to convert containers into studio units. This is cost effective by quite a margin over subsidising rents.

    From my younger days of renting the idea of a container studio sounds very attractive and not just suitable for housing excess prisoners, or holiday homes as was proposed a few years back.

    The concept of everybody with their quarter acre section is quite ridiculous I have happilly lived on a fraction of that for the last 50 years with first the family home and now my retirement home. .

    Another angle to the situation was the discussion some years back on the merits of renting over home owneship and there was not much in it. Then on the security of tenure is the concept of leasing where I remember my aunt being very pleased with the fact that she had been given a 99 year lease on her cenral london flat, now she is dead the block is an office building from what I could see when I passed by on a nostalgic trip a couple of years ago.

    • Molly 24.1

      You are talking about Container City in London I think. I believe it was a council supported development which encouraged artists to spaceshare.

      Re small spaces. My children have collected second hand materials and designed a cob cottage (around 16m2) to have a go at making their own building. Trench is dug, and materials are there. What is stopping us is the cost of getting a building consent – and probably engineering calculations. The design exercise is what got us interested in small spaces to start off with, and the idea of well-designed as opposed to large is one I’m in agreement with.

      • jcuknz 24.1.1

        I believe that people are their own worst enemies in this situation … there was the hullaballo over the leaky homes and as a result the politicians encouraged the beaurocrats to be more and more restrictive and expensive. Aparently you cannot modify a motor vehicle from what came out of the factory these days without an engineer’s report … sounds like jobs for the boys the way other sectors have placed restrictions on the public ” for safety reasons” yeah right as Tui puts it.
        With the invasion of the American concept of litigation people are designing more and more stringent ‘safety rules’ whose idea is less to protect people but the beaurocrats becuase every time something goes wrong there are the vocals calling for ‘heads to roll’.
        Having built two houses and modified vehicles in past days without undue supervision I am I am glad to be ‘past it’ becuase of age …. originally I was v ery glad of the original Building Regulations becuase they taught me what was required as a non-building industry person, unpopular with the industry becuase it stopped short-cuts leading to problems, but they were scrapped and replaced by an unhelpful system requiring ‘experts’ at high cost to certify what is proposed will work.
        Rant over 🙂

        • Molly 24.1.1.1

          It was a while back, but I think I submitted on that bill – for the reasons you outline. When I say think – I recall writing a submission but don’t know if I got round to sending it after hearing back from Sue Bradford.

          I had contacted Sue Bradford – so she must have been the MP in charge of that bill at that time – and questioned whether the new building requirements would be effective as a response to the leaky building debacle.

          Also, I asked if owner builders would be required to meet those obligations. Given that most leaky buildings were the product of fly-by-night developers – and inadequate council oversight – it probably would have been less troublesome to educate both building consent officers/engineers and council inspectors than to require builder’s registrations and oversight.

          Sue’s response was that owner/builders would be provided for. But I don’t know if that is the case – having neither the inclination or wherewithal to build my own house.

          I do wonder about the lack of clarity sometimes when problem solving. I see a lot of situations were the end results have required that “something be done”. I agree on resolving problems but do get frustrated when the reasons for the problem are not identified and effectively addressed.

          A solution that does not solve unfortunately seems to be the norm these days. Especially in government.

      • greywarbler 24.1.2

        In early days, there was a core cottage built, and then lean to’s were built on, particularly for the laundry and kitchen, but with a higher core up on foundations. There could be the opportunity to fix to the outer cladding and suitable supports under and go on a concrete slab. The appearance would be quaint. Perhaps we could start thinking practically about suitable designs allowing cheaper housing rather than rigid hegemony by builders and planners.

        • Molly 24.1.2.1

          There’s a really good book – The Company We Keep – from a builder in Martha’s Vineyard (speaking of unaffordable communities) who kind of fell into property development in a roundabout way.

          End result of more than two decades of building and addressing affordability in different ways, is that he ended up creating a collective development company where employees after five years, were looked at as potential shareholders – and board members – for the company. He wanted to ensure the company – South Mountain – would continue when he retired.

          Over the years, he came to the conclusion that the separation of building practices led to a lack of continuity and craftsmanship and so the company approaches the task of residential building from design to completion.

          One design component that they include is:
          To design the structure so that walls/windows doors may be removed to accommodate lifestyle or ownership changes without requiring full demolitions or expensive structural rework.

          He persuades owner builders to spend the extra nominal amount in foundations and structure upfront to accommodate future changes. Then every stage of the build is recorded and documented and the owner receives an owners manual noting where all the wiring, plumbing and structural forms are.

          When I look at the use of triangular trusses for cheaper roof building and think of that wasted space – and how we build stud walls to accommodate only the original design – it makes me wonder where NZ’s much lauded innovation is.

          • greywarbler 24.1.2.1.1

            Molly
            That sounds interesting I will look at it. Have to dash now. Thanks for responding with that. You may feel like me that too often we get bogged down in the adopted norm. and hey there’s more than one way to do anything, more like one hundred possibly.

            If the pollies and the fatocrats want to take us back to poor colonial days, then we will have to approach things in a more simple way without the high-class disdain for the plain and practical. And change can happen, just because of mindless fashion. Look at all the mud coloured houses being painted, the industrial grey, sleet and prison coloured houses. When it is mainly practical we will just have to suck it and do it.

            We had one of our foremost architects in NZ design living huts for slum dwellers in Manila or somewhere that could be built using found materials, sometime in the 70’s? We can take the model train off the rails and set it on a different track. It just requires an overview and to lean over and pick it up and replace it on lines to a different place.

            • Molly 24.1.2.1.1.1

              As mentioned before this is one of my areas of interest – not of professional expertise.,,

              But one exercise we did for a design project with the kids was to design a house, that changed from couple – to family home – to reduced family home when the children left.

              It was actually not that hard to design a small 65m2 home, that could be added to when children arrived – and then could be divided – simply by sealing a couple of internal doors, to create a smaller home and a self-contained ground floor flat suitable for elderly parents or renting out.

              Despite the transitional nature of homeowners now, there are still communities with long-time residents – usually the working class/ lower income suburbs. The ability to only buy (and accrue debt) for the size of the house that you actually need, and make long-term connections to community and place should be considered.

              Couples don’t need three bedroom houses. One of my favourite rentals with my partner when we were childless was a bedsit in London with shared bathroom and utilities.

  25. jcuknz 25

    Unfortunately National have a blind spot over state housing and I am not sure any argument will get them to change.

  26. (not)BM 26

    if we were really serious about affordable housing then the money supply that is fuelling the bubble needs to be turned off a house has become an asset class instead of a roof to keep the weather out .
    whack the interest rates up ,impose a capital gains tax, stop new Zealand from being used to launder dirty money make house prices relevant to new Zealand incomes first then revalue a days work because if we push wages up before a collapse in the housing bubble then the banks will gain not new Zealanders. ,building homes on fringes of Auckland is stupid you swap housing poverty for energy poverty.get the bloody trains out there first

    • Draco T Bastard 26.1

      Wow, you almost got it. You’re right that the money supply is helping drive house prices with the other main driver being offshore owners.

      What actually needs to happen is that the private banks be prevented from creating money and borrowing from offshore (there is absolutely no reason for foreign money to be used in NZ). Then the government creates the money instead and loans it out via KiwiBank at 0% interest* to those who want to purchase their own home and builds several thousand residences as state housing for those that are more inclined to rent. The total supply of houses, ensured by government building, should be 1 to 2 percent over demand. This will keep rents and house prices down.

      * There’d be strict caveats on the loan.

      • TightyRighty 26.1.1

        yea that won’t lead to hyper inflation and debasement of the currency. That’s never happened before in the history of the world. your’e such a dingbat when it comes to economic theory.

        • Draco T Bastard 26.1.1.1

          Dude, we already have hyperinflation in the housing market due to over creation of money by the private banks – same as it happened last time. It’s not the government printing money that causes hyperinflation – it’s the private banks. What it really comes down to is the controls that prevent excess money being created and that the money created is also destroyed. I’ve always said that and put forward ideas as to how to put them in place so, no, it won’t cause hyperinflation nor will it cause debasement of the currency – it’s over valued as it is due to the high interest rates we’ve got.

          • TightyRighty 26.1.1.1.1

            “high interest rates we’ve got” – you having a giggle?

            i was only just born in the 80’s, but my parents and their generation regale me with stories of how lucky we are to have single digit interest rates.

            It is the government printing money that creates hyperinflation. You have localised one market and blamed it’s funding sector (or money creator for the purposes of this discussion) for it’s hyperinflation. take your own theory on hyperinflation in the housing market and expand it to the entire economy, then ask yourself why inflation is only 1.6%? because it’s money creator isn’t creating lots of money.

            It’s not the controls, it’s not how the money is destroyed, it’s how much money is created. inflation is an observable phenomenon since before economics as a study was invented.

            there are two really good methods to control rampant house price increases.

            1) increase the stock of housing. don’t let overseas people by existing housing stock. if they wish to purchase, they need to build new housing. sell existing state houses in well to do areas and use the capital to build two to three new houses further out in what would be considered traditionally state-housing suitable suburbs.

            2) increase the land available for housing. the housing component of house prices are worth fuck all, it’s the land value. closer to town in a nice area? 7 figures easy. further away from town nice area mid to high six figures. further away and a bit edgy, low to mid six figures.

            this is hardly rocket science.

            • vto 26.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope. Governments don’t print money. Get some more learnings as your basics render all else useless.

              • TightyRighty

                really? governments don’t print money. going to split hairs and claim that issuing government bonds backed by nothing more than the governments promise to pay it back at a future date isn’t printing money?

                Or maybe skynet has become self aware and the printing press’ themselves are doing it?

                money is created through the credit multiplier effect, which has it’s transactional grounding through the retail / wholesale banking system. this “flow” is affected by interest rates, which in NZ are nominally set by the reserve bank, which is independent of government operationally, but must follow policy aims dictated by the government of the day. i.e. keep inflation between x and y using this tool. in effect allowing the government to control the “flow” of money created.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  That’s the theory – doesn’t work though as the exponentially climbing amount of M3 in the system shows.

                  • TightyRighty

                    seriously, quoting the greens on economic issues? how much do you think the national party knows about environmental issues? just your opinion.

                    probably the stupidest thing you’ve said, today. of course m1 is only created by the reserve bank, but m3 is backed by the reserve bank. capital adequacy ratios, LVA’s and interest rates to stem the demand for lending are all tools that the reserve bank uses to control money creation. private banks would not be allowed to do it without the approval of the reserve bank.

                    Surely you know all this? or did the rank aussie bludger tell you otherwise? you stupid git. thank christ you are probably too much of a blundering neckbeard to ever be voted into power. you would actually drag down the economic understanding of the greens caucus.

                    • Paul

                      Oh..you’re here with your usual mix of cheerful insults, rants and barely coherent messages.
                      Every time I hear folk like you throw tantrums about the Greens, I know they are doing something right.

                    • TightyRighty

                      i would expect a green supporter to consider informed economic insights “rants and barely coherent messages”

                      I’m not throwing a tantrum, the greens haven’t done anything. they can’t really. being last cab off the rank each time pretty effectively nullifies any possible impact they may have. it’s little surprise that you consider speaking the truth about DTB’s economic literacy and the shallow economic talent pool that is the greens caucus a tantrum.

                      Keep up with the observations though Paul. Made a single contribution to any argument apart from commenting on how other people comment?

            • Draco T Bastard 26.1.1.1.1.2

              It is the government printing money that creates hyperinflation.

              Nope. Britain didn’t have hyper-inflation back when they were using tally sticks.

              You have localised one market and blamed it’s funding sector (or money creator for the purposes of this discussion) for it’s hyperinflation.

              then ask yourself why inflation is only 1.6%? because it’s money creator isn’t creating lots of money.

              Why are house prices so high?
              The money creator is creating lots of money. The real problem is that most of the money that the banks create is loaned out to housing mortgages pushing up the price of housing.

              take your own theory on hyperinflation in the housing market and expand it to the entire economy,

              Why would I do that? As I’ve said time and time again – increased spending by the government comes with increased taxation ergo, no significant increase of money in the economy thus no hyperinflation.

              It’s not the controls, it’s not how the money is destroyed, it’s how much money is created.

              So, that would be the controls which determine how much money is created and destroyed thus controlling the amount of money in circulation?

              Fuck, you’re a moron.

              • TightyRighty

                No, you’re the fucking moron. That’s why my relaying of the settled science of inflationary measures is the orthodox method, and why what you propose always sends governments and economies to fucking ruin.

            • dave 26.1.1.1.1.3

              one problem people move Auckland roading is one large jamb,the council is on the right path with the unitary plan ripping up more of the country side is not the answer

      • BM2 26.1.2

        the supply side of the equalisation is projects like labours kiwi build and we got to seriously look at how we build in this country and get some real economies of scale in the whole process generic designs manufacture compartmentalisation pre assembles of structures complete with services

  27. tricledrown 27

    BM turning the money supply off
    Is not going to increase the house supply infact the reverse as Nactional found out.

    • Draco T Bastard 27.1

      National didn’t turn the money supply off – they just made it so that only the rich had access to it.

  28. tricledrown 28

    true but they changed the rules back for new builds only 10% deposit because the tightening money supply virtually stopped all new builds.
    so bms argument is fucked on all levels

    • Draco T Bastard 28.1

      true but they changed the rules back for new builds only 10% deposit because the tightening money supply virtually stopped all new builds.

      True but what that showed is just how much our economy has become dependent upon private bank created money. We really do need to do something about that especially as it’s the cause of our economy being unsustainable.

    • Molly 28.2

      I found that requirement interesting. As far as private development goes – someone wanting to build their own home – the deposit requirement was often already at 20% if not higher.

      So, it was interesting to see that National put the deposit/loan ratio at 20%, and it had an impact on new builds. Does this mean that those who were impacted by this change were mainly professional developers who could no longer get commercial loans for their developments from the bank because it was prohibited?

      And now, we have a 20% deposit required for an existing house in an area, and only 10% required for a new build – even though this may be more expensive? Private owner/builders are likely still subject to the development ratio – but if they are not – that is one of the long standing conservative bank policies that has gone down the road thanks to this policy.

  29. BM 29

    i personally think the reserve bank governor has saved a lot of first home buyers a world of hurt standing on the fence at this time is not a bad thing.

  30. jcuknz 30

    +1 BM and DTB

  31. jcuknz 31

    Even 10% of current house prices seems a lot of money to me and my solution way back was to buy a decrepid rundown building and live in it while building a new house in the backyard and only after showing what we could achieve, my wife and I, did I get a small mortgage to complete …. but I was earning somewhat above average and was secure in my job which only required a 40hr week.
    I am very glad I am not ‘young’ today.

  32. MrSmith 32

    The Reserve banks new lending restrictions for first home buyers are nothing but another transfer of wealth to the already rich,

    It’s this simple: People need to live somewhere and if you make it to hard for then to buy, then they must rent, and who will be providing that rental accommodation, the already rich in most cases, with capital from the banks created out of thin air.

    The Banksters like it because they don’t have to sign risky loans to new clients, the landlords and investors like it because the pool for tenants increase.

    And just when there seems some light on the horizon for the poor plebs with some wage increases interest rates will rise, so repayment amounts go up canceling out the wage rises, and then rents go up as well because landlords pass on increased interest costs to the tenants.

    When you have a former banker Graeme Wheeler (who formally was managing director of the World Bank) running our Reserve bank, then the question has to be asked, who is the reserve bank governor working for?

    • dave 32.1

      that is why the housing market needs stiff medicine cranking up interest rates will kill the parasites ! pain is unavoidable and the faster the better, cheap money produces bubbles !

  33. captain hook 33

    “The Market” in New Zealand is just a catchall phrase to denote the latest gang that the tories have given a subsidy to.
    There is no market in New Zealand.
    Every transaction is rigged.

  34. SpaceMonkey 34

    Great post Karol… thanks.

    The way successive Governments (national and local) have colluded with the bankers and property developers to work the housing “market” leaves me cold. Just another get rich scheme for those on the inside, to hell everybody else.

    It’s posts like this that remind me why I’m keen to build an earthship home… once I find the right land.

  35. Even the Communist Party of China recently declared that resource allocation is best achieved through markets; why can’t urban planners in so-called market economies reach the same conclusions and let markets decide how much land and floor space households and firms will consume in different locations?

    Because as long as it’s up to local and central government to provide new developments with roads, water, sewerage disposal, schools, hospitals, you-name-it, the market does its deciding while being offered huge incentives to build sprawl.

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