Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bad Representatives

We have a great big giant problem in parliament at the moment. They're just not asking the right questions. I was just watching an episode of "The Debate" where they had a team made up of opposing politicians (those in parliament but not in power) and a team made up of politicians currently within power.

They're debating Labour's - gotten from the Green's - policy around foreign ownership. To me it's simply the wrong question. The question is more, "Why are houses so expensive?". And I would say it's a cultural thing. For as long as I can remember I was told to invest in housing because the housing market never goes down.

That's a problem. That's a great big giant problem. The word used was "invest". We're mixing terms here which mean quite different things. While we're saying there's a housing crisis and that first home buyers are effectively locked out of the market, no one seems to want to talk about the elephant in the room. We all expect to buy property and have it increase in value. It's not a home. It's an investment. We've been weighting things towards it being an investment for a very long time (look at the drop of interest prices during the recession in order to simulate the market).

So housing is about our national economic health. I'm really starting to hate those words - national economic health. We're quite willing to sacrifice people and, in this case, their homes, in favour of our national economic health. Does that economic health reach our most vulnerable? Should we not be asking about how to house everyone rather than how does everyone get rich off it?

Personally I'm in favour of property values keeping their current values UNLESS some sort of value add has been added to that property. Effectively, land value stays the same. The house may increase in value based on what has been done to it but may also decrease due to the same issue. But if land value couldn't change anymore property is no longer an investment. Really.... how many homes does a single family need? Demand would drop, houses would mysteriously become available. People would be housed, and better yet, would own those homes so there's a sense of ownership...

Do we need xenophobic policies? No. Is keeping the status quo going to help? No. Does increasing the "housing stock" help? Probably not - it's a temporary solution. How do we get politicians and parliament to ask the right questions? I don't have a clue... perhaps an email?

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