The Dim-Post

July 29, 2016

Super normal

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 10:44 am

I like the way the media have taken to covering incidents of young people buying houses and putting them on the front page of the newspaper/web site. Y’know, to show how super, totally extremely normal it is for young people to be buying property. Also, young people deciding to enrich themselves via the property market, becoming a landlord instead of getting a professional qualification, or starting a business is just another super normal thing that we shouldn’t worry about at all.

28 Comments »

  1. I bet Tom Hunt and Katrina Williams are baby boomers. That article reads like something off The Daily Mash…

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — July 29, 2016 @ 10:57 am

  2. 1. they covered the incident because it was (supposedly) unusual not because it was normal
    2. becoming a landlord is starting a business
    3. he is in the process of getting a qualification – he is an architecture student

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — July 29, 2016 @ 11:30 am

  3. These articles never give enough attention to the fact that it was really family backing that allowed all these (probably hardworking and responsible) young people into the property market.

    The dude in this article had a $40k deposit, which is impressive saving for a 21 year old, but there is no way a bank is going to lend a burger-flipping student with a circa 5% deposit the money for a $700k property without either a (very) significant equity top up, or a big guarantee from his parents. No mention of that though (I mean, possibly his “investment partner” had a casual $200k sitting around to top up the equity, but even that changes the story a bit, doesn’t it?). Yet the narrative is still, “look! – young people can buy a house if they make sacrifices and save hard.”

    Comment by fivehoursnorth — July 29, 2016 @ 11:31 am

  4. I think you should probably think about the media in terms of your previous post. What seems unusual for a university educated urbanite, probably isn’t for the majority of the population.

    Comment by Robert Singers — July 29, 2016 @ 12:00 pm

  5. Seb Rattansen: “I bet Tom Hunt and Katrina Williams are baby boomers.”

    I doubt it. I believe he’s Sam Hunt’s son. I’d guess that Katrina Williams would be a similar demographic to that of Hunt, or possibly younger.

    Baby boomers would see nothing exceptionable in a person of 21 owning a property; we ourselves weren’t much older when we bought our first house. Back in the day, of course, when there was state assistance available for various categories of citizens, to help them buy property. And said property didn’t cost an arm and a leg. We bought an old house badly in need of renovation, and did much of the work ourselves. It took us years, because we couldn’t borrow extra money to pay for others to do it: we did it out of income. Such as that was…. we weren’t well-paid, even by the standards of the day.

    And don’t blame us for the cessation of such schemes. Roger Douglas wasn’t a boomer, and neither was David Lange. Or many others in that government who were responsible for upending large chunks of the welfare state.

    The remarkable thing about this article from our point of view is that anyone considered it to be news.

    Comment by D'Esterre — July 29, 2016 @ 12:07 pm

  6. @Robert Singers John Campbell interviewed some young people in South Auckland last night on Checkpoint and I *none* owned their own house and plenty hard it pretty tough.

    Those “look at the edge case !” stories are annoying because the ignore the fact that very, very few will be in position to emulate the success in the story.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — July 29, 2016 @ 12:08 pm

  7. You appear to be missing the point of news, Danyl.

    Young people buying houses is considered newsworthy because it is unusual. In the days when you could have two babies by the age of 20, then capitalise the family benefit to get a house deposit, and pay the rest of the cost of buying a house with a government-subsidised loan through the State Advances Corporation, newspapers didn’t report on 21-year-olds buying houses, because it wasn’t considered newsworthy.

    Likewise, when Shrek the sheep died of old age, it was front-page news. If a human had been taken to the freezing works and slaughtered for meat to export overseas, that would also have been newsworthy. But sheep going to the freezing works or humans dying of old age – not so newsworthy

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — July 29, 2016 @ 12:25 pm

  8. @Mikaere given that South Auckland is the archetypal state house\urban poor neighbourhood that’s hardly surprising is it. I’m not sure if you realise it but there are quite a few communities outside of Auckland with very different dynamics, economic conditions, and house prices.

    Comment by Robert Singers — July 29, 2016 @ 1:40 pm

  9. Property porn is a media favourite in NZ these days. If it’s any consolation it’s worse in Aussie.

    Comment by John — July 29, 2016 @ 3:40 pm

  10. @Robert
    It’s somewhat surprising because all of them seemed successful in their work as evidenced by how much they enjoyed it. Even if they come from a poor neighbourhoods, it’s pretty bad that income earners can’t afford to buy even there.

    Comment by mjpledger — July 29, 2016 @ 4:24 pm

  11. become a rentier isn’t starting a business. good on him for working and saving hard. but he’s not adding value to anything or anyone. he’s not building anything, not creating anything, not making anyone’s life better. he’s just on the road to becoming yet another bankrupt former petite bourgeois mook when the market crashes.

    Comment by Che Tibby — July 30, 2016 @ 6:51 am

  12. It’s a pity there aren’t other towns or cities in New Zealand where a person might find work, and save for a deposit to purchase a house which is considerably cheaper than those in Auckland. I guess the poor are just trapped, and will end up living and dying in the same neighbourhood they were born in. Without access to jobs, health, education or social welfare. It’s like some kind of socially engineered concentration camp. Those poor people.

    If only they could get break! But how will we gauge their ‘success’ on this respect? Of course! They’ll know they have ‘arrived’ when they raise healthy, educated and confident children, and can help them out, so that others may demonise them as ‘bourgeois’, should they have the audacity to actually succeed in carrying out their selfish, anti-social agendas.

    God I hate people like that they are so …. responsible, it makes me want to puke.

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 30, 2016 @ 8:23 am

  13. It’s a pity there aren’t other towns or cities in New Zealand where a person might find work, and save for a deposit to purchase a house which is considerably cheaper than those in Auckland.

    Many of us agree Lee, and without intending snark.

    We’ve all been over it too often to need to discuss it further.
    Now, at last, those with access to levers for change are beginning to think about starting to prepare to do some things some time which may or may not make a difference, especially to those who weren’t smitten by property in their pre-pubscence and/or related to quantities of surplus capital.
    And another thing, house owning is not a requirement for being among the Elect.

    Comment by paritutu — July 30, 2016 @ 9:08 am

  14. @Che

    > become a rentier isn’t starting a business

    Well I think it is. You are selling services, you have to comply with the various laws and do your taxes. Feels like a business to me.

    > he’s not adding value to anything or anyone. he’s not building anything, not creating anything, not making anyone’s life better

    Have you tried being a landlord? It does involve work (such as finding tenants and carrying out maintenance). If you do a good job then it definitely makes the tenant’s life better – by providing them with accommodation – one of the most basic needs a person has.

    I can think of lots of well paid jobs that add less to the sum of human happiness.

    > he’s just on the road to becoming yet another bankrupt former petite bourgeois mook when the market crashes.

    _If_ the Wellington property market crashes, which seems by no means inevitable. Also I doubt he’d go bankrupt as his parents would likely bail him out😉

    A.

    P.S. Why this desire to denigrate all landlords? Is it a class warfare thing?

    Comment by Antoine — July 30, 2016 @ 10:29 am

  15. “And another thing, house owning is not a requirement for being among the Elect.”

    But it appears that a couple of semesters studying political science does, is my snarky point.

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 30, 2016 @ 11:36 am

  16. How sad that a young boy absorbed the message that a house is the best/only thing to invest in. And we wonder why NZ has such under-capitalised businesses.

    Big shift in attitudes is needed or we will have nothing left here that isn’t owned by foreign banks or ‘investors’.

    Comment by Sacha — July 30, 2016 @ 6:18 pm

  17. It’s easy to spot cherry-picking dressed up as “inspiration porn” in news articles like those.

    Antoine & Sacha: The hashtag #NotAllLandlords comes to mind, and it’s gone far beyond mere class warfare. Rentiers have no reason to innovate, instead relying on an absence of proper competition – remember Telecom before it was unbundled? The very same rentiers haven’t learned much from the 1987 Crash which exposed the sharemarket bubble for what it was.

    The most corrosive effect of rentierism is that it sends the message that success in life owes largely to dumb luck (eg being born into affluence and not having a disability), pulling up the ladder behind (eg intergenerational theft), narcissism, and country club connections. When rentierism is left unchecked, illiberal demagogues like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage are warning signs.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — July 30, 2016 @ 9:12 pm

  18. Case in point of rentierism: The response to the Auckland Unitary Plan from the likes of David Seymour, Dick Quax, Cameron Brewer and Denise Krum. They’re the kind of people who speak like free-market cheerleaders, but when you dig a bit deeper, they’re quite happy to (mis-)use the very same Big Government they complain about to resist things like relaxation of building height limits.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — July 30, 2016 @ 9:50 pm

  19. Are you guys out of touch? What do most New Zealanders aspire to?

    A) work hard, save hard, buy an asset with lasting value, one that certainly seems a good bet, that could well help “set you up for life”, and get a degree so you have a chance of getting a half decent job.

    B) go on marches, protest, shriek at people when they use the “wrong” words, join organisations, pass remits, don’t get a job, but look down on those who do. See Say you want a better life for people, but disparage them when they do it for themselves. Eventually get a job, but make sure it’s in the public sector, because, you know: pensions. Plus you’ll be uniquely skilled to handle the politics that seems to pervade the public sector. Believe you are special, not like the rest of the sheeple (or the “masses” that Sanc has risen above).

    C) bumble along, saying you want to own a home. You find it “difficult” to save, but seem to have a good knowledge of all the best cafes, restaurants and coffee houses in town, especially the new ones. You aspire to work in media or the “digital economy”, possibly because the roles in it sound sexy.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 1, 2016 @ 9:05 am

  20. “I like the way the media have taken to covering incidents of young people buying houses and putting them on the front page of the newspaper/web site. Y’know, to show how super, totally extremely normal it is for young people to be buying property.”

    I like the way the media have taken to covering incidents of young transsexuals, out and about living their lives and putting them on the front page of the newspaper/web site. Y’know, to show how super, totally extremely normal it is for transgendered people to be living normal lives.

    Isn’t it all about aspirations and acceptance? The story about the transsexual will tell some of the story about, actually, it’s been a tough road to get to where she is now, and it won’t be a bed of roses always.
    The story about the youngster buying a house does touch on the harrowing ordeal: working, saving, not buying a double-whipped espresso-mocha on the way to work each morning, making a sandwich at home to take for lunch, not having SkyTV, not buying a European car, even though most architecture students wouldn’t be caught dead in anything less than (since the demise of Saab) a Skoda, some sort of diesel VW wagon, or a bright orange, vintage Volvo Estate (emissions be damned).

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 1, 2016 @ 9:24 am

  21. What would be really super cool would be a poll of your readers:
    – How old were you when you bought your first house?
    – Did it have more than one bathroom?
    – Now that you are 40+, how many homes have you owned over the years, and how many bathrooms/shower-rooms/ensuites does your current home have?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 1, 2016 @ 9:28 am

  22. @Clunking Fist, why are you so interested in our bathroom arrangements?

    Comment by Antoine — August 1, 2016 @ 10:08 am

  23. Because “kids these days” have unrealistic expectations of the house they think they deserve at their first attempt. E.g. 3 or 4 bedrooms, a garage, walking distance to all the cool bars, ensuite to the main bedroom. Etc. The experience of the vast majority of first time buyers is: compromise, get on the ladder, move up when money allows, etc.

    (Obviously, I generalize. But listening to younger colleagues discuss the topic around the water cooler, I conclude: the unrealistic expectations, the inability to trim their entertainment budget and their desire to trade up each year to the latest iPhone, results in them being confined to the renter class. Occasionally, I stumble across one who has not only saved a deposit, but get themselves informed and ready to take advantage whatever the kiwisaver first home buyer deal is.)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 1, 2016 @ 4:23 pm

  24. Oh, and the “I wouldn’t live in Kelson/Naenae/Johnsonville/Newlands if you PAID me” mentality.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 1, 2016 @ 4:29 pm

  25. God, CF – could you fit any more feckless yoof tropes into your comment?

    Comment by Gregor W — August 1, 2016 @ 4:31 pm

  26. Clunking fist m8 I don’t think any public sector agencies offer pensions (beyond kiwisaver matching) anymore because it’s not 1991

    Comment by SG — August 1, 2016 @ 4:39 pm

  27. CF: also, there are a lot of reasonably priced apartments, but banks want far bigger deposits for them.

    Argument A only applies in a genuine free market system not distorted by speculative bubbles, and if everyone came from middle class affluence with no disabilities or mental illness. Whereas what we have right now is a plaything of Generation Rentier. Overseas, we’ve seen populist movements previously dismissed as far-Left or far-Right suddenly coming to prominence when issues like these are swept under the carpet.

    I’ll say it again: Generation Rentier includes, but is not limited to, the likes of Dick Quax and Denise Krum who’d like to see the RMA on a bonfire but are equally happy to use it to keep Auckland an overgrown country town. If you haven’t already noticed, “rentier” is “renter” with an “i”.

    An increasingly large number of our fellow citizens have seen through the ‘inspiration porn’ for what it is: a 21st Century modernisation of saying “let them eat cake”. I dare you to find a single copy of The Communist Manifesto or The Little Red Book among these fellas.

    http://www.coalitionformorehomes.org.nz
    http://thespinoff.co.nz/auckland-2016/27-07-2016/announcing-the-war-for-auckland/

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 1, 2016 @ 10:24 pm

  28. Oh, and the “I wouldn’t live in Kelson/Naenae/Johnsonville/Newlands if you PAID me” mentality.

    I rented in Johnsonville for six years and spent just over a year looking at buying in the northern suburbs. I came to the same conclusion as your young colleagues, because every single house in the suburb is overpriced and damp as shit. I guess the ‘boomer generation will just have to wait in hope for someone else to come and buy their old, overpriced suburban crap – FHB’s today are a little too clever to make that mistake.

    Comment by Phil — August 2, 2016 @ 1:10 pm


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