Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Thursday, 23 April 2015

NIMBYism leading to increased inequality

In Inequality is growing in our own backyards Michael Pascoe looks at an article in The Economist by Matthew Rognlie who argues that a major cause of growing inequality is the growing cost of housing.

Pascoe posits that house owners, keen to "preserve its character", actively campaign against changes that would result in more efficient and higher density housing. This not only leads to a shortage of supply, but may also rob the owners of heritage listed buildings of dubious value the opportunity to reap the maximum returns from the value of their land.
In many of the trendier suburbs, you may well be a Green or Labor supporter who rails against inequality but also rabidly supports the imposition of heritage orders to freeze often dreary and inefficient architecture and, heaven forbid, limit or ban higher density housing for the masses.

But it's you who is creating the inequality gap.
He concludes:
But that's only part of the solution to the housing problem. If any government took that problem seriously and could ignore the rent seekers, medium density should be the default option for cities like Sydney. Anyone with a suitably sized block of land or any group of willing neighbours should be able to build a fashionable row of terraces instead of their isolated boxes, if they so wish.

Those who prefer their own quarter acre would, of course, be welcome to it, and the land tax that it would incur in a rational nation interested in sensible tax reform.

So put your hand up if you're genuinely interested in a fairer society, in preventing increasing inequality, in making housing more affordable for your children, in living in a more efficient, greener city with better infrastructure, and, effectively, freezing housing prices and restoring individual property rights?

I think I just lost the owner-occupier and NIMBY vote.
I think Pascoe has nailed one of the main reasons for the high cost of housing in Australia.