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The Forum > Article Comments > Home ownership - dark side of the boom > Comments

Home ownership - dark side of the boom : Comments

By Kim Carr, published 1/11/2006

Itís official - home ownership is less affordable than it has ever been before.

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Most clear thinking people are sick and tired of the bleats about "high" interest rates and the burden they create for mortgagors. Many of us can recall parents paying 3.75% pa ..... in the 1950s. A generation ago I myself paid a "capped" rate of 13.5% pa to buy my first home. And some others were paying more than 17% pa. Now housing loan rates are not much more than half that. The burden for homeowners and in particular first homeowners is created by the price of housing, not the price of money. Yes, land development and home construction form a significant part of our GDP, and need to be watched closley as indicators of economic well-being, but monetary policy remains the most gentle tool avaiable to government. Let Reality Rule !
Posted by DRW, Wednesday, 1 November 2006 7:52:33 PM
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Is it possible that first home owners are aiming too high? I grew up (and not that long ago) in a house with next to no heating (oil heater in the kitchen) and an airconditioner that ran twice a year (we got it installed when I was 5 so I remember a time before that). As a child I had to run across open verandah from bathroom to kitchen in all sorts of weather to get dressed by that oil heater in winter (my parents eventually closed in that verandah, but they put up with it for 12 years first). My first house was a $60000 100 year old (at least) cottage, that had been extended twice (the original building was just 2 rooms), and had no a/c. My second house (after selling the first) is a 2 bedroom 60's creation with asbestos lining in the kitchen and bathroom. There is no immediate danger from this as there are no raw or exposed fibres, but the fact remains that I am living in a house with asbestos. When I have my second child, the kids will have to share a room - shock horror!! It seems these days that this is not acceptable. There must be a private space for each child. Mine will probably hate me for it particularly when they are teenages, but thems the breaks. Generation Y needs to lower their expectations, start modestly, and work their way up. Given my first house cost, my repayments have remained less than I could have rented a similar house for, so guess who is winning in the long run.
Posted by Country Gal, Wednesday, 1 November 2006 8:04:33 PM
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I walked through a house for sale the other weekend, built in the 1960's, and it was so small. Back then, I believe a block cost about $2000 and the construction cost about $6000. So as a proportion, land was cheap and anything that is undervalued is wasted so the typical suburban house had a big back yard, a front yard that was never used, and a strip of concrete driveway down one side to a garage down the back.

The house on the otherhand was built economically, sometimes with only two bedrooms.
Today, the cost of building the house is cheap compared to the cost of the block of land. So valuable is the land little is left for recreation let alone a strip covered in concrete for a car to roll over. So we get the McMansion which economically makes it sensible to utilize as much of the expensive land as possible. It also makes sense to build two stories as it doesn't cost anymore land.

Once an affordability gap opens up it is unlikey to close.
First home owner's grants tend to be self defeating as they just feed into prices.

On TV recently, one developer/builder said the combined imposts of taxes and charges from all levels of government, averaged about $130,000 per new house.

So if governments at all levels were a lot less tax greedy, they could effect lower housing costs.
Posted by roama, Wednesday, 1 November 2006 8:13:15 PM
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I'd like to know why the eminently sensible option of expanding public housing stock is not discussed here. With housing prices skyrocketing - partly as a consequence of Howard's first home owners grant - which fuelled the housing boom, and rent following the trend, why aren't we investing in public housing to put downwards pressure on rental prices, and provide affordable accomodation to those who have little other option?

Yes, it seems like there's a constant ideological offensive against the very idea of public housing - and the idea might seem unpopular for some - but many have little choice - and others are living in poverty and getting nowhere in their attempt to exist in a highly charged housing market, and make ends meet.What other weapons do we have against inflated housing prices? I'd like to hear more about these 'rent/buy' schemes.
Posted by Tristan Ewins, Wednesday, 1 November 2006 8:49:02 PM
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Whinge, whinge whinge. My parents never owned a home. Most people now want 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms with all the modern cons as well as a new car by the time they are 30. We have more now than any other generation and we still whinge about interest rates being 7.5% or so. The coffee shops are always full, people have money to have a few drinks and eat out on a regular basis. There will always be those who won't be able to afford things no matter how much money they get or how many opportunities they have. Maybe we should try something different and be thankful for the blessings we have. Where I live anyone who breathes can get work if they want it.
Posted by runner, Wednesday, 1 November 2006 10:22:58 PM
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Who says that everyone is entitled to own a house? Some do not want the responsibility or have other things to spend their money on. Investment advisers say that it is smarter to rent and invest elsewhere.

As for public housing, it is a scandal that individuals and couples can retain large houses while families are held out.

Another problem is in the cost of maintaining public housing. People in public housing believe the guvvy will do everything for them. It is obvious that public housing tenants do nothing to help with keeping the property in good condition.

What about tightening up what the tenants are responsible for to encourage them to reduce the cost of maintenance? Dept of Defence tenants are the same; they expect a high standard of property and maintenance but they wouldn't even water the garden or fix a tap washer. It has got to where an electrician has to be called to replace a light bulb.

Government depend on the private sector to provide welfare housing but government treats owners of investment property as a geese for the plucking.

However most rental property is owned by low to middle income earners who sacrifice their own quality of life for decades in the hope of capital gain (promoted by spruikers).

These owners run high risks, in the hope of a profit from inflation! As geese they have been plucked enough and it is easy to see how a collapse in rental housing could eventuate.

Who trusts Labor with housing? There are regular demands from their lobby groups for action against property owners. While some of this is just jealousy - which seems to be an enduring but not endearing feature of the Left - all of it demonstrates a lack of knowledge of just how tight it is for investment property owners who are providing a much needed servive in a very highly regulated industry.
Posted by Cornflower, Thursday, 2 November 2006 8:28:33 AM
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