Hous­ing mar­ket out­look un­cer­tain

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - GE­OFF SMITH

‘‘Home­less­ness re­mains a re­al­ity for some time into the fu­ture at this rate.’’


In a spe­cial re­port, ‘Out­look for the NZ hous­ing mar­ket – Speed bump or sink hole?’ Ki­wibank econ­o­mists (Zoe Wal­lis and Jeremy Couch­man) note the hous­ing mar­ket has ‘cooled con­vinc­ingly’.

They at­tribute that to a va­ri­ety fac­tors in­clud­ing af­ford­abil­ity con­straints and tighter credit con­di­tions.

Re­gard­less, there re­mains a gap be­tween sup­ply and de­mand that is un­likely to be cor­rected in the near term with the out­look for the hous­ing mar­ket over the year ahead re­main­ing un­cer­tain.

In Auck­land, the me­dian house price to in­come ra­tio is run­ning at over 9x which means that sav­ing a de­posit and pay­ing the mort­gage are a higher hur­dle for the av­er­age house­hold.

Should house prices and mort­gage rates con­tinue to rise they will put ad­di­tional pres­sure on af­ford­abil­ity.

In Auck­land, the pop­u­la­tion growth rate over the year to June 2017 was 2.6 per cent or equiv­a­lent to an ad­di­tional 42,700 peo­ple.

That equates to around 15,800 ad­di­tional houses needed to have been built in Auck­land over the past year to keep pace.

In re­al­ity just over 10,000 homes were con­sented with an es­ti­mated 7 to 8000 of those ac­tu­ally get­ting com­pleted.

Prac­ti­cally none of the so­cial hous­ing com­mit­ments which en­abled many of the hous­ing de­vel­op­ments to go ahead were de­liv­ered.

In Auck­land we started off with an es­ti­mated pre-ex­ist­ing short­age of 30,000 – 40,000 dwellings.

It’s not hard to do the maths – in short we are a long way from win­ning.

Home­less­ness re­mains a re­al­ity for some time into the fu­ture at this rate.

There are few more im­por­tant needs that we as peo­ple have than hous­ing.

Hous­ing, when prop­erly done, is a source of se­cu­rity, shel­ter, a form of iden­tity, and for some who are for­tu­nate, a path to ac­cu­mu­lat­ing wealth.

When done badly, it is none of those things.

It’s a source of angst, anx­i­ety, and in some cases, a path to poverty.

It seems there is a sim­i­lar prob­lem in Aus­tralia where a lead­ing econ­o­mist, Saul Es­lake, has warned that de­clin­ing home own­er­ship rates among younger peo­ple is a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to ris­ing in­ter-gen­er­a­tional wealth in­equal­ity in Aus­tralia.

Dr Cas­san­dra Goldie is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Aus­tralian Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vice.

‘‘One of the re­al­i­ties with what we’ve al­lowed to hap­pen with hous­ing in Aus­tralia, where pol­icy has over­whelm­ingly been driven by vested in­ter­ests – in par­tic­u­lar those in­volved in ac­cu­mu­lat­ing more wealth through prop­erty in­vest­ments – is that the peo­ple liv­ing in the hous­ing that is the sub­ject of all this prop­erty in­vest­ment have been vir­tu­ally for­got­ten,’’ Goldie said.

As more peo­ple are forced to rent their rights come into fo­cus.

Be­cause the hu­man im­pact of peo­ple be­ing evicted from their home with­out any abil­ity to have a voice in that process, has meant that most peo­ple live with con­stant, un­der­ly­ing stress that they may have to move.

In Aus­tralia the com­mu­nity ad­vo­cates are ar­gu­ing very strongly for mea­sures that ad­dress home­less­ness, greater in­vest­ment in so­cial pub­lic hous­ing and mak­ing sure that they’ve got home­less­ness ser­vices that are able to meet the ex­tra­or­di­nary de­mand that’s out there in the com­mu­nity.

It’s all a bit deja vu re­ally – and a hell of job for the in­com­ing Gov­ern­ment.


Letters should not ex­ceed 300 words and must have full name, res­i­den­tial ad­dress and phone num­ber. Write to Letters to the Edi­tor, Franklin County News, PO Box 14, Pukekohe or email julie.kaio@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz

Ge­off Smith

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