As I intimated a while ago, my partner and I have been house-hunting. Six weeks ago we made an offer on one we liked -- last weekend we moved in. Having first-hand experience of the house buying woes that are all around the media these days, I figured it'd be a good idea to put my two cents in. The process of finding and buying a house has taught me the following:
- Houses are expensive.
- People like to whinge.
So part of the problem is pickiness; part of the problem is an unwillingness to prioritise -- you might be able to afford the house you want by sacrificing some of the lifestyle you want (trips overseas and the like). We're planning a trip to Germany at the end of the year, hopefully bankrolled by gifts from our impending nuptials -- however we end up paying for it, it'll be the last extravagant spend we do for a long time. We're also going to have to put off having kids for some time, too -- longer than we'll want to, I imagine, but again: priorities.
Pickiness, unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices... I feel like I'm forgetting something... Ah, that'll be it: Houses are fucking expensive. Here's where I disagree with the other side of the commentariat as well. All the smug pricks who bought a house ten or twenty years ago -- back when the average-house-price-to-average-wage ratio was half what it is now, education was free and you could support a family on a single income -- sneering at we 20/30-somethings snorting lattes out our noses at the size of the mortgages we'll have to take on. It is harder to buy a house than it used to be -- that's just a fact.
I find it hard to blame anyone other than investment property owners -- and not just the people who rent out twenty houses; the swarms of people with one investment property for their retirement. I don't know much about economics, but doesn't restricting the supply of something make it cost more? More houses owned by investors = less houses for people to buy to live in = higher house prices. What to do about it? I dunno. I don't see what's so horrifying about a capital gains tax on investment properties that makes it "political suicide" for anyone to even talk about bringing it in -- politicos, care to comment?