In her usual inimitable way Cactus Kate explores the fallacy of ¬†”affordable housing”:
It is fashionable comments bait in New Zealand to write emotively about how there is ‚Äúintergenerational theft‚ÄĚ going on. I blame¬†Bernard Hickey for the ‚ÄúDear John/Ma/Pa‚ÄĚ movement¬†and his obsessional mumblings about ‚Äúhousing affordability‚ÄĚ. The newspaper editors sense impending circulation rises from those smart enough to read but not smart enough to think and have conjured it up for the benefit of their banking and real estate advertising clientele. It has spread like the winter flu to the usually very sensible and intelligent leading business journalist at the NZ Herald who has shamelessly jumped on the populist bandwagon with¬†some bait of her own.Hence time for me as probably the only commentator of the ‚Äúyounger‚ÄĚ generation X/Y/Z or whatever the term now is, who will call it as it is.
And it is¬†nonsense¬†as she explains. She beleives the carping about “housing affordability” and “intergenerational¬†theft” is pecularly a white middle-class agst schtick:
The sorts shouting the loudest about ‚Äúhousing affordability‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúintergenerational theft‚ÄĚ tend to be white and middle class which is why they are getting some traction in the media. Poor people don‚Äôt complain so loudly about not owning their own home because they haven‚Äôt got enough money to pay rent, the taxpayer already pays that for them directly and as for ‚Äúintergenerational theft‚ÄĚ, their parents never had any money so if they do have the energy to whinge it is the staple stuff about government, nothing as complex as singling out old people, they are going for the wallets of everyone.
Yes ‚Äúhousing affordability‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúintergenerational theft‚ÄĚ is the domain of nice white middle classes who are peeved that they cannot afford where they think they should be able to with their income and are having to contemplate moving to where the poor people used to live.
And she compares the moaners to Matt McCarten and Hone Harawira…ouch. Cactus make the case for renting:
[R]enting is a perfectly reasonable and healthy activity, especially if you are female and never use the kitchen as you are in hot demand. As a direct result of never doing what other people are rushing to do, I have been renting despite being able to ‚Äúafford‚ÄĚ any house within reason that I wish, my entire working life. I can‚Äôt see any lobby group marching down Queen Street on my behalf because I am a renter so I don‚Äôt understand the leprosy type aversion New Zealand has to middle and lower classes and income earners renting. I do it, did it in New Zealand so they bloody well can as well. The way people carry on you think that owning a home was required to draw breath. People quote ‚Äúsecurity for their kids‚ÄĚ as a reason for owning their own home which is emotive garbage for ‚Äúcan‚Äôt be bothered moving all the time‚ÄĚ. I have not seen any evidence that children become insecure when they move home, on the contrary if it is to one nicer than the one they lived in before. Divorce and unhappy marriage provides far more insecurity, parents should perhaps focus on a happy home instead of what name is on the Deed of Title.
Bottom line is that most people who will never be able to afford their own home make bad tenants because they do not respect other people‚Äôs property, which is most of the reason they are poor in the first place and stay that way. Before the crying starts on this opinion, exhibit A in my defence is the Housing NZ stock. Want to live next to those tenants? The answer apparently is to make housing more affordable and give them taxpayer assistance so they can buy their own home. This makes as much logical sense as helping your eight year old buy their own iPad as a reward for damaging yours. No parent would do that so why should the taxpayer? Well some parents I know do, and the consequence is the kid keeps smashing up things.
Housing though is not unaffordable and she provide empirical evidence:
I overheard a friend mumble ‚Äúhousing is very affordable, I have thirty of them‚ÄĚ. He has a point. If housing was unaffordable there would be homes sitting now in New Zealand with no buyers capable of buying them before the market applied its mechanism for prices to drop. Seven thousand homes were sold in May 2012¬†on this measure alone.¬†Surely they were all affordable?
Affordability comes down to banks extending credit as most residential buyers need a mortgage. Cash or large deposit buyers effectively don‚Äôt bid for homes against other buyers they bid against the buyer and the bank. Any wonder house prices increase and lending does too?
The housing stats around the world she provides likewise make anyone who even utters the words “housing¬†affordability” simply look like ill-informed yokels from the back-blocks simply doing the bidding of likewise ill-informed editors of tabloid rags.
There surely can’t be a “crisis” with housing. How can it be when every city where white english people wish to live and 3rd world people wish to migrate to has a housing “crisis”?
If you want affordable housing try Invercargill.
“It’s in an area of extreme social deprivation, extremely high unemployment, total lack of desirability.“…hence affordable…and now has Trevor Mallard as a Labour representative.
Oops I am sure Mallard has now made it even more affordable.