June 9th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Climate change: don't spoil a good story with facts

NATIONAL SECURITY: How to fight global terrorism

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd attack on Howard comes unstuck

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Nuclear power, ethanol can cut CO2 emissions

PRIMARY INDUSTRY: Wheat industry win, but final outcome uncertain

OPINION: Caving in to predatory big business

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Workplace relations and human asset-stripping / The Tampa victory revisited / Another tinsel turkey for Auntie / Show and tell

DRUGS POLICY: Drugs must be a federal election issue

CHINA: Beijing's crackdown ahead of Olympics

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Can we afford to ignore the Middle East?

MEDICAL ETHICS: Intentionally deformed ... for her own good?

EDUCATION: Intact family the single most critical factor in academic success

THE WORLD: Poland - front line in the culture wars

OBITUARY: Polish-Australian Stan Gotowicz a man of many parts

Howard Government's 'generosity' disputed (letter)

Apology for error (letter)

Why families can't afford a home (letter)

CINEMA: Family - the necessary refuge for sinners

BOOKS: MENACE IN EUROPE: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's, by Claire Berlinski

Books promotion page

Why families can't afford a home (letter)

by Marc Florio

News Weekly, June 9, 2007

In Colin Teese's analysis of housing prices (News Weekly, May 26, 2007), he leaves out an important player that contributes to rising prices and housing unaffordability: the investor.

Any real estate agent will confirm that, over the past 30 years, the percentage of investors at auctions has increased substantially. It is now common for baby-boomer investors to own multiple residential properties, limiting the supply of housing available to owner-occupiers.

At auctions, I have many times witnessed an investor compete against a family for the same property. Invariably, the investor wins at the expense of a family wanting to own its own home. Families, especially single-income families, cannot compete with investors.

In the debate about housing affordability, I find it astonishing that little is said about the impact of negative gearing - that is, the offering of annual tax advantages for property investors over that of home-owners.

And we call this a "free market"? There is no greater example of the state subsidising the wealthy.

If the number of investors in the housing market were reduced, we would see a decline in housing prices and a rise in housing affordability.

But of course, there is no political will for this, as the interests of the wealthy are of more importance than the interests of struggling families trying to buy into the housing market - an Australian dream that has become a nightmare for many young families.

Marc Florio,
Keilor East, Vic.

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