Affordable Housing – There’s No Nice Way To Do It

The old saying “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” pretty much sums up the affordable housing debate. There is no ‘nice’ way to make housing affordable again.

Higher density housing is a red herring. Anyone thinking of going down that path should have to spend a month on some of the English high rise housing estates or the high rise ‘affordable’ housing on the outskirts of most major cities of the world. High rise is best left to the wealthy who want to live in the inner city to make the most of the vibrant nightlife, cafés and restaurants, and harbour views. They can afford safe, well-built, well-maintained apartments.

House prices are high. Wages are low. It just doesn’t work, no matter how you spin it. To get affordable housing, the prices of houses will have to drop, and drop by a lot. Continue reading

Alliance mortgage plan turns financial crisis into asset

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Alliance Party finance spokesperson Professor Jim Flynn says the government has to think outside the square to prevent ordinary New Zealanders losing their houses during the economic crisis because they can’t afford their mortgage payments.

In the wake of the news that in August this year at least 50 families were forced into mortgagee sales of the family home, Professor Flynn says there is a simple solution.

“Rather than have people face mortgage sales, the government should buy the houses off the banks for their rateable value. The bank would be relieved of a ‘toxic’ asset and the government would get something in return for helping the bank.”

The home could then be rented back to the occupiers at perhaps 20% of their income. This would mean people could afford stay in the family home. They are spared the upheaval of trying to find alternative accommodation, which could mean overcrowding, children having to move schools and a loss of social support systems. Continue reading