$122,000 deposit needed on average

March 26th, 2008 at 6:35 am by David Farrar

The DPMC House Prices Unit has calculated that a couple on the average wage would need to save $122,000 before they can afford a mortgage. And for a single person it is $170,000.

And again that is the deposit – not the mortgage!

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58 Responses to “$122,000 deposit needed on average”

  1. dad4justice (7,988 comments) says:

    Well done Liarbour.

    “Housing Minister Maryan Street played down the $122,000 figure last night”.

    What a disgraceful government.

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  2. Mr Dennis (348 comments) says:

    I would love to have a house for my family, I don’t want to be renting while I have children. But I have my first child due soon, and I will still be in rented accommodation. What I would need to get into the housing market would be either:

    - A ready supply of cheap, OLD houses I could pick from to buy for good value. Brand-new ‘affordable’ houses won’t help, let the second-time buyers buy fairly priced new homes, the first-time buyers can buy the old ones they vacate.

    OR

    - A more reasonable set of building regulations that would allow me to go ahead and build a house without having to hire specifically qualified people to do this bit, and someone else to do the next bit… I just want the freedom to build my own house, which I can do strongly and cheaply. If I am actually going to live in it I will make doubly sure it is built well, but a series of building teams (however well qualified) doing different parts of the house will never have the same care about it, and are more likely to cut corners. The leaky homes aren’t DIY homes – they were generally built by qualified builders, just with not enough care put into their construction and choice of materials.

    The socialist methods of controlling housing (‘affordable’ homes and overly detailed building permits and inspections) just drive up the cost of housing, and decrease the quality of that housing. The most long-lasting houses I have seen are those I see in Ireland – hundreds of years old, built with no regulation, stronger than any modern building and still being used. People have been building homes for their families for thousands of years without strict regulation, why are we considered so stupid now that if we don’t get a series of builders qualified in different areas to do it for us it will fall on our heads?

    Yes something needs to be done about the cost of housing. But it needs to be the complete opposite of what is being done now.

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  3. Brian Smaller (4,028 comments) says:

    Twenty years ago we had $40K in savings as a deposit on our first house as a young married couple. A two bedroom ex-state in Epuni that cost $100K. We brought what we could afford, where we could afford it. $122K would buy nearly half a house in Wanui even now.

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  4. dad4justice (7,988 comments) says:

    Low wages + unattainable home ownership = mass exodus across the ditch.

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  5. Ross Nixon (612 comments) says:

    Things could be worse!

    FOURTH YORKSHIREMAN:
    I was happier then and I had nothin’. We used to live in this tiny old house with great big holes in the roof.
    SECOND YORKSHIREMAN:
    House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, ‘alf the floor was missing, and we were all ‘uddled together in one corner for fear of falling.
    THIRD YORKSHIREMAN:
    Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in t’ corridor!
    FIRST YORKSHIREMAN:
    Oh, we used to dream of livin’ in a corridor! Would ha’ been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woke up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House? Huh.
    FOURTH YORKSHIREMAN:
    Well, when I say ‘house’ it was only a hole in the ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin, but it was a house to us.
    SECOND YORKSHIREMAN:
    We were evicted from our ‘ole in the ground; we ‘ad to go and live in a lake.
    THIRD YORKSHIREMAN:
    You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us living in t’ shoebox in t’ middle o’ road.
    FIRST YORKSHIREMAN:
    Cardboard box?
    THIRD YORKSHIREMAN:
    Aye.
    FIRST YORKSHIREMAN:
    You were lucky. We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t’ mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi’ his belt.
    SECOND YORKSHIREMAN:
    Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of ‘ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!
    THIRD YORKSHIREMAN:
    Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to ‘ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o’clock at night and lick road clean wit’ tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at mill for sixpence every four years, and when we got home our Dad would slice us in two wit’ bread knife.
    FOURTH YORKSHIREMAN:
    Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.
    FIRST YORKSHIREMAN:
    And you try and tell the young people of today that ….. they won’t believe you.

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  6. Inventory2 (10,184 comments) says:

    Great skit!

    Good for a laugh this morning

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  7. John Dalley (394 comments) says:

    Or

    A more reasonable set of building regulations.
    Why the hell do you think we are now over regulated in the building process. Except for the issue of some building materials being unsuitable, poor builder/building standards have forced councils to be overly complex and pedantic when enforcing the building regulations.

    and

    Don’t think DIY builders are any more competent. Doesn’t in the main happen and they are the most likely to flout regulations and mainly through ignorance or inexperience greate problems with the poor quality of workmanship.

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  8. Chicken Little (793 comments) says:

    poor builder/building standards have forced councils to be overly complex and pedantic when enforcing the building regulations.

    Now John, from your writings here on this blog I know you’re not quite the fastest car on the block but don’t you think you have left someone out of the above equation?

    Still can’t work it out?

    See if you can answer this question then – Who forced all those new regulations onto the Councils?

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  9. poneke (280 comments) says:

    Why would a single person need to save $170,000 for a deposit? What utter rubbish. Even in Wellington, one can still buy apartments for less than that, let alone elsewhere. While away over Easter I saw houses with sections in provincial towns for no more than that.

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  10. uk_kiwi (83 comments) says:

    “Why would a single person need to save $170,000 for a deposit? What utter rubbish. Even in Wellington, one can still buy apartments for less than that, let alone elsewhere.”

    Presumably the article is referring to the amount needed to buy an average house- a bedsit apartment would be half the price of an average house, so you would only need an $85,000 deposit. It is very interesting that even a couple on an average wage can clearly not afford an average house. This spells doom for the housing market in the longer term.

    The government should have legislated before the hyperinflation in housing really caught hold- removed subsidies for speculators, forced banks to lend responsibly (no 100% mortgages, payments less than 40% of net income etc). Maybe encouraged investment in new developments rather than just price inflation in existing housing stock.

    Any change now is bolting the gate after the horse has bolted… Now exporters are near ruin due to the high dollar and the speculative finance companies are dropping like flies taking people’s life savings

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  11. KevOB (265 comments) says:

    In the sixties we were encouraged to build our own houses and many families and friends joined together to help each other do the concreting and put up frames and the rest. The standards were no worse. There was a regulated code and usually a friendly building inspector who would check progress and give advice. These are now highly sought after homes, weather proof,. still standing and built with minimal cost but a great deal of care and love. Now, we are not even allowed to think of putting up a letterbox, it probably requires a permit. The industry has to share some blame they h ave benefited from the monopoly and the councils have taken fright at potential liability from issuing a permit. The councils should be relieved of this burden of being defacto insurers. They used to employ reasonable standards of enforcement of the code; now the standards and the code are too onerous. Let’s all get building again.

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  12. dime (9,682 comments) says:

    bummer!

    looks like some people will have to move to cheaper areas. they do still exist. i hear invercargill is lovely :)

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  13. John Dalley (394 comments) says:

    Little Chicken
    Oh Daa!! I don’t know, who forced all those new regulations onto councils!

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  14. iiq374 (262 comments) says:

    poor builder/building standards have forced councils to be overly complex and pedantic when enforcing the building regulations.

    Except the inspectors are that thick that we were going to fail an inspection because we used 50mm bracing straps instead of 25mm. We actually had to get Winstone Wallboards engineer (GiB manufacturer) on the phone to the inspector for him to pass a preline. And you’re complaining about the builders?

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  15. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    iiiq374 you have hit the nail on the head, so to speak.
    Over the last 100 years housing has gone from being a “roof over our heads” to becoming an “investment”.
    An easy way for people to create wealth without actually having to work too hard.
    Off course we don’t actually want to do any work ourselves so a whole building industry mushrooms to fill the need.
    Planners, inspectors, permitters bloom as this all needs regulating.
    The old fashioned commonsense approach to building is the first ship to leave port.
    Rules, regulations, controls, zones, permits, codes – everyone of them adding to the compliance cost.
    Of course a good socialist government loves the endless supply of control opportunities that is created.
    Not to mention the greatest control of them all – interest rates.

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  16. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    and interest rates are as high as a kite to keep the foreign cash supporting the nearly bankrupt kiwi economy.

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  17. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    I will keep on posting on this point: restrictions on the supply of land for housing are the main problem. If it wasn’t for that, housing wouldn’t BE overvalued, housing wouldn’t BE such a wonderful “investment”, there wouldn’t BE “subprime” borrowing going on, there wouldn’t BE periodic “bubbles”. When oh WHEN are people going to GET IT?

    All this stuff for our “protection”, for our “good”, ultimately is the biggest curse on our lives, or at least, the lives of those locked out of the process because they haven’t already owned property dating back to times when it was more affordable.

    In case you haven’t noticed, the “subprime borrowing crisis” has barely registered in the state of Texas, where it is still possible to buy sections on the edge of major metropolitan areas for US $20,000, in spite of their population having doubled in one generation, partly because of highly-regulated, housing-bubble states like New York and California steadily leaking population.

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  18. Chicken Little (793 comments) says:

    John who Dallies – Come on think man.

    I have a photograph of my house in 1876, it was built a couple of years earlier. Its been through a very major earthquake, floods and everything else nature and man could throw at it. Still solid as a rock.

    In fact, the storage shed that the original owner built in 1874, using recycled ships spars for bearers, is still standing and has just had a minor renovation to make it usable for the family.

    No building inspectors in 1874, but somehow they managed to build something that has lasted over 130 years.

    As it is on the beach it is now almost surrounded by modern homes that will be being demolished in the next 20 years, made as they are from polystyrene and 5mm plaster.

    I have to laugh that our 100k old girl will outlast the $1.2million boxes right next door.

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  19. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    Phil
    I agree with you but don’t think that land is ever going to be cheap in NZ. Especially on the outskirts of our cities. We don’t have 1000′s of hectares of semi desert to happily bulldoze our way into. We have very specific geographical constraints to deal with.
    No person/developer that I have ever met who holds this land will ever not screw the last cent out of it.
    As painful as it is we are better to let the market bubble pop occasionally and concentrate on building an economy that actually creates true wealth and a government that keeps it’s hand out of the till.

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  20. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    The averages are based on people who cannot at present afford to buy a lower-quartile home being able to service a mortgage considering property prices, interest rates and repayments not exceeding 30 per cent of household income – a common benchmark used to avoid mortgage stress.

    http://stuff.co.nz/4451552a10.html

    i.e. if you are one of the people with only a little income, banks require a much larger deposit, as your income (and thus the bank’s income) is more vulnerable to disruption.

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  21. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Wash your mouth out Bwakile, Te Gumint with its hands out of the till! One hundred Hail Mary’s, I mean Karakia’s.

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  22. Matthew (167 comments) says:

    I agree with KevOB, our house plans were drawn up in 1964, approved in 1965 and built after that. Today it is still as reliable and of good quality as today’s houses.

    Furthermore it is also true that people have treated residential property as an investment, rather then as a roof over one’s head and representative of your personality etc etc. Investment should be in income producing assets, like companies and commercial property, not resiendtial property. When are we going to discourage this dead-end activity?

    Finally my sister and brother-in-law bought a near-new 3 bedroom two story house with two bathrooms in the same city that Warren Buffet lives for how much do you think? No, not US$500K not US$400K, not US$300K, not US$200K, but US$164K. Anybody like to see what $164,000/0.8 would buy you in NZ?

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  23. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    # bwakile Add karma Subtract karma +0 Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 10:39 am

    “Phil
    I agree with you but don’t think that land is ever going to be cheap in NZ. Especially on the outskirts of our cities. We don’t have 1000’s of hectares of semi desert to happily bulldoze our way into. We have very specific geographical constraints to deal with.
    No person/developer that I have ever met who holds this land will ever not screw the last cent out of it.
    As painful as it is we are better to let the market bubble pop occasionally and concentrate on building an economy that actually creates true wealth and a government that keeps it’s hand out of the till.”

    If we have geographical constraints to deal with, why is it politically acceptable to place even MORE restrictions in the way of zoning?

    In a country the size of NZ, with only 4 million people, it is INEXCUSABLE that the ratio of average earnings to average property values is WORSE than England with 80 million people in about the same land area.

    I regard you as one of the good guys on Kiwiblog, Bwakile, but if even you can’t see this, no WONDER we have a problem……

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  24. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    Matthew, yes I would like to see. Do you have some pictures?

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  25. emmess (1,400 comments) says:

    I am starting to come to the conclusion that the governments deliberate policy of driving up house prices by restricting the supply of land is at the root of many of our economic problems

    Government spending would be much lower.
    No need for an accomodation supplement
    Much less justification for working for families and interest free student loans
    There by taxes would be much lower

    Much lower housing prices and taxes would mean alot more money boosting consumption amd going in productive investments such as the share market and fixed interest investments. Both local (meaning lower interest rates and more growth (ie higher wages)) and foreign lowering the current account deficit.

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  26. freethinker (686 comments) says:

    Philbest

    The UK is 10% smaller than NZ and has 60m people, it however generally flatter and housing density is higher.

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  27. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    emmess, if house prices are rising the encumbent govt will almost certainly be returned to power. And vice versa. Politicians are very aware of this and I’m sure I can smell a conspiracy somewhere around this topic … Have politicians never manipulated things such as immigration etc in order to drive up house values and let the votes follow??

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  28. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    phil
    Thanks for the reply
    Land prices around our cities have been driven upwards because of the historical way that we have gone about our development. For better or worse this is a fact. As any developer/banker will tell you -the money is in the land.

    Land won’t get “cheap” because too many parties have vested interest in the final price.
    But I do agree that there are many zoning restrictions that artificially increase the values.
    I have had several years experience dealing with land development in west Ak and promise you that it is not all bells and whistles. You are dealing with local councils and ARC who move at snail pace, banks who want an arm and a leg and hardest of all, fierce competition from Asian speculators/investors who drive the prices up as they percieve our land to be “cheap”. One korean had sold his appartment in Soeul for $5mil
    I don’t like it but that is the way it is.
    Could be a different story in Westport?

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  29. peterquixote (231 comments) says:

    dudes what happen to land is this,
    your land will appreciate arithmetically according to your proximity and desirability near to the City centre,
    land further out and subject to Council rules will consolidate down
    this because of road closures and petroleum melt down,
    populist Mayors trading rights with [ developers names witheld] will be shot,
    more later dudes,

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  30. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    Matthew suggests:

    Investment should be in income producing assets, like companies and commercial property, not resiendtial property. When are we going to discourage this dead-end activity?

    Absolutely correct. And the other side of that coin is that anyone in NZ looking for venture capital isn’t going to hang around long before taking their marketable idea overseas. I hadn’t realised the extent of the problem – or the number of potentially foreign-exchange-earning ideas that Kiwis have dreamt up – till I started hosting talkback and then got into politics. The largest flood of letters was (as I’d expected) from non-custodial parents being destroyed by Inland Revenue’s child support regime. But the second largest group was frustrated entrepreneurs who couldn’t get any capital investment because individual investors and the banks were pouring it all into mortgages.

    Of course not all of the ideas were marketable but I was amazed at how many clearly had some potential. They were the sorts of ingenious answers to problems celebrated in Australia on ABC TV’s New Inventors program. Aside from the brilliant thinking of the people featured, the most amazing thing about the program is that they occasionally revisit past inventions and almost every one of them has found enough investment to grow and prosper.

    Australia offers the same sorts of tax breaks to residential property investors as does NZ, but also offers generous tax incentives for R&D and many more deductions for those who invest in something other than property.

    The imbalance could easily be addressed by disincentivising residential property investment – particularly when negative geared to reduce tax on other income – and incentivising investment in productive enterprise.

    It’s obvious, however, why this isn’t done. As vto points out:

    I can smell a conspiracy somewhere around this topic … Have politicians never manipulated things such as immigration etc in order to drive up house values and let the votes follow??

    I had this debate with both the major parties when in politics and that was precisely their concern – that there were now so many people using residential property investment as a tax minimisation strategy, it was too dangerous to tinker with the tax system lest their ire be raised and the party lose votes. The issue of principle, let alone what was best for NZ’s future, didn’t enter into the equation.

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  31. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Oh, come ON, guys, surely its not THAT hard to see that if there was no restrictions at all on the use of land, NO developers could charge what they liked for it?

    Read THIS:

    Randal O’Toole: “Why California Home Prices Are So High”:

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8785

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  32. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Here are some excerpts from “Why California Home Prices Are So High”, by Randal O’Toole:

    (This article appeared in the North County Times on November 3, 2007.) (What the heck. Here is MOST of the article.)

    “Thanks to land-use planning and regulation, California has the least-affordable housing in the nation. The most affordable housing market in California is less affordable than 90 percent of the other housing markets in the U.S. These high prices impose hardships on low- and middle-income families and discourage employers from locating in the state.

    Under the mantra of “stopping sprawl,” urban planners have crammed nearly 95 percent of Californians into just 5.1 percent of the state’s land area. The nation’s three densest urban areas, and 11 of the 20 densest urban areas, are all in California. Thanks to urban-growth boundaries, greenbelts and other planning restrictions, the average California urbanite lives in communities that are 80 percent denser than in the rest of the country.

    In addition to extraordinarily high housing prices, this density drives up business costs, taxes and traffic congestion.

    It wasn’t always this way. In the 1960s, California was growing much faster than it is today, yet housing was no more expensive than in most other parts of the country. California was growing so fast that cities often competed with one another over which would get to annex (and collect taxes on) land suitable for development.

    To minimize such competition, in 1963 the California Legislature created a local area formation commission (LAFCO) for each county. These commissions could approve or veto the formation of new cities or special service districts and annexations to those cities or districts. Most commissions were dominated by representatives of the city councils in each county.

    The cities soon realized they could use LAFCOs to keep most taxpayers within their boundaries. No longer could a developer build houses on vacant land outside of a city’s limits and incorporate a new city or service district to provide the water, sewer and other infrastructure needs for those homes.

    After eliminating the competition from such developments, cities could impose costly and time-consuming planning restrictions that further drove up housing costs. What was portrayed in public as a war on sprawl was, in reality, a war on taxpayers seeking to escape the high tax rates imposed by cities.

    In fact, a war on sprawl was and is unnecessary. If Californians could live at the same densities as the rest of the U.S., the state’s urban areas would cover 8.5 percent of the state instead of 5.1 percent. Is it really worth paying three times as much as most of the rest of the country for homes in order to save 3.4 percent of the state from development?

    Homeowners may think they benefit from high housing prices, but that is not necessarily the case. An artificial land shortage not only makes prices high, it makes them more volatile as well. Since prices fall during recessions by more than in other parts of the country, California suffers more foreclosures and bankruptcies.

    Even if you can pay for your house, you only benefit from the high prices if you are willing to sell and move to a less-expensive state or a smaller house. Those who want to move up to a larger house in California face as big an obstacle as first-time home buyers.

    The effects of high housing prices fall hardest on low- and middle-income families. One reason why some Californians commute such long distances and congestion is so bad is that people have to go far from work to find housing they can afford. While America is known for its mobility, research has shown that when housing is expensive, unemployment rates go up because people can’t afford to move to places where they can find jobs.

    In effect, California has become like an exclusive country club, open only to the very wealthy. While its members may enjoy its amenities, everyone else is either denied access or forced to pay an extremely high price just to peer inside the club’s gates.

    California’s artificial land shortage also increases costs to businesses and stifles growth. Despite being home to fast-growing high-tech industries, for example, Silicon Valley actually had fewer jobs in 2006 than it had in 1990.

    Historically, the American dream of homeownership has been key to California’s prosperity. Land-use restrictions threaten that dream, stifle growth, and are particularly unfair to low- and moderate-income families.

    Restoring the dream would mean allowing developers to build outside of existing urban boundaries. Since California is nearly 95 percent rural open space, developing a few thousand acres of marginal farm and rangelands will not hurt the state’s economy or its environment, but it will greatly improve the state’s affordability and livability for both present and future residents.”

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  33. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    And another one: (ALSO HIGHLY RELEVANT)

    Don’t Hobble Houston with Land Planning

    by Randal O’Toole

    This article appeared in the Houston Chronicle on January 19, 2008.

    “Houston is the freest major city in America, with no zoning and only moderate government intrusions into how property owners use their land. This freedom has made Houston the most affordable major city in America, with housing costs that are less than half of most other major urban areas. This freedom has also created an innovative and growth-friendly environment that is creating tens of thousands of new jobs each year.

    Despite these benefits, the recent controversy over the Bissonnet/Ashby high rise has inspired local planning advocates to call for an increased amount of government planning of land in Houston……….

    Though planners may have the best of intentions, such planning is likely to lead to higher living costs, more traffic congestion and dramatically reduced job growth.

    We can see this by looking at other cities with zoning and planning.

    In a sense, American cities have engaged in a controlled experiment with planning, with Houston and a few other cities doing very little, many other cities doing some planning and some cities doing highly restrictive planning.

    Advocates of planning say that it will make cities more livable, but the results of many experiments across the country show just the opposite.

    Cities with strong planning authority, such as Portland, Ore., and San Jose, Calif., almost invariably have the least affordable housing, the fastest growing traffic congestion and growing taxes and/or declining urban services. In the long run, these problems tend to suppress urban growth and job creation.

    The national real estate firm Coldwell Banker reports that, in 2007, a Houston family could buy a four-bedroom, two-and-one-half bath, 2,200-square foot home for $170,000. The same house would cost more than twice that much in Portland and more than eight times as much in San Jose.

    Such huge variations in the cost of housing from city to city did not exist 50 years ago. Today, they are mainly due to artificial housing shortages created by heavy regulations and land-use planning.

    Planning also imposes huge costs on businesses. The same land shortages that drive up housing costs also increase the costs of retail, commercial and industrial developments. Congestion increases the costs of delivering freight and other goods to and from businesses. Higher taxes and more government regulation also make heavily planned cities less growth-friendly.

    The result is that growth once attracted to places like California and Massachusetts is now attracted to less heavily planned states like Georgia and Texas. Between 2000 and 2006, California’s population grew by 7 percent — mostly foreign immigration — while Georgia and Texas populations grew by 12 to 14 percent.

    As Harvard economist Edward Glaeser observes, “places with rapid [housing] price increases over one five-year period are more likely to have income and employment declines over the next five-year period” because the rules that drive up housing prices also drive away employers…………….

    Houston’s lack of zoning and heavy regulation have led to an evolving system of private covenants and deed restrictions that respond to changes in tastes and demand for housing. The Harris County Toll Road Authority builds roads in response to transportation needs as expressed by people’s willingness to pay tolls.

    Houston should not attempt to write a comprehensive land-use plan or try to control or limit land uses in a misguided effort to improve livability by controlling where or how residents live. To preserve Houston’s livability, affordability and growth-friendly environment, Houston should focus on maintaining a responsive government that provides the services people need, not one that is merely carrying out the latest planning fads.”

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  34. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    AND, LAST ONE FOR NOW……

    Paying the Planning Tax

    by Randal O’Toole

    This article appeared on American Spectator (Online) on December 6, 2007.

    “Easy credit fanned the flames of the recent housing bubble, but the bubble was first inflated by anti-sprawl plans that created artificial housing shortages in many American markets. If planning laws hadn’t boosted median housing prices to several times median family incomes, few homebuyers would have had to resort to sub-prime mortgages.

    As I write in a paper published today, the housing bubble really only affected a dozen states. In the remaining states, increases in housing prices were relatively modest. While housing prices grew by more than 130 percent in California and Florida from 2000 to 2006, prices in Texas grew by only 30 percent. With few exceptions, the states that saw the biggest bubbles were ones that had passed growth-management planning laws. And with one exception, every state that has passed such a law also saw a housing bubble……….

    Americans want to live in single-family homes. Anti-sprawl restrictions increase the price of such housing. But people will go to great lengths to achieve the American dream of home ownership, including bidding up the price of scarce housing and taking out various sorts of sub-prime mortgages to pay for that housing.

    Anti-sprawl plans effectively imposed a $250 billion tax on homebuyers in 2006. Nearly 93 percent of that tax affected only 11 states, all of which (except New York) have growth-management planning laws of one sort or another.

    The lessons should be clear: If more states pass growth-management laws, the next bubble will have even more detrimental effects on our economy. Instead, states that have passed such laws should begin to repeal them. Cities that have written growth-management plans should expand or eliminate their urban-growth boundaries, eliminate impact fees, reduce the time and red tape required to get subdivision and building permits, and remove other planning obstacles that prevent home builders from meeting the demand for housing.

    A key finding of the Cato report is that anti-sprawl planning is driven by municipal finance. If developers can subdivide and build on land in rural areas, cities have to offer low-cost, growth-friendly environments in order to attract development (and the resulting tax revenues) within their borders. But if cities can prevent development outside their borders, they have no incentive to maintain growth-friendly policies, and so they will hike impact fees and take other actions that make housing unaffordable.

    Thus, housing prices increase when cities use growth-management planning or other tools to get control of the rural areas that surround them.

    Some writers have speculated that regional governments can keep housing affordable, but because they are likely to be controlled by their largest cities, they practically insure that housing becomes unaffordable.

    Of course, existing homeowners benefit when housing prices rise. But the costs to society as a whole are much greater than these benefits. First, many homes sold each year are new, and no one benefits from artificially high prices for them. Second, not all existing homeowners benefit: those who want to buy larger homes, for example, will face the same obstacles that confront first-time homebuyers. Third, existing homeowners tend to be wealthier than new homebuyers, so anti-sprawl planning effectively taxes the poor and gives the money to the rich.

    The saddest thing is that many of the states and cities with growth-management plans consider themselves “progressive.” In truth, they are extremely regressive, as they favor wealthy homeowners and penalize low-income families and first-time homebuyers. As Joseph Perkins, head of the Northern California Home Builders Association, puts it: “smart growth is Jim Crow.”

    An old Russian proverb says that Americans don’t have real problems, so they make them up. Urban sprawl is one of those made-up problems. In reality, the costs of sprawl are far lower than the costs of anti-sprawl planning. Cities should stop doing such planning and states should repeal laws that give cities control over the surrounding areas outside their borders.”

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  35. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    sheesh, great posting mr best. I am a developer and have been since early 90s so this stuff interests me. Interesting thing with your posts above – whether those findings are true or not I find a natural tendency in humankind to simply put on blinkers and ignore propositions that do not support their own ideals. So I would expect that evidence / research you have to be simply ignored here in NZ.

    As a developer though, it is of little import what the ‘rules’ are for housing. We developers simply squeeze in amongst them whatever they are at the time. Provided the required margin is there. Where we can assist though is describing what we see in the housing industry from experience etc. We probably have the greatest insight due to the detailed knowledge and involvement required with every aspect of the industry from bare land and its features, design, consultants, consenting, building, selling, subdividing, maintaining, tax and regulation, etc etc. Not that we ever get believed, becuase we are only in for the money apparently.

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  36. John Dalley (394 comments) says:

    Little chicken – And there your have hit the nail on the head, older style housing untreated kauri or Rimu generally.
    I said on another thread wood + No Water = no rot and except for around the windows (generally) they have not rotted.
    Get of building inspectors, they have to interpret the regulations and with some builders trying to pull a fast one one them and with regulations changing so fast, they are under constant pressure to sign of less than top quality work.
    I deal with building inspectors all the time and in the main they do a good job. In later years, meaning the invention of Monolithic cladding, hidden gutters, plastic water pipes and piss poor builders their job has got harder and harder. They are not there to interpret plans or regulations anymore but to sign of a building to the the letter of the regulations/law, no descretion allowed.
    This is really not good and what we now have is an over regulated building enviroment that is overly complex expensive and cumberson.

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  37. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    mr dalley for once we are on the same wavelength. Excellent.

    I agree building inspectors are a bit of a must for some of those reasons you outline. And they are generally good to deal with and helpful.

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  38. Seamonkey Madness (328 comments) says:

    $122,000?!
    You’ve got to be joking me!?

    We bought a house near the national average ($320Kish?) but not the average for Wellington and had a 10% of that. Happily paying off the mortgage. Lalalala.

    Again – $120K?!

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  39. Anthony (785 comments) says:

    Rex, you are quite correct. All political parties bar the Greens are too scared to tinker with the tax system to fix the flaws that let properties investors claim tax deductions on the rental loss but not pay tax on the capital gains. As I said in other threads property investment is not taxed the same as other similar investments like forestry, where all the gain is taxable. National is quite wrong to say that it is.

    It is so easy for the fast money men to sell property investment because of the tax breaks – and Blue Chip is only one of the many companies around who cashed in on the last property boom. They will be many more hard luck stories coming out in the next few years!

    This current government knew what was going on and as I understand it some Ministers within the government tried to get changes made but of course Culllen and Clarke would never have a bar of that.

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  40. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    Thanks for the posts Phil. will study them in detail when I get back next week.
    I quite agree that no restrictions on developers would certainly lower land prices but was just trying to point out that the horse has already bolted around Auckland. I know West Auckland best and believe me there is not a cheap piece of land within 40 miles of Westgate and the stuff that can be developed “easily” for housing is well and truly stitched up by major players who will fight tooth and bone to protect their margin.
    I’m sorry but cheap land just doesn’t exist anymore.
    As others have pointed out the government is really to blame by giving property investment a tax advantage over other investments .
    The town planners are just doing what they were “educated” to do.

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  41. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    here is one for the (irrational) optimists amongst us..

    http://whoar.co.nz/2008/capital-gain-forget-it-for-quite-a-whilelike-until-2028/

    oo-err..!

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  42. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..I find a natural tendency in humankind to simply put on blinkers and ignore propositions that do not support their own ideals..”

    spooky..!..vto..!

    you’ve ‘nailed’ the climate-change/economic-meltdown ‘deniers’..

    (esp the person you are butt-kissing…phil-the-inferior…)

    good one..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  43. natural party of govt (461 comments) says:

    One of the reason that despite the occasional bleat housing prices will stay high is that there is a class of people who will howl with pain if they reduce. And the class that benefit or have factored high real estate prices into their finances has far more political clout than those who are struggling to enter or are shut out of the market.

    Sooner or later the situation will implode and the longer it is delayed the more painful the correction will be.

    National has no more a (realistic) plan for making houses more affordable than it has for lowering Australian wages – for the simple reason that a large section of its voters benefit and feel secure with high housing prices.

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  44. emmess (1,400 comments) says:

    From Phil Bests article

    Third, existing homeowners tend to be wealthier than new homebuyers, so anti-sprawl planning effectively taxes the poor and gives the money to the rich.

    This is the key and it is such a massive factor that it probably more than counterbalances all of Labour’s attempts to reduce inequality

    Good one Labour

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  45. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Nice to see a few guys here getting the point. But yes, Bwakile, you are right about areas like West Auckland. Of course we now have situations where all the land immediately adjacent to metropolitan areas is owned by developers who are waiting for the zoning to be changed. There needs to be some way to break this impasse, otherwise we are condemned to a steadily-reducing rate of first-home ownership among NZ-ers.

    I DO believe that a concerted legislative move to turn the zoning restriction thing around WOULD work. By that I mean that instead of it being illegal to develop land unless it is zoned for housing, it should be made ILLEGAL for local and regional authorities to DISALLOW housing developments ANYWHERE that the existing owners are prepared to sell their land for that purpose. Can you see anything short of that actually working? But can you see that happening?

    Really what we get into here is an ideological, almost a religious dispute. As Randal O’Toole points out, insisting on the conservation of 97% of your total land rather than 95% might be making property for housing 3 times as expensive. So what we are talking about here is the Green/Gaia religion belief that MAN is a parasite who is not entitled to that extra 2%. I don’t know what the percentages are for NZ – Randal O’Toole is comparing California with other parts of the US. I suspect that the amount of NZ landmass that is in housing is much lower than California. We might be talking about Gaia ideology restricting “parasitical” Man to less than 1% of the total area…………

    Very few people actually understand it this way. If they did, I suspect that there would be much stronger anti-Green feeling among those locked out of home ownership, who by the way, are increasing in number the longer this madness goes on. How do YOU feel about being made to suffer for the “nature” God? And they’ve got the cheek to mock medieval Catholicism !!!!!!!!!!

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  46. RRM (9,668 comments) says:

    If (like me) you can’t afford to buy a house – DON’T BUY A HOUSE! There are other forms of personal investment, that are much more flexible about the size of the initial buy-in.

    The myth that houses are “safer” is promulgated among people who don’t know (and don’t want to know) about things like rot, rust, soil slope stability, blocked drains, concrete cancer etc…

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  47. Anthony (785 comments) says:

    npog I think National is scared of saying anything that might alienate any centre to slightly right of centre voter – whether this is about fixing the tax system to tax the capital gains that were always intended to be be taxed or offering some support for Act.

    I still think it is digusting that tax consultants who should know better invariably support the status quo mess on capital gains – and make feeble excuses like a capital gains tax wold be too hard to administer! Yes, well the rest of the tax system is so simple isn’t it – only 20 bibles worth of legislation. Better to keep the current law on capital gains which can only be interpreted with the assistance of a raft of case law! Much better if clients have to pay for advice from tax consultants to understand whether they are liable.

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  48. Fred (176 comments) says:

    Talking about town planning education this is worth a look http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwd4Lq0Xvgc&feature=user all 9 parts of it. He argues strongly against the “silos” we build, increasing dependency on the car, points out that the features that create a “sense of space” in successful old towns/cities cannot be created under current town planning rules. Also observes that flats above shops command good prices.

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  49. Mr Dennis (348 comments) says:

    Many posters have pointed that a major issue is land supply, and allowing more new land to be developed would reduce prices. This is true. However you must bear in mind that cities were generally sited on the most fertile land that could support the population. As they expand, houses are built on the best soils that have traditionally been used for market gardening and horticulture, to feed the population. It is a terrible waste to put this good land under housing.

    There is an alternative. Rolleston (near Christchurch) is built on very poor soil for farming, and a large area of land has been put into good sized sections for brand new subdivisions. There are many criticisms that could be made of Rolleston, but at least it has minimal impact on agriculture. Unrestricted urban sprawl will cover good soils, but planned development can be sited in more appropriate areas.

    New land is necessary. But it should be poor agricultural soil, not the best soils in the country.

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  50. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    philu: you’ve ‘nailed’ the climate-change/economic-meltdown ‘deniers’.

    I wouldn’t want to break that pea-sized brain of yours, but consider this for a moment. The statement you quoted –

    “..I find a natural tendency in humankind to simply put on blinkers and ignore propositions that do not support their own ideals..”

    - could just as well apply to either side of any debate. You’ve chosen one you happen to agree with. But equally – you might be the one wearing blinkers and ignoring porpositions that do not support your ideals.

    Oh. Wait. You do.

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  51. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    gee pascal..!

    how does ‘overwhelming evidence’..fit into your ‘story’..?

    and hey..!..we are the ones going ‘heads up!’..

    you lot are the ‘nothing to see here!’ crew..

    but we are the ones wearing the ‘blinkers’..eh..?

    (feckin’ idjit!..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  52. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Good job on missing the point philu, you’re showing that NO U is probably the best phrase to apply to any of your petty little insults. Once you’ve pulled your head out of your arse long enough to actually think – consider that sweeping generalizations made from a partisan viewpoint can just as equally be applied from the opposite perspective. That is the point. ‘Course, I realize you don’t have the mental capacity left anymore to understand that, but no matter. The point is made.

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  53. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    oh sorry..didn’t realise you were pin-head-dancing..

    carry on..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  54. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    So indicating that you make gross generalizations and deal in duplicitous double standards is “pin-head dancing”? Ok. Carry on then. But I’d see somebody about those delusions.

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  55. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    FRED:

    ” the features that create a “sense of space” in successful old towns/cities cannot be created under current town planning rules”.

    This is an important point. It is actually town planning and zoning that has forced us to live long distances away from where most of the work is, and all commute en masse to the same spot at the same time of the day. Even completely Lassez-Faire growth would have actually resulted in much shorter average commutes AND MUCH LOWER EMISSIONS.

    Sigh. WHEN, OH WHEN are thick, thick people gonna wake up to the endless harm that little Napoleons running their lives actually DO in contrast to the empty platitudes of all the “good” they allege to be doing?

    If you want to actually PLAN for lower emissions and resource conservation, you should divide your region up into suburbs each of which has a balance of employment opportunity and living. These suburbs should be extensively interconnected so that anyone travelling from home in one suburb to work in another can get there in as short a travel time and distance as possible. And forget public transport altogether. Anyone who needs assistance to get to work should just be given a new Tata Nano.

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  56. Fred (176 comments) says:

    Phil, the lecture series I linked to made an impression a wet Sunday last winter, I think it should be compulsory viewing for all planners. Of course tastes in architecture, lifestyle, and work/leisure change with time and with economic necessity. What do you prefer? The big box, acres of car park and mall, or the avenue and alley. Much as we all would like (nostalgically) to live in a village the city is an expression of wealth and success. Public transport, justified only at population densities way above ours.

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  57. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    why not just try it somewhere. one part of one city. no rules. build what you want.

    bags be the first city.

    x

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  58. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    I wonder if Mr Tim Shadbolt would be interested in turning Invercargill into a shining example of this sort of thing……..sometimes people who WERE lefties in their youth make the best free-marketers when they are older.

    Yeah, and thanks for that link Fred. We should keep posting it, and keep up the argument. This thread is a bit late now.

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