Franks on Housing

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Marcus Lush recorded an interview at 5-50am this morning with me on the pros and cons of banning foreigner purchases of houses here. …

I realised that the issues could be summed up simply. Prices go up when supply can’t increase to respond to demand. There is no a shortage of building supplies, or builders. So foreign buyers’ money can only affect prices if there is a shortage of land to build on. But New Zealand is not short of land. It is short of consents to use land. And probably more important than the supply of new land, is the cost, delay and risk in trying to intensify the use of land that is already built on, nearer the centre of our cities.

We need to build both upwards and outwards. We do need to intensify, but we also need more rational urban limits.

In other words, our housing problem is the inevitable consequence of the political success of selfish middle and upper class families, working with  their stupid green children. They enforce their aesthetic preferences for the status quo (labelled as ‘heritage’) by locking newcomers out of their leafy and quaint inner suburbs. The RMA has frozen the dynamic processes of rebuilding and intensification that have created all great cities (and our own towns and cities up till 3 decades ago. The result is that poorer people must pay for more expensive housing ever further from where the work is.

To blame the resulting prices on foreign money is a nice distraction from their own culpability, for the selfish generations, and the councillors and MPs who pander to them.

Nicely put. Blaming house prices on foreigners is just blatant xenophobia.

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