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The housing crisis and the Government’s response

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, March 25th, 2021 - 163 comments
Categories: capital gains, housing, jacinda ardern, labour, tax, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uncategorized - Tags:

Tuesday was an interesting day in New Zealand politics.

The Government released a series of what I thought were quite radical policy changes affecting the housing market.

Having spent the past three decades practising law and the last two decades being involved in Local Government I believe I have a reasonably keen sense of how the housing market operates.  Every week I deal with individuals and couples buying their first home, couples upsizing, couples separating and sorting out the carnage, and older residents downsizing and heading to the last stop before they shuffle off this mortal coil.

The past decade has been pretty intense.  First there was the recovery from the Global Financial Crisis, which was caused by greed and the insane actions the corporate world would take for a quick buck.  In the US of A the merchant banks should have been treated in the way the Capitalist system requires and left out to wither and die.  Instead they were put on state sponsored life support and survived.  The market stagnated at the time.

In Aotearoa we had the decimation of the construction industry caused by leaky homes, the sugar rush caused by having to rebuild our second largest city twice, and pressure caused by opening up the borders to people with lots of money.  Immigration surged, a housing stock deficit appeared and suddenly working class people, especially in Auckland, found that the kiwi dream of owning their own home was just a dream.

House prices took off.  And at the same time the last National Government started selling off state houses.  With a growing population but with state house numbers declining things became really strained.

If you want to have a graphic appreciation of why we are in the situation that we are in this graph taken from the paper Stocktake of New Zealand Housing prepared by economists Johnson, Howden-Chapman and Eaqub for the Government in 2018 summarises things well.

And at a time of increasing population the Government decided to decrease state housing numbers.

Just remember in June 2011 New Zealand’s population was 4.384 million.  By September 2017 it was 4.836 million.  Scarily the current population estimate is 5.112 million.

And the problem with an ageing population is that the number of houses required increases as the number of  inhabitants per house decreases.

Things were getting that bad that in 2016 National introduced the two year bright line test on residential sales excluding the family home.

Fast forward to today.  The changes made by this Government are the most radical I can ever recall being made.  Pushing the bright line test out to five years makes it a fairly comprehensive capital gains tax.  It is not a new tax, National introduced it and Labour has extended it.

One change attracted attention however and National decided to go full cray on it.  Previously the scenario was that if you bought a house, sold it 6 years later but had lived in the house for less than half of the time you had to pay tax on the profit.  This has now been changed so that if you rent it out for more than one year then you pay tax on the increase that relates to the period it was rented out, not for the full period.  The incidence of the tax will increase but the amount paid will decrease.  Tax will not be paid in the capital gain on the family home as long as it is the family home.  This has not stopped National from misrepresenting the situation and talking about Police Officers being transferred to Invercargill.

Landlords are not taking the changes well, particularly the change in tax rules so that paid interest is not tax deductible.  This places home owners and landlords on an equal tax footing with both groups now paying interest from after tax earnings.

I presume the complaining landlords are the same people that complain about dole bludgers and people expecting to get something for nothing.  They just cannot see that these criticisms apply especially wrong to them.

Like this guy:

My rough estimates are that he has at least $12 million in rental properties (using average Auckland prices) and approximately $500,000 in mortgage debt.  If he is earning a modest $550 per week average rent for each property he will have gross earnings of $350,000 per annum.  After he sells one property he will have 11 houses, no debt, and again presuming that the sold property was rented for the average Auckland rental he will be worse off than he was before.  All this so he can give the Government the middle finger.

Of the other announcements the announcement of a $3.8 billion infrastructure fund for Councils has been welcomed by Local Government.  I anticipate Auckland Council eyeing up a significant amount of this fund.  National announced something similar in 2016 with a billion dollar fund.  The difference was that National’s was an interest free loan that had to be repaid, Labour’s version is a grant.  One was worth up to $50 million a year.  The other is worth $3.8 billion.

The Green Party’s Julie Ann Genter has these comments about the announcements:

These announcements are a step in the right direction and signal the Government is beginning to front up to the inequality driven by property speculation, but it needs to go further, faster to meet the scale of the housing crisis.

“We welcome the Government identifying and closing a tax loophole which allows investors to deduct mortgage interest costs from their taxable income. This will go some way to discouraging property speculation.

“The increase in infrastructure investment to support new homes must focus on building environmentally sustainable and accessible homes and communities, rather than increasing car-dependent urban sprawl, so people can live in the places where their work, study, and family are.

“The Kāinga Ora debt limit should be increased by $5 billion to actually support Kāinga Ora to build at least 5000 new homes every year, integrated with frequent public transport and active transport connections.

The comments about Kāinga Ora debt levels should be considered further by the Government.  The current problem however is building capacity rather than funding.  In parts of Auckland including Mt Roskill, Mangere and New Lynn there are major redevelopments occurring.  They always take time.

The Government’s announcements were to urgently address an out of control housing market.  I am sure that work on longer term responses will continue.

As for criticism that first home buyer grants do not go far enough the problem always has been that they were inflationary.  Pitching the grants at the lower quartile for purchase price and having an income limit was appropriate.  Otherwise they would be subsidising lawyers buying million dollar homes.

The last few days have been interesting.  The right and greedy landlords hate it.  Elements of the left are attacking the policies as being too timid or not concentrating on areas even though it is clear that the Government is already working on these areas.

For me I think that the the announcements should be taken to address the urgency of current market conditions.  And I believe the Government pushed them as far as it could.

163 comments on “The housing crisis and the Government’s response ”

  1. Sabine 1

    We are spending a million + a day to keep people not in houses but in emergency accomodation for a few days.

    Not one government has done anything close to pushing it as far as they could.

    • Louis 1.1

      Where should people live while houses are being built? Better to be in emergency housing than on the streets.

      • Jenny how to get there 1.1.1

        We could put them in all the empty houses.
        And it won't cost the taxpayer a cent.

        https://www.newsroom.co.nz/cat-maclennan-on-ghost-housing

        • Pat 1.1.1.1

          Nailed it…..the solution to the housing 'shortage' is not so much more construction rather it is changing the expectation that property prices are going to keep growing at multiples of general inflation.

          The numbers clearly show there is sufficient housing in NZ but what we allow it to be used for is the real constraint and any Government can change that tomorrow should they so choose.

        • Louis 1.1.1.2

          How Jenny? they are privately owned. So how about taxing them?

          • Jenny How to get there 1.1.1.2.1

            @Louis. Cars are privately owned. But if you overpark, depriving others of a parking space, your car will be towed or fined.

            The point is, private property is not sacrosanct. It can be fined, it can be taxed, it can be towed away, it can even be confiscated.

            If we can fine people for overparking a car, depriving others of a parking space, why can't we fine people for overparking an empty house depriving others of a living space?

            If central government won't do it. Local government should.

            Vancouver City does it.

            <blockquote>

            The Empty Home Tax (sometimes known as the Vacancy Tax) applies to residential properties within the City of Vancouver that:

            • Have been vacant for six or more months during a calendar year, or;
            • Has not been rented out for 30 or more consecutive days).

            The tax was set up for two reasons:

            1. To make empty or under-utilized properties available for long-term rental, and
            2. To help relieve pressure on Vancouver’s rental housing market, given low rental vacancy rates and high rental costs.

            The bylaw was passed tax in December of 2016, in a context in which rental prices were soaring, and more than 25,000 properties within the city remained empty or under-occupied.

            The tax looks to incentivize rentals, and the net revenues from the Empty Homes Tax will be reinvested into affordable housing initiatives in order to continue providing solutions to Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis.

            The rate of the Empty Home Tax is 1% of a property’s assessed taxable value. This means that for every $1 million dollars of value, the tax will be $10,000.

            What Every Home Buyer Must Know About Vancouver's Empty Home Tax (davidnotary.com)
            </blockquote>

            And here's a suggestion, rich people hate taxes, so let's call it something else. Everyone hates anti-social behaviour, and what could be more anti-social behaviour than depriving families of housing, so let's issue them with infringement notices instead. And keep fining them till they either rent out or sell their vacant properties.

            • Louis 1.1.1.2.1.1

              A house is not like a car and cant be towed away unless its on wheels. Great point on The Empty Home Tax though and thanks for the link.

              " If central government won't do it. Local government should" Good idea.

              • Jenny how to get there

                Hi Louis, thanks for your word of support for an empty homes tax at the local body level. The idea of an empty home tax, implemented at the local body level is not my idea, it is not even a radical idea. It was raised by National Party member and candidate for Auckland Mayoralty Vicky Crone as one of her election planks.

                P.S. I get where you are coming from when you write, "A house is not like a car and cant be towed away unless its on wheels."

                I was reaching for an analogy to show that private property is not sacrosanct.

                And of course you are right, generally a house cannot be towed away. In fact, (for the most part), houses never move from one spot.

                But a house can be compared to a car in a lot of other ways.

                A house, like a car can be owned or rented.

                A house, like a car, can be 'parked up' and left empty.

                A house, like a car, can be taxed. A house like a car can even be stickered.

                A house, like a car, can even, (in extremis), be confiscated.

                https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/government-set-sell-middleton-rd-mongrel-mob-house

                • Louis

                  Interesting read on Crone's Bach tax.

                  "If you think Mayoral candidate Phil Goff, and Deputy Mayor Hulse were being kind in critiquing the Bach Tax you would be right. Facebook remarks to the Bach Tax are not so kind especially when it comes to private property rights"

                  https://voakl.net/2016/06/20/did-mayoral-candidate-crone-suggest-a-bach-tax-auckland2016/

                  • Jenny how to get there

                    As the saying goes; "Those who frame the argument win the argument"

                    Crone's opponents who opposed her 'Empty homes tax' refused to debate the merits, or demerits, of her proposal, instead deliberately and inaccurately reframed it as a 'Bach tax'.

                    Obviously hoping to frighten middle class owners of holiday homes that they were the targets of Crone's empty homes tax proposal.

                    Vicky Crone who admitted to owning a bach herself, wasn't intimidated.

                    “One way of determining whether a home is occupied would be to look at water usage, she said. Ms Crone said she owned a bach at Muriwai but had had friends staying in it for several months.…….”

                    To measure water usage means dwellings connected to the town supply. Which for the most part are not bachs.

                    For the purposes of any empty homes tax, if a dwelling is not connected to the municipal water or sewerage system and is outside the recognised urban boundaries, and is traditionally used as a holiday home. It is a bach not a house and as such can be ruled exempt from an empty house tax. Easy.

                    So much for that bullshit line of argument.

                    Rephrasing the empty homes tax as a bach tax, Crones opponents, were refusing to acknowledge the plight of the thousands of families that have no dwelling at all, let alone a second one to retire to on their holidays.

                    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nzs-homeless-thousands-kiwi-kids-and-could-getting-worse-expert-warns

                  • Jenny how to get there

                    Crone's opponents to the empty homes tax, argued that it would be hard to detect which homes were actually being kept empty. Crone suggested that water usage would be one way of detecting if a dwellin was unoccupied. Crone's opponents responded by saying, 'owners of empty homes could evade detection by leaving the taps running.'

                    Ignoring the fact that since then, under the current water restrictions in Auckland, such an action would be illegal.

                    What this argument exposes is not just the potential criminality but more than this, the total immorality of those who support keeping dwellings empty in a housing crisis.

  2. Visubversa 2

    As Auckland Councillor Richard Hills pointed out this morning, there are 345 investors in New Zealand who own more than 200 houses each. They load debt onto the properties so that they can outbid other people to add to the numbers.

    • Foreign Waka 2.1

      Well, now they have to pay tax as everybody else. Of cause they scream, they louder they shout the better the policy I recon. Far too little and too late though.

  3. Ad 3

    Every older parent who can should give their kids a house deposit.

    Great to see Kainga Ora show itself to be one of our few agencies able to deliver government policy, and at scale.

    Also good to see National with little complain about. The 10 year test will be permanent and will increase.

  4. RedBaronCV 4

    I'll need to read the fine print but how does this affect people who own only one home but have had to rent it out because they have shifted for work and for whatever reason now rent in their new location of Auckland or Wellington because they can't afford or are yet to be able to afford to sell and rebuy?

    • David 4.1

      Short answer, yes you’ll possibly be paying CGT on the family home in this scenario. Here’s a pretty good explainer:

      https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300260832/how-the-government-is-changing-rules-for-renting-out-your-main-home-and-the-brightline-test

      • RedBaronCV 4.1.1

        Which for people who move from the provinces to the main centres and have to rent there while they own only the one home – ouch. Maybe if the family dwelling was a rented that could be offset against the time periods – in it's current state that will hit a lot of younger people who bought outside Auckland because that was all they could afford – and they will now be hit with a tax bill.

        • David 4.1.1.1

          Absolutely. This is the exact scenario a couple of 20 somethings I work with are looking at. Can’t get a deposit to buy in Auckland so were looking to get on the ladder by buying in Hamilton and renting in Auckland. Now that they don’t get interest deductions and face paying CGT that plans out the window. One of my colleagues I spoke to in length yesterday says she now faces being trapped in the rent cycle for so much longer. Suspect this scenario is being played out all over the country.

          • Incognito 4.1.1.1.1

            From your comment it sounds like they bought in Hamilton with the intention to sell. If correct, they would always have to pay CGT.

            https://www.ird.govt.nz/property/buying-and-selling-residential-property/my-buying-or-selling-situation/buy-or-sell-a-rental-property

            • David 4.1.1.1.1.1

              No. They buy in Hamilton to own a house because they can’t afford to buy where they want / need to live because for work. No specific intent at the time of purchase. Now they are locked in for 10 years irrespective of intent. In my experience this is very common amongst the younger generation.

              • Enough is Enough

                The Hamilton property market has been partly fuelled by Aucklanders entering the market for best part of the last decade.

                There has been a lot of speculators, but also a lot of first home buyers doing exactly what you have just described.

                It is an important policy question to be answered. Should first home buyers, purchasing a house in a town they don't live in, because that is all they can afford, be treated as investors?

                • David

                  Indeed. This is the type of issue that would have come up had consultation occurred beforehand.

              • Pat

                They arnt locked in for 10 years…the 10 year BL test applies to purchases after 27/3/2021….they will be subject to either the 2 or 5 year regime depending upon when they bought.

                • David

                  As I said above at least in respect of my two colleagues “they are looking at” ie they haven’t purchased and now won’t for the foreseeable future.

                  • McFlock

                    But the house in Hamilton they were looking to buy is now microscopically more affordable for someone who actually lives in Hamilton.

                    Repeat that enough, looks like the govt might actually have done something about housing affordability.

                    • David

                      Irony is a policy to help first time buyers actually turns some would be first home buyers into perpetual renters … couple of them sitting across from me right now.

                    • arkie

                      couple of them sitting across from me right now

                      Shouldn't you be working then?

                    • David []

                      😊

                    • McFlock

                      Unless they were planning to live in Hamilton more than 50% of the time, they weren't prospective "first home buyers". They were prospective "first property speculators".

                    • Jimmy

                      Christchurch may be another option for an affordable place to buy a first home

                  • Pat

                    fair enough…however nobody is 'locked in'…everyone is free to sell at anytime and pay due taxes on any capital gain….should there be one.

                    Investment comes with risk and that includes regulatory change.

                  • Macro

                    The IRD provides a very good flow chart here which clears up many of the misconceptions they appear to be under. Essentially the govt is looking to influence people to invest in new build properties and in doing so increase the housing stock in NZ.

                    • KSaysHi

                      Investing in new builds is the place to be (or it will be when we get enough materials – might have to mass build using rammed earth or something).

              • McFlock

                lol that old dodge. Wanted to "get on the ladder" but had no intention of selling for a capital gain. tui moment.

                • Ed1

                  It is called "being in the market" – if you want to eventually live in a house you own, investing in that market as soon as you can makes sense. At hte other end, some are not prepared to sell because they may take a few months to buy the next home – they not only have to find a place to rent short term, but if the market climbs 10% in the next few weeks they can't even buy the equivalent of their old dwelling. Those investment markets can be tough!

                  • Pat

                    It is a fraught strategy…..they are disparate markets.

                  • McFlock

                    An "investment". For the capital gain. A lot more risky to try for 20%p.a. returns in the sharemarket than to buy a house.

                    The housing market doesn't give points just because you've been in it for a while. The idea that someone wants to buy a house they won't live in with "no specific intent at time of purchase" (as David put it), just to get a foot on the bottom rung is bullshit.

                    Come to think of it, that's the problem with the property "ladder" analogy. It's an escalator.

                • RedBaronCV

                  Or someone moved from the provinces to a main centre for work and couldn't bridge the gap – so retained ownership of one home. Which brings u the next issue – how about some "incentives" for business to move jobs out of Auckland. Once provincial centres had jobs in insurance companies, banks petrol stations – a lot of these have now gone and most "business leaders" can't seem to see beyond locating a business in Auckland for their own personal convenience.

        • KJT 4.1.1.2

          A lot of well off young people who have bought rentals, to make money outside of Auckland.

          Pushing prices beyond the reach of the local youngsters.

      • Louis 4.1.2

        "Finance Minister Grant Robertson reiterated that "whenever your home is your family home, it is not subject to the bright-line test".

        "The change that we are making is that for periods of time beyond 12 months – you have a 12-month buffer in which you might be needing to move around or do something – beyond that, we will measure the bright-line test for the actual amount of time a property is your family home or not your family home."

        https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/03/grant-robertson-denies-family-homes-subject-to-bright-line-test.html

        "Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Under the policy introduced by the National Government for brightline, there has always been provision for what happens when someone is not living in and using a home as their primary home. It was, however, quite crude. It used 50 percent as the mark. Our view was that you would have, with that rule still in place, some unfortunate and unfair scenarios. Our view was with the extension that we needed to be more specific; we've done that. But the change-of-use rule has always been there, as introduced by National"

        https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20210324_20210324_20

      • mikesh 4.1.3

        The brightline test (or GST) doesn't come into it as you are not actually selling your home. Under the previous rules, interest paid on your original home was non deductible so, under the new rules just announced, nothing will change for you.

    • McFlock 4.2

      ooo, nice edge case. Looks like they'd still be paying tax on their income before mortgage costs, like when they lived in the house they own.

  5. Pat 5

    "As for criticism that first home buyer grants do not go far enough the problem always has been that they were inflationary. Pitching the grants at the lower quartile for purchase price and having an income limit was appropriate. Otherwise they would be subsidising lawyers buying million dollar homes."

    The complaints about the revised price points being inadequate (esp in Auck) miss the message being sent….the government is providing a guaranteed exit price for investors, many of whom will have purchased at considerably lower prices previously.

    And a de facto easing of prices from the current levels.

  6. Marcus Morris 6

    Rents should be frozen at their current levels and landlords should have the ability to raise them annually by an amount pegged to inflation.

  7. Pat 7

    Looks like the banks have got the message

    "BNZ economists say the government is "dead set" on curtailing soaring house prices and "will almost certainly win in the end".

    In a detailed commentary on the housing changes announced by the Government this week, BNZ's head of research Stephen Toplis says the Government had been saying for some time it had wanted to curtail rising prices – but prices have just kept soaring.

    "So, it should come as no surprise that their patience has now been exhausted and a full attack on prices is now underway."

    Toplis says whether or not the measures announced this week have the desired impact or not "is neither here nor there".

    "The fact of the matter is the Government will do what it takes. If this set of policies fails then more will be introduced until such time that house price inflation abates (or even prices fall). The Government is, in large part, staking its credibility on this and cannot be seen to fail."

    https://www.interest.co.nz/property/109683/bnz-economists-say-government-dead-set-curtailing-house-prices-and-will-do-what-it

  8. Muttonbird 8

    Two amazing quotes here from Chloe Swarbrick:

    "Thirty percent of the homes in this country are owned by people who own between four and more than 20 homes," Swarbrick said.

    And:

    Swarbrick said less than a third of New Zealand houses are owned by people who only own one house.

    Let those numbers sink in for a bit and then think about how perverse New Zealand's attitude to housing has become.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/439126/landlords-still-raising-rents-despite-best-financial-circumstances-swarbrick

    I also remember reading a stat the other day that in a period in the second half of 2020 investors borrowed double, get that, double, what first home buyers borrowed. No wonder the government freaked out.

  9. Michael 9

    The big problem for me is the consequences of the proposal; to pour an ice bucket on property development and investing in new homes in this country when we need interest in buying new homes the most. In terms of priorities and goals this is very much an own goal on part of the government. This for me is a big red flag. It is all fine in saying that this puts home owners and landlords on an equal tax footing when this puts landlording very much on an unequal footing with most other investment. It might have sounded good to the focus group but such a change has real consequences.

    It is rather glib to merely point to a 12 house landlord or even in the comments above with regards to 200 house plus landlords as these are among the least affected groups of landlords with this policy change. What this effects far more are those with just one tenancy and those looking to get into property investment as it stuffs with investment gearing ratios required. This proposal heavily shifts the amount of capital required to get into property investment and being a landlord [Wanting to be a purchaser of new homes]. Perversely this change would also likely accelerate the ownership consolidation that is ongoing in the market as landlords with the largest portfolios of properties are far more resourced to cope with this change and likely can take full advantage of it.

    One hopes that this aspect of the otherwise good policy package gets reversed promptly before it does too much damage.

    • mikesh 9.1

      Anyone who cannot enter the property market without borrowing shouldn't be there at all. I suspect that it is too many would-be landlords borrowing in order to get a piece of the action that is pushing up the price of rent.

      • Michael 9.1.1

        Since there is a real and substantial housing shortage in NZ fundamentally rents are set by tenants and what they are prepared to pay and or can pay. What pushes up the price of rent are in fact wage and income increases. Landlords reap that benefit by holding that asset.

        What matters is enabling more houses to be built and the risk here is that Landlords would not want to buy houses to the same net degree as they do now… this means less new homes can be sold and that market crashes: less homes will be built.

        • arkie 9.1.1.1

          in NZ fundamentally rents are set by tenants and what they are prepared to pay and or can pay. What pushes up the price of rent are in fact wage and income increases

          You live in an alternate reality. Wage growth has lagged behind rent increases for years. Someone looking for a place to rent needs to live somewhere, human beings need to live in some form of shelter and because of said housing shortage it's a rentiers market, that's without mentioning the existing 200,000 empty houses that make money laying 'fallow'.

          https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/the-side-eye/25-03-2021/the-side-eyes-two-new-zealands-the-k-shape/

          • Michael 9.1.1.1.1

            Sorry but there are normally around 5-6% of houses classed as unoccupied in every census going back decades because people are at their Crib, on holiday or have a rental going between occupiers, being renovated or being built.. Very few are in fact 'lying fallow'.

            • McFlock 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Try doubling that percentage.

              But your figure would still be tens of thousands of homes.

              When 10,000 new builds a year seems unachievable, incentivising owners to get their dwellings occupied seems like an interesting policy option.

              • Michael

                I have come across a report of 7.6% unoccupied in Auckland at the last census.. This is likely still within the spectrum of the original explanation… For the country the net increase in dwellings failed to do that back in 2011, currently per stats NZ the net dwelling increase for the country was 27,600 for the country last year

                • McFlock

                  But the discussion was about NZ. 200k empty houses, 10-11%.

                  Being 25-50% off the actual figure for a region does not a national estimate approximate.

                  Now, some of those will be uncommonly-used baches for the double-homed. Others will have been "between occupants" on census night. But, like the people who are "between jobs", some will be in that state for the short term, but others will be "long term between occupants".

                  So even if only 10% of unoccupied dwellings are "long term between occupants", that's 20k homes that need to be targeted. Almost a full year's new dwellings put back into the "homes for people" market.

                  It would be a start. Because we can live in these ghost houses.

        • mikesh 9.1.1.2

          Landlords set rents by looking at their outgoings and then adding their desired profit. If their outgoings include mortgage payments the rent they will demand will be higher; and in this "sellers" market tenants will have to pay it. Also, landlords will borrow more, knowing that they can recover the higher mortgage payments from their tenants.

          Landlords who act in this way are following a faulty business plan. In the words of Warren Buffet they "swimming naked" and, now that Robertson has "pulled the rug", they will have to face up to paying their mortgages from their own pockets or exit the market. In the short term of course some tenants will suffer but, in the longer term, a new equilibrium will have to be reached.

          If would-be landlords had not been so eager to get into the market, that they went cap in hand to the bankers, this situation might well have been avoided.

    • mickysavage 9.2

      "The big problem for me is the consequences of the proposal; to pour an ice bucket on property development and investing in new homes in this country when we need interest in buying new homes the most. "

      The Government has been very careful not to do this.

      The rules only apply to buying and selling existing houses, not to new builds.

      • Michael 9.2.1

        Your position is hard for me to source from within the information provided by the press release, do you have additional info? Since the removal of interest deductibility applies to all property investment per the press release.

        Looking from the top down the tenancy share for all private occupied dwellings in this country has been remarkably stable since around 2001, with the tenancy numbers growing in line with over all dwelling growth since then. There is little if any evidence of property investors crowding out owner occupiers in recent years in the over all statistics. But what is seen is a property shortage with the ratio of dwellings to adults going from 2:1 to 2.3:1 since around 1991.

  10. Alan 10

    With all the best will in the world, there will be a significant time lag between announcing that billions will be poured into building of new homes and the actual completion of such homes.

    In the mean time the supply of rental properties will reduce, rents will soar and there are going to be a lot of very pissed off voters on both the left and the right.

    Renters in particular are going to face real hardship over the next few years as a direct result of these policies. Grants comment that "renters can look elsewhere" is absurd, and he knows it.

    My bet is labour will once again be forced into a back flip on policy or face decimation at the next election – take your pick.

    • Pat 10.1

      "For all but new purchasers this matters little as it will simply reverse some of the exceptional capital gain we have seen over the recent past. The possibility of a substantial correction is multiplied if we are right with our potential [housing] oversupply diagnosis and if the recently announced measures have a substantial negative impact on sentiment. House prices would come under significant pressure if everyone headed for the exit at the same time."

      On that potential oversupply of houses, Toplis says in the period prior to the arrival of Covid-19, growth in new houses was not keeping up with population growth so an already stretched market was becoming more stretched.

      "But over the last twelve months we have been building far more houses than are needed to cope with the population’s expansion. Indeed, right here and now, we are probably building one new dwelling for every one person increase in population. This is clearly not sustainable."

      Toplis says the BNZ economists' forecasts suggest the country will continue to build more houses than we need to cope with population growth for some time."

      Pressure may well be the other way….the undersupply issue was always overstated

      • Alan 10.1.1

        There will still be a significant lag well within the cycle for the next election.
        Plus many renters will never be in a position to buy a home, how are they going to feel about the massive rent increases coming over the next few years when they have no alternative?
        You are seeing these announcements through rose-tinted glasses, the reality is going to be ugly for many that labour purports to champion.

        • Barfly 10.1.1.1

          Just under 200,000 homes empty at last census – ghost house levy (a fat one) = hey look more rentals available.

          • mikesh 10.1.1.1.1

            Perhaps the government should place "ghost" houses under "statutory management" and simply rent them out as social housing.

            • Michael 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Good idea. Rent controls at HNZ income-related rates (NMT 25% of tenant income) also necessary.

        • Pat 10.1.1.2

          As I said on other threads if investors refuse to accept the new reality there are plenty of more draconian methods to get through to them.

          And you may wish to consider the dwelling occupancy ratio now is lower than it was in the mid nineties….there was no housing shortage being touted then. The shortage is a shortage of affordability.

          • Alan 10.1.1.2.1

            You don't get out much in the real world do you Pat.

            Try running your line of thought past people attempting to buy or rent in places like Tauranga, you might get a rude shock.

            Try running your line past tertiary students looking for flats in the main centres, be prepared for some very bad language.

            "Draconian methods" – sounds very East Berlin Pat, are you sure you want the caring party to be portrayed like that???

            • Pat 10.1.1.2.1.1

              "Draconian methods" – sounds very East Berlin Pat, are you sure you want the caring party to be portrayed like that???"

              Dosnt matter one jot what I want, the Government have made it clear what their intention is….you can 'fight city hall' if you think it will serve you well.

              Just remember who makes the rules…..and the ratio of investors to nots.

              • Alan

                you are forgetting the large group of renters who have just been screwed by this decision, they vote too………..

                • Pat

                  Many renters do vote…I wonder who they will blame if their rent is hiked?…the current narrative will probably intensify, certainly the ones I know dont blame the government when their rent is increased, they say "f**king landlord bought the place for song years ago, never fixes anything and now wants an extra X dollars a week, bloody government should do something about it"

                  They just did…..feeling a bit under siege??

                  • Alan

                    you are forgetting they have to live somewhere, introducing policy that puts the squeeze on existing rental stock with a promise to build a lot more houses"soon" is not very smart

                    • McFlock

                      lol that "squeeze" bow is a long one to draw.

                      For example, tertiary students are already reamed by campus-area landlord. Those landlords won't stop renting out, because they're honest about running an exploitative business.

                      The idea that many of the landlords are holding back because they're nice people is a joke.

                      The only time I've seen landlords not charging full market rates (or letting missed payments slide) is because the tenants didn't complain if the house wasn't entirely up to snuff. Holes in the toilet floor, chimney clearance not being to spec, that sort of thing.

                    • Pat

                      were going over the same old ground again….the investors/speculators have all the information they need, can apply it to their personal positions and decide what they are going to do.

                      You say they will hike rents……I say theyd be stupid to do so.

                      As said at the start, the government have made plain their expected outcome and they control policy.

                    • mikesh

                      Landlords need tenants otherwise their "business" goes down the drain.

            • Gabby 10.1.1.2.1.2

              Draconian sounds very Athenian matey, you'd be on board with the greeks surely, or are you more an imperial rome kinda guy?

    • Then rent controls and penalties ( increased property tax levels etc ) applied to owners of empty properties ( properties empty for no good reason ) should be the next set of levers applied by the Government ? I see no reason to give the landlord class in NZ a get out of jail free card .

      • Alan 10.2.1

        and East Berlin speaks again, screw those rich successful guys eh Dal

        • Dal Tarrent 10.2.1.1

          You seem to stuck on the idea that any sort of controls applied by the government over a free market economy constitutes some scary Marxist conspiracy theory ? I prefer the view point of J M Keynes myself – much like the Labor party of the mid century and earlier . Government providing guide rails and some semblance of controls to ensure at least equal opportunities for all in Society and doing what they can to prevent a massive redistribution of wealth to a Landlord Class and the 0.1%'ers . If you have a problem with that approach one might assume you are part of the vested interests in this case ?

          • Alan 10.2.1.1.1

            "the landlord class" – says it all really with regards to your view of the world, this is 2021, classes do not exist any more,

            • arkie 10.2.1.1.1.1

              this is 2021, classes do not exist any more

              The class consciousness might not be there but your's is a ridiculous claim. There are those who labour for their income (working class) and those who's income is from owning things (capitalists/bourgeoisie). The working class can be further divided into the Precariat and the Professional Managerial Class. It only suits those at the top to undermine class analysis.

            • Stuart Munro 10.2.1.1.1.2

              It's certainly true that the new privileged have none of the trappings of gentility, but the financial underpinning of class – a parasitic unproductive class leeching off the lives of the less fortunate, has never been more obvious. Or more shameful.

            • Gabby 10.2.1.1.1.3

              That's what the ruling class want us to believe.

              • Muttonbird

                Yeah, the property owning class believe everyone is treated equally. It helps them sleep at night pretending we still live in an egalitarian paradise.

                To be fair it's difficult to pay much attention to those below when your properties are making double digit gains every single year. All gets a bit heady.

                Ad betrayed the significance @3, his first sentence on this thread:

                Every older parent who can should give their kids a house deposit.

                How does this do anything other than reinforce the intergenerational structure of society into the haves and have nots?

                • Stuart Munro

                  His aim wasn't entirely sociopathic – one hopes families will show intergenerational altruism.

                  But that thing that businesses were dead keen on, that Treasury foolishly let them have, Labour Market Flexibility, played merry hell with workers' chances of sustaining a longish term mortgage.

                  Now we have a poverty generator on a par with the highland clearances or the seizing of the commons, and nowhere to migrate to escape it. Poverty on a Dickensian scale is all lined up now, if governments don't act to prevent it.

            • Tricledrown 10.2.1.1.1.4

              Alan your comment classes don't exist anymore is laughable .

              There is the monied class and the middle class then the the majority struggling class who can barely afford food let alone a warm dry house.

              [Please sort out the persistent typo in your e-mail address thanks]

        • mikesh 10.2.1.2

          and East Berlin speaks again, screw those rich successful guys eh

          The land belongs ultimately to all of us, and anyone claiming ownership does so with the people's consent. If the government, acting on behalf of the people, believes that those "rich, successful guys" are not employing the land responsibly then latter may find themselves getting "screwed" when the government seizes the land and uses it for their own purposes – as they are entitled to do under the Public Works Act.

        • Michael 10.2.1.3

          Why not?

    • mikesh 10.3

      rents will soar

      Only if tenants able and willing to pay.

    • Jenny how to get there 10.4

      @ Alan. I agree, housing will be the issue that 'decimates' the government, next election. Despite the wide acclaim for the government's handling of the covid crisis, this political capital is rapidly being spent by the government's failure to solve the housing crisis.

  11. Herodotus 11

    "Things were getting that bad that in 2016 National introduced the two year bright line test on residential sales excluding the family home." That wasn't the full case. The brightline test was created because the IRD and successive governments had failed in making many flippers and short term owners pay their tax on gains. Due to reluctance by the IRD into formalising what was considered buying for capital gain. IMO anyone with negative gearing was only for the Cap gain, and there was a loose interpretation of holding for 2 years so multi owners would rotate their stock holding selling 2-3 year periods.

    "House prices took off. And at the same time the last National Government started selling off state houses" Where were you in 1999-2008 ??? "Then, from 1999 to 2008, prices rose 113 per cent under the last Labour-led government."

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/98475352/labour-governments-have-overseen-greatest-house-price-inflation-data-shows

    The peak in Housing NZ stock also correlated to the 10 year agreement of leasing private owned property by HNZ and these leases expiring without being renewed. The reason why the10 yr agreement because the demand under Helen Clark was outstripping the ability of HNZ to preform their duties and with aging stock that was not being maintained and fit for purpose, I note this continued after the lost election in 2008.

    Perhaps that may add some context/background to 3 of you claims.

  12. mikesh 12

    I don't see how the chap who is selling just one of his houses to get rid of his mortgage(s) will be worse off. That's something he should have done years ago.

  13. Reality 13

    I can't recall all the details from the 90s I think it was, but did Bill Birch do away with the apprenticeship scheme? If my recollection is correct one problem now is the severe shortage of skilled and qualified tradespeople. At least this government is funding thousands of young people (and some not so young) now doing apprenticeships.

    • Ed1 13.1

      There was an exodus of many trades people with events like the Queensland floods – many of those did not come back. The developer / builder collapses meant that being a subcontractor was less safe, most employers did not want the forward commitment in having an apprentice, the withdrawal of government from contracting at other than a high level meant less of the market could be trusted. Warranties became less valuable as it became wise to fold companies every few years . . . Overall, we have a more fragmented building industry, with a few companies having market dominance for material supplies, and a bit too much of government getting out of the way of business . .

    • Descendant Of Smith 13.2

      It was more that the sell-off of the public service meant that the public service apprenticeships vanished – railways, MOW, hospitals who had their own builders and electricians and so on. Training apprentices was seen as a public good.

      Private sector has always been a bit slack at it.

    • KJT 13.4

      Why train people or employ locals, when you can just bleat to the immigration department.

      Especially when the building company you are competing with, as an actual skilled and qualified tradesperson, is staffed by labourers on minimum wage.

  14. Enough is Enough 14

    We are tinkering at best. There is nothing new or radical about extending programmes and policies introduced's by Key's government.

    The fact no-one objective has come out and praised this tell you all you really need to do.

    It take a certain degree of hopelessness to annoy the right and the left with the same policy announcement.

    • DukeEll 14.1

      I don't think this is a great government, but they've done something that they can achieve. which is more than we can say about kiwibuild.

      you can only tinker with a beast that is the housing market. minor changes in courses have powerful ripple effects. Suez canal?

  15. Patricia Bremner 15

    When affected parties start talking rubbish about Berlin and Marx, I know they have no real argument to offer.

    • Alan 15.1

      wait for the labour back flip , it is inevitable when they realise the the consequences of this very poor policy decision.

      • Tricledrown 15.1.1

        Alan remember who introduced the bright line test and who apologized during the election campaign for selling off 7,000 state houses.

        We have the least affordable houses in the OECD and the lowest median wages.Which equals more homeless families.Which means way more downstream consequences ie poor education health which means a less productive economy identified by one Don Brash in his productivity commissions report to the National Pary which was ignored by John Keys govt.

        [Please sort out the persistent typo in your e-mail address thanks]

  16. DukeEll 16

    Not a bad response, apart from preventing professional landlords being able to run their business like any other with deductions.

    However, if that money is used to fund new builds in the regions where wages can't keep up with house price rises then it could be a massive regional funding boost. using it to fund apprenticeships is even better.

    Aucklands problems could fund the regional boom in home ownership and move industry away from a choked population centre

    • Muttonbird 16.1

      If they want to run their business like any other, why do they get upset when appreciation is even mentioned as being taxable?

      • DukeEll 16.1.1

        there is no capital gains tax in New Zealand. if my company is worth $1million in 2011 and I sell it in 2020 for $40million, I pocket the $40million and don't pay tax on the $39million as it's capital. for my business to be worth that much i would have needed to turn a profit of approximately $10-$15m per year for the three years before 2020. I would have paid tax on that profit of $30-$45million over those three years.

        • Incognito 16.1.1.1

          Nope, you don’t have to make profit, you have to have something to sell, for a lot of money.

        • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.1.2

          Nonsense profit does not equal an increase in capital value.

        • mikesh 16.1.1.3

          When a business is sold, as a going concern, at a price that exceeds the book value of its net assets, the difference is termed "goodwill", the value of which is based on the company's profitability rather than any an increase in the value of the assets themselves. If there were a capital gains tax in place I don't know that goodwill would count as a capital gain.

          • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.1.3.1

            Yes and no.

            Assets both appreciate and depreciate e.g. plant might depreciate as it gets older but the land it sits on will most likely appreciate. Some intangibles like the Taranaki farmers stolen Maori land peppercorn leases were originally off book but they started adding the value of the rental not being paid to their books when they were selling so that made a capital gain from those for instance – or more recently Key's government paid them more than the iwi whose land it was originally got paid in compensation – bit like the billions paid out to slave owners for not being allowed slaves anymore.

            • mikesh 16.1.1.3.1.1

              Appreciation of land would be irrelevant in the sale of a business, although of course that may be because we do not have a capital gains tax on the books.

    • Muttonbird 16.2

      Simon Angelo, an investor and CEO of Wealth Morning:

      "Even more disingenuous is suggesting that most residential rental homes are a 'business'. Most operators do not provide the service at any scale," Angelo says.

      "A very low-yield building that mainly allows one customer to have a roof over their head looks more like a social good, not a market product. Perhaps we need to change the way we provide it.

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2021/03/landlords-who-threaten-rent-rises-disingenuous-should-accept-housing-as-public-good-not-a-product-investor.html

  17. Chris 17

    The wealthier the residential property investor: the greater the negative impact on the housing crisis.

    And the wealthier the residential property investor: the lesser the positive impact, and the greater the negative impact, the changes announced yesterday will have on the housing crisis.

    How ever the changes have been described, they don't focus enough on the causes of the housing crisis, and in a lot of cases will cause the crisis to deepen. The changes focus largely on the wrong group of people.

  18. Jackel 18

    I think it's important not to misleadingly mix up issues of supply with issues around property speculation. They are largely separate problems.

    Maybe now some of this dead speculative housing money can look around for more productive investments that grow the economic pie for all of us.

  19. arden robertson are looking after "comfortably off" middle nzer's.

    arden robertson are national clones.

    They continue the moore, prebble, douglas, richardson. shipley, english, key mantra o giving the already unneedy tax breaks while reducing help to those who are desperate.

    ardern robertson are robots.

    national has nothing to oppose, only their caucus has opposition factions, while ardern robertson implement national party policies.

    What justification did arden offer to explain her "never on my watch" stance?

    Where were the media questioners?

    Ignoring capital gains is utter stupidity.

    • Chris 19.1

      The latest changes resemble a drift net approach to fixing the housing crisis, but without catching the right fish – just all the wrong ones.

      • mikesh 19.1.1

        The "right fish" are those greedy landlords who have foolishly borrowed up to the hilt in order to "get a piece of the action".

        • Chris 19.1.1.1

          Yes, I should've said "just a fraction of the right fish".

          Importantly, though, as always, it's those with the greatest wealth who cause the most damage, and that same group who are more easily able to absorb the tinkering.

          • Pat 19.1.1.1.1

            I think you may find that those with the greatest wealth have been sitting on the sidelines in recent times…the bubble has entered the completely irrational stage and is now being driven by greed and desperation….you dont become a big fish without some sense of self preservation.

            • Chris 19.1.1.1.1.1

              I was referring to residential property investors with the greatest wealth.

              • Pat

                So am I….Id be very surprised if the big fish have been expanding their rental portfolios to any degree in the current market…..they may be developing but not buying existing Id suggest.

                • Chris

                  Expanding or developing their residential "portfolios" isn't the measure. It's having them in the first place, and the larger they are the more likelihood of greater wealth, hence a greater ability to absorb the tinkering announced this week.

                  • mikesh

                    Going by the screams of anger and anguish coming from landlord's representatives the word "tinkering" seems inappropriate.

                    • Chris

                      Yes, 'seems' being the operative word, but tinkering is precisely what it is. Chloe Swarbrick's description of landlords' reactions is spot on.

  20. Siobhan 20

    "Housing crisis: Tenants can 'look elsewhere' if landlords hike rents – Robertson"

    This is from 2 days ago, and I'm sure its been discussed…but I would like to reiterate ..someone who says this is simply not a suitable person to fix the housing crisis. They are someone who fails to understand what a housing crisis for renters even is.

    Radical Policies only ever come from Politicians who actually understand how radically wrong a situation is.

    He talks about the market becoming 'fairer'…yet Rentals are a market where you can blatantly charge more than the customer can afford…and the Government will come in with top ups (ie accommodation allowances, tax credits).

    One is encouraged by the media to optimistically think of Centrists as being basically intelligent people…yet it would seem their radical adherence to the Centrist ideology leaves them ill equipped to the environmental and economic show down we are racing toward.

    • Chris 20.1

      Absolutely. Just listen to the business report on RNZ after the midday news. "House prices are looking good at the moment with another buoyant spike expected in coming months…"or something similar. Media reports of "business news" invariably portray increasing house prices as a good thing. Fuck me.

      • Siobhan 20.1.1

        Yep…go figure…even the 'Business News' sells us the narrative that having all our money, and all our debt, invested in a massive ponzi scheme is somehow a good idea…it would seem they failed their Economic Intelligence test ..we (they) have managed to create a situation where the housing market that has entered the entirely bullshit "Too Big to Fail" category…

    • mikesh 20.2

      “Radical Policies only ever come from Politicians who actually understand how radically wrong a situation is.”

      The fact that Robertson has made interest non deductible shows that he knows where renters' second most serious problem lies – the most serious of course being the shortage of houses. Landlords who take out mortgages have an unfair advantage not only over owner-occupiers, but also over would-be landlords who might be capable of purchasing without having to borrow: a sort of instance of Gresham's law (the bad driving out the good). Renters would be better of if the rental market was not being driven Northwards by landlords trying recover mortgage payments, as well as their normal expenses, as part of their rents.

      • Adrian Thornton 20.2.1

        All renters would infact be better off if their right to a warm and secure home was not controlled by a failed so called free market that is openly propped up by govt intervention unlike any other private business in NZ.

        Rent and everything to do with renting should be regulated strictly by government to help achieve secure long term (10+ years leases at the least if needed) ,warm affordable homes for anyone who rents.

      • Jenny how to get there 20.2.2

        "The fact that Robertson has made interest non deductible shows that he knows where renters' second most serious problem lies – the most serious of course being the shortage of houses."

        mikesh

        There is no shortage of houses.

        There are 40,000 empty houses in Auckland alone.

        https://www.newsroom.co.nz/cat-maclennan-on-ghost-housing

        That there is a shortage of houses is a lie put around by the Nat's, (and Act), on behalf of, middle class housing investors, spec. builders, bankers, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, landlords, etc. ie National and Act's core constituency, not to mention donars. All those people who benefit by the rising housing market.

        There is no housing shortage, but there is definitely a supply shortage of affordable houses and rents.

        The above same people are the people who benefit by artificially limiting supply which keeps rent and house prices up. And they will act to limit supply no matter how many more new houses are built. Look around the massive new sub-divisions how many of the new houses are being left empty?
        And the majority of the rest are not being sold to first home buyers but being rented out at barely affordable rents.

        Any action by the government to deal with the housing supply crisis, like an empty homes tax, or even a CGT will act to suppress the market to the benefit of first home buyers and renters, to the detriment of landlords, housing investors, spec. builders, bankers, etc

        Renters' most serious problem lies – not in the shortage of houses, but in the reluctance of the government to act against the overheated housing market.

        • mikesh 20.2.2.1

          The government, under the terms of the Public Works Act, could probably acquire land which contained empty houses. It would be expensive, however, as they would have to pay compensation to the owners.

          • Pat 20.2.2.1.1

            Why acquire more land (especially productive land) when there is no need to build?…..change the settings so the un/underutilised housing becomes available…..it also saves on the unnecessary additional infrastructure spend.

          • Jenny How to get there 20.2.2.1.2

            More likely, the private owners of this land will end up bulldozing the empty homes to artificially limit supply in an effort to keep house prices up.

            You might think that is unlikely, or even far fetched.

            But that is exactly what was done in California Ireland and Spain.

            Brand new empty homes and even whole estates ended up getting bulldozed, rather than drop them to affordable levels.

            Exorcising Ireland's last ghost estates: Demolition begins on the housing projects built during economic boom that left country with 300,000 empty homes | Daily Mail Online

            The question for government when this time comes, which it will, (whichever government it is). Is this; 'Will the sanctity of private property be rolled out by the government of the day as an excuse to allow this wanton destruction?'

            • Jenny How to get there 20.2.2.1.2.1

              If the government refuse to take bold affirmative action to cool the housing market now, and housing remains at unaffordable levels, for first home buyers and renters, left to run its course, this is how New Zealand's 'overheated' housing market will end.

              Texas Bank "Fixes" Ailing Housing Market By Demolishing New Homes in Victorville, CA – YouTube

              • Jenny How to get there

                Preparing for the end game.

                Predicting how the rising housing market will end, economists and property commentators often speculate on whether it will be a 'hard landing' or a 'soft landing.'

                Hard landing or soft landing, it doesn't really matter, already limiting supply by keeping tens of thousands of existing houses empty. In extremis the banks and investors to further artificially limit supply, in a desperate attempt to keep house prices up, will start tearing down newly constructed ones. There is nothing surer.

                If the government aren't considering the human cost of this vandalism, they might want to consider the environmental cost of all this building material going to waste in landfills.

                Legislation needs to be in place now to prevent any attempt at this sort of wanton destruction.

                Massive fines and or confiscation without compensation for any new housing stock facing demolition by its private owners.

            • mikesh 20.2.2.1.2.2

              Any compensation paid would include the houses, so bulldozing them would cost the owners money.

        • Jenny How to get there 20.2.2.2

          Lo and behold. Here come the political cavalry, riding to the rescue of landlords and property investors everywhere.

          ACT's housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden says Finance Minister Grant Robertson has "dropped another bombshell on property investors" after failing to rule out putting limits on how much landlords can hike rents.

          'Another bombshell': ACT, Collins on attack after Robertson's latest rent comments (msn.com)

          The cheques will be in the mail guys.

  21. Ad 21

    The spectacular near-silence from the media about housing five days after the announcement shows that this government has hit the sweet spot.

    Somehow a full attack on professional housing investors and big tax changes going through in 72 hours is now quite unremarkable.

    Between National and Labour, we now have in place the de facto Capital Gains Tax for 85% of New Zealanders for whom housing is the primary asset class.

    • RedLogix 21.1

      It's my sense that property investors are quietly weighing up their options, realising that this govt has taken any 'social good' out of their business model. After a series of moves against residential rentals there is no point in saying much now – it won't change anything.

      Well established owners will be delighted as the govt has essentially eliminated any new competitors, they can safely anticipate a shortage and rents rising over time.

      Or they'll be quietly looking at capital flight to Australia, which is what we're doing. It will take place over a few years so it should have only a minimal impact on prices. The way our market works is that in difficult times instead of prices dropping, it's volumes that shrink – something that the extended bright line test will only exacerbate.

      It's my view that as long as interest rates remain low there will be upward pressure on prices. The big dividing line in the NZ housing market is not between landlords and FHB's – but between those who qualify for a mortgage and those who do not.

      • Nic the NZer 21.1.1

        I am presently thinking of this as a professionalisation of NZs rental market. I expect existing landlords will reconsider their balance sheets without interest deductions and then probably attempt to raise rents to maintain profit levels.

        Even in 2008 it was clear that NZ rental rates were low relative to property prices (if often still high relative to incomes). The landlords were looking long term at capital gains but that is not actually a good business strategy.

        Its not so clear what can happen with investors who want out. Maybe their places can be taken up by FHBs. It also seems possible there will be insufficient buyers to take over however leaving a shortage of rentals for let.

        The other question for me is the extent of the non-deductibility rules. This is different to any other business where loan interest is deductible. Does this extend to commercial property also? And will there be some way a property business can (for example) use a holding company to write down their interest costs, a change which would also point to professionalisation as well as favouring larger corporate rental owners.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 21.1.2

        Well established owners will be delighted as the govt has essentially eliminated any new competitors, they can safely anticipate a shortage and rents rising over time.

        Must have been grim – glad things are looking up. I'm delighted for you.

      • Nic the NZer 21.1.3

        "The way our market works is that in difficult times instead of prices dropping, it's volumes that shrink – something that the extended bright line test will only exacerbate."

        This is pretty typical of most property markets. Even the US housing market only fell a small way in nominal terms following the GFC and it was the most impacted globally (I believe).

      • mikesh 21.1.4

        There is also competition between those landlords who have borrowed to get into the market, and those who have plenty of capital and don't need to borrow. Owner-occupiers aside, it is probably the latter who will benefit more from the government's tax move. That is probably the the most important arena of competition.

      • Jenny How to get there 21.1.5

        <b>"…in difficult times instead of prices dropping, it's volumes that shrink"

        RedLogix</b>

        You've absolutely nailed it Red, that is exactly what will happen

        How investors and banks 'shrink' housing volumes in 'difficult times'.

        Texas Bank "Fixes" Ailing Housing Market By Demolishing New Homes in Victorville, CA – YouTube

    • Adrian Thornton 21.2

      "The spectacular near-silence from the media about housing five days after the announcement shows that this government has hit the sweet spot."

      Holy Crap..Labour effectively shuffle some deck chairs aboard the Titanic, and you encourage everyone to take a seat and listen to the band…

    • Nic the NZer 21.3

      "Between National and Labour, we now have in place the de facto Capital Gains Tax for 85% of New Zealanders for whom housing is the primary asset class."

      Of course the corollary there is that NZ had a CGT across the most recent house price spikes. The implication being that CGTs are not the killer price regulator, though I have observed plenty of calls for NZ to have a CGT because…

      • Ad 21.3.1

        That 10-year horizon policy acts both to answer the 'do something' question, and helpfully also gains nearly a billion in extra revenue.

        That's a fair political win.

        • Nic the NZer 21.3.1.1

          I don't think a billion in additional taxation is necessarily a benefit. I know it plays well politically but that is only due to misapprehension of the economics. That also means 1 billion less saving in the NZ economy (something like 1 billion higher non govt indebtedness) and I don't think its clear that the form of this CGT really leads to lower inequality. The form of the other changes will almost certainly favour larger entities in the rental markets.

          Anyway my main point above was CGTs are not a major solution for property prices. The belief that they are puts way to much faith in the rationality of property market participants.

  22. Patricia Bremner 22

    "Property Market".

    Wrong name with implications. Residential homes, where people live!!

  23. Ask the truckers There is a shortage of suitable building timber.

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