Mike's Minute: Govt working against itself on housing

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Jun 2021, 9:59AM

Mike's Minute: Govt working against itself on housing

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 17 Jun 2021, 9:59AM

I bet you Grant Robertson rues the day he dragged Adrian Orr into the housing market.

Having failed to get a grip on housing the way he promised, and still thinking the government controls everything, he wrote to Orr and eventually forced him into taking housing into account when he set the Official Cash Rate.

Orr is a sticky beak and a panicker, so he thinks that if you borrow a lot, you're exposed to a bubble bursting and therefore carnage is going hit housing. The retail banks, who have been profitable, some say wildly so, not only through the GFC but Covid as well, know what they're doing.

They aren't lending to people who can't pay. And yet Orr has now roped Robertson into a debt-to-income programme that will, irony of ironies, further scupper any idea Robertson had of "tilting the housing market towards the first home buyer."

Robertson wants the debt to loan programme to only apply to investors. Orr says, sucked in, it applies to everyone.

So guess what? Average house price in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and so on is now a million bucks plus. You need with LVRs 20 percent, or $200,000, for a deposit. Who in the first home buyer end of the market has that? No one.

Even if you do, even if mum and dad come to the party, you still need a mortgage of $800,000. If you're on a good wage, you'll get it. You would have, until Orr turned up and stuck his nose in.

So now, you don't have the deposit and you can't get the loan. Just what part of that is helping or tilting the house market towards the first home buyer?

The policies, as we discussed yesterday as a result of this week's Real Estate Institute stats, not only haven't worked, the very same polices are now actively working against having them work.

Just work that through and decipher the level of madness. You announce a policy to help a group of people, the policy doesn't work, and then you add to the policy to actively make it not work. Is that the definition of madness, or what?

Everyone agrees house prices are moving up too fast, but the mistake is thinking a government can change that and actually dreaming up polices that make it worse.

You can't make this stuff up. In many respects, in terms of delivery and ineptitude, this outranks Kiwibuild, because the damage with this one is far greater and far more widespread.

Housing is this government's nightmare, not to mention Achilles Heel.