First home unaffordable (letter)by James GilchristNews Weekly
, August 4, 2007
I wish to add my support to Mark Florio's contention regarding housing affordability for families and first-home buyers (News Weekly
, June 9 and July 7, 2007).
While watching yet another young entrepreneur being lauded on Channel Nine's A Current Affair
for owning 17 properties, it occurred to me that there may be something inequitable, perhaps even absurd, in our present system, under which many families are unable to afford to buy a single home.
A 2003 Reserve Bank submission confirmed the disproportionate impact of investors upon real estate prices and its consequent negative impact upon first-home buyers. (See Mike Steketee in The Australian,
12 July 12, 2007).
Meanwhile, the Federal Government's proposed solution to the now conspicuous "housing shortage" — a solution which has electoral sweetener written all over it — is to unlock Commonwealth land for those unable to buy into the market.
This seems destined to generate further urban sprawl with little effective infrastructure, services or access to public transport. Moreover, it will lead to greater traffic congestion for those in outer suburbs and probably a fairly drab lifestyle for those compelled to live there — in short, further steady progress in turning our major cities into Los Angeles and Detroit.
Although not an economist, I can't but wonder why the Government fails to choose a more fair, just and equitable solution, such as offering greater tax incentives to home-owners rather than investors, thereby spreading existing housing more evenly among our population.
My wife and I, although lucky enough to have scraped into the housing market, would be better off evicting ourselves, along with our children, to live in a rental property rather than staying in our own home, because then we would be "investors".
Does this strike anyone else as absurd? Once again, capitalist individualism becomes a greater imperative than the common good.
If either major party feels genuine sympathy for "battlers", they should appropriately address this area rather than offering short-term palliatives.James Gilchrist,