Wednesday 15 May 2024

"...*if* Mr Bishop delivers on his promise."

"Far too many New Zealanders already suffer from serious financial stress because of the ridiculous price of houses. The problem is only going to get worse unless the Government delivers on the promise made by the Minister of Housing, Chris Bishop, who, in a major speech near the end of February, said the Government is aiming to get house prices back to where the median house price is between three and five times the median household income. To protect himself from the anger of thousands of property-owning voters, he did say that that was his ambition over the next 'ten to twenty years,' but if he is at all serious New Zealanders better get used to the idea that house prices will not be rising steadily year after year into the indefinite future.
    "Increasingly, as houses get older and in need of repair, and if the market is working as it should do, they will sell for less than they cost to buy.
    "But what about the land they sit on? Surely that won’t decline in value? Certainly there will always be land which has special appeal: that will quite likely rise in value faster than other prices and faster than incomes. But given New Zealand has a great abundance of land, section prices should be nowhere near where they are currently in most of our cities. That implies that section prices are likely to stagnate or decline from present levels if Mr Bishop delivers on his promise. [Yes, "if" - Ed.]
    "In an earlier article I quoted the case of a 455 square-metre bare section on sale in Drury – nearly 40 kilometres from downtown Auckland – for $842,000 including GST, or $1,850 per square metre. This is more than 10 times the average price per square-metre of sections in the US. This difference is caused primarily by the tight restrictions imposed by local governments on where houses are allowed to be built.
    "Those who demand that housing be confined within tightly prescribed urban boundaries – as is true in all our major cities – must be told again and again that they and they alone are primarily responsible for the appalling social costs arising from the outrageous price of housing in New Zealand’s major cities."

~ former Reserve Bank governor Don Brash from his post 'Perhaps house prices don’t always go up'


MarkT said...

We should not be focusing on the character of the person promising improvement and whether we like him enough to believe his promises. Instead we should be evaluating the content of what he’s advocating, and whether it’s likely to deliver improvement, regardless of his character.

Peter Cresswell said...

@MarkT, I agree that we shouldn't *need* to focus on the character of the person promising RMA improvement/eradication, but for 30 years politicians have promised improvement and not delivered, so character is clearly important. It's not about whether we *like* the politician — I wouldn't care if it were Beelzebub himself who promised proper property rights protection, just as long as such a promise were delivered.

That said, we can only evaluate the proposed "improvements" in this round of promises by means of what little we've been told so far. And it looks too much like little improvement.

I'll be very happy to see otherwise. But 30 years of failed promises is a long rack record of promises for a once-in-a-generation chance at change.

(PS: Have to go now and file a resource consent application to add a larger gate and a set of bifold doors to a Mt Eden bungalow.)