Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The uncooling of the inner West

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  • DexterX, in reply to Amanda Wreckonwith,

    I have to fight the desire to drive up country and spray paint ATLANTIS over the Omaha signs.

    Classic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Be interesting to see the "dots" that have gone offshore permanently and the new "dots" that have entered and become permanent residents.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dastardly Bounder,

    Lamenting the loss of culture in a now gentrified suburb seems to be a global modern dinner party theme (Hackney, Harlem, The Castro, Berlin’s Graefe), but to me it’s akin to saying there’s no been no good music since the ‘insert decade here’.

    I’m not saying it was the best of all worlds back then. Far from it. I’m saying that it’s not going to happen again like that, which would also be true about music too.

    I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about your comment, and Amanda’s, that are annoying me so much. It’s like you’re trying to invalidate the lamentation of any change with the observation that change is inevitable. Well of course it is, but sometimes it’s not for the better, and then it is certainly lamentable. If we, for example, had unemployment rise to 20%, you could use your argument to say that I’m just hankering for the good old days of low unemployment. Which would be silly.

    But in this case it’s hard to see how it could have been different. It was quite a strange set of circumstances that created that culture in the first place, a time in which for some reason the proximity to the city was highly undervalued by mainstream NZ. I’m happy for the people who went from rags to riches in property in those areas, my own parents not least. But that particularly golden opportunity is not there any more.

    ETA: ...and I think that is a loss for the artistic and intellectual culture of the city.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    swept away with the currency...

    … a loss for the artistic and intellectual culture of the city.

    Too true, it seems the only thing that is sown or grown in cities (and their conurbations) these days is money...
    ...and looking at the dense suburbs 'springing' up on the still productive ex-market garden soils around Chchch, I despair that the idea of a 'cash crop' has become a hopelessly compromised consumer concept - with no real thought spent on the realities of the future we are being herded to, under urgency!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    +100

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m not saying it was the best of all worlds back then.

    And neither am I. And neither is today's world. I'll have no truck with Good Old Gottfried.

    My issue is with the "it's not going to happen like that again". Well of course it won't. Nor should it. It will happen again but in a different way, in a different suburb, town, village, island.

    If we, for example, had unemployment rise to 20%, you could use your argument to say that I’m just hankering for the good old days of low unemployment.

    Nothing wrong with the hankering - it's the thinking that we are now stuck with the 20% and that it will never change, that I reject.

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    still productive ex-market garden soils

    Well to speak Candidly, the weather outside is glorious so I must tend my garden. (Lady or otherwise).

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori, in reply to BenWilson,

    Some of the most important drivers for making the Ponsonby/Grey Lynn/Herne Bay area affordable/desirable has almost nothing to do with taste or culture. They were the consequence or the post hoc rationalisation of a trend. Hard to believe but once upon a time in the olden days - 50s/60s/70s/early 80s - mortgage lending was tilted towards new housing mostly because of settings determined by the state. It was hard to get a mortgage on old properties, for a couple of reasons. State lending was focused on new housing mostly because of the positive impact it had on the economy and back in the day the State through the Housing Corporation and its predecessor the State Advances Corporation were a very large part of the home lending scene mostly because of Government restrictions on mortgage interest rates which - naturally - severely limited the supply of loan finance from the banks. When the banks had so few loans to offer they could make up all sorts of rules about who could get a loan and on what kind of property. Old villas or cottages with wooden piles were pretty much the lowest priority - the predominance of brick and tile in 50s and 60s houses wasn't because people had bad taste but because that was the sort of housing that was incentivised by the much more tightly regulated mortgage market. With the liberalisation of mortgage lending in the mid 80s all this changed and people could buy what they wanted to rather than choose within the narrow set of parameters determined by their lenders. A lenders market became a borrowers market as people expressed their varied tastes and preferences. Ponsonby et al hence started from a low base and as demand ramped up so did prices.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Tinakori,

    Hard to believe but once upon a time in the olden days – 50s/60s/70s/early 80s – mortgage lending was tilted towards new housing mostly because of settings determined by the state.

    Hard to believe only because, to the conservative mindset, the status quo is assumed to be divinely ordained. Banks simply didn’t lend for anything but new housing until the early 70s. That was the decade when gentrification slowly ramped up. Even before the Douglas reforms the do-up industry in Auckland’s inner west was well under way.

    Fisherton Street in Grey Lynn, for example, has half a dozen ‘period villas’ which are basically shotgun shack railway houses bought cheap and trucked in from the central North Island. A lot of vacant sections around the old Salvation Army Shoprite in those days. Back in 1981 someone presumably did very nicely flogging them for around $40,000 each.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Tinakori,

    I'd say another big factor was the relaxation of zone use in the CBDs of NZ's major city centres, unless it was merely unfashionable back in the day.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Yup, and the banks lending policies affected the modern distribution of wealth in other ways too. I remember a friend telling me how his parents were house-hunting in the late 60s. There was an old villa in Devonport they really wanted to buy, but as you've noted, the bank wouldn't lend the money to buy something old, and they couldn't buy without a mortgage, so they bought a new build in Ranui.
    By the time we were talking about this, in the 1990s, Devenport had already gentrified. Ranui apparently still hasn't. So his parents' asset-base was directly determined not by their own choice, nor by how much deposit they had, nor their income (since the mortgage required for either property was the same) but solely by bank mortgage policies
    I guess the equivalent now would be small apartments, where banks will lend less because of the perceived risk. Kind of hard to see them appreciating compared to other options the way Devonport did compared to Ranui, but who knows?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11351161

    ANZ New Zealand profit surges $343m to $1.71b

    so joining a couple of dots…all those second hand goods sold to citizens…by citizens…funded by the like of ANZ…revalued old lead paint to reflect the market position going forward while the owners slept…seems like a surge to me…and don’t forget the incentives to keep mov’n the second hand goods on…to other citizens who aspire…like all of us...2 be part of something meaningful…then there is the melk powder folks and their dirty pipes….I feel a surge of strangeness…and much anger…that is the “profit” number…and of course like all good accounts….

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    http://www.tomgouldshoots.com/#/action-bronson-easy-rider/

    and Tom Gould did that action bronson video...good god what an export!!
    yeeha...

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Shulgin,

    that action bronson video

    Fatbastard seemed awfully impressed with his ripply-distorto 'hallucinations'. He's yet to learn that unless you see stuff that isn't even actually there you're entitled to demand your money back with menaces.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    and speaking of stuff that isn't actually there....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/opinion/londons-housing-boom.html?_r=0

    London’s Housing Boom

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/01/opinion/underwriting-the-next-housing-crisis.html

    Underwriting the Next Housing Crisis

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Shulgin,

    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/oct/31/millionaire-landlords-fergus-judith-wilson-evicting-families

    Millionaire landlords Fergus and Judith Wilson begin evicting large families

    yeah not sure about "fatbastard" comment in relation to action bronson...ripply-distorto housing hallucinations...

    NZ • Since May 2011 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Shulgin,

    yeah not sure about “fatbastard” comment in relation to action bronson…

    Flaming bagpipes would have been an improvement on all that holy guitar faffing about.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Wallington,

    Barfoot & Thompson CEO, Paul Thompson, as quoted in NZ Herald…

    ’Thompson encouraged first-home buyers to “forgo something if you really want to progress”.

    “They still want to go out on a Friday and Saturday night and have a good life as well as most probably have Sky TV,” he said..

    OK than… just keep on sucking up the pathetic wages, tax your taxes and GST on fuel, food and everything else. Keep paying the student loans, try living without a car in a city where public transport is spotty at best. Suck up the shit offerings on Freeview and if you still have a B&W TV, watch that (it is good for the reinforcement of self discipline). Oh and pay the rent to some latter Peter Rachman who probably manages his portfolio through the aforesaid Barfoot & Thompson.

    If you listen to Key, English, Nick Smith and Paula you must know that poverty is a simple lifestyle choice. Don’t have kids until you can afford them… blah… blah… blah.

    The fact is this is what New Zealanders opted for when Sir Roger, Richard Prebble and the rest of the carpet-baggers came to town. You voted for this again at the last election folks. As long as money is the measure of all things – including individual human worth – it will only get worse.

    Welfare is for rich folks. so Hollywood, the America’s Cup Team, Greedy Banks and former utility companies benefit from state largesse. The last state houses will be sold and soon. . Merry Christmas to all and God Bless Tiny Tim.

    Waikawa Beach • Since Sep 2013 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But yeah, I do think I'm entitled to not want to die the death of Parnell.

    Every day I walk down Ponsonby Road and reflect on how lucky I am to live here. After working in Parnell for 3 years you realise just how good we have it over this side. Our friends in the 'Chev are mad about their neighbourhood as well. If we can find a way to bring in a lot more people at some form of affordability then things will only get better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 90 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    There's lots of reasons to leave Ponsonby/Grey Lynn, not just because of high property prices.

    I enjoyed 20 years living in Freemans Bay, Ponsonby, Herne Bay and Grey Lynn however once I had kids I started to wonder why I was living there. The schools were not that good and some of the things that are so important to kids (like beaches) were a long way away. Not to mention our local playground in Grey Lynn park had so many homeless guys living out of shopping trolleys (you smelled them before you saw them) that I felt I had to keep a real close eye on the kids.

    So we sold our Grey Lynn villa and stretched our finances to buy a much more expensive house on the North Shore with amazing schools and a lifestyle that leaves Ponsonby/Grey Lynn for dead. You could not pay me to shift back to central now.

    We stop by some of the old haunts from time to time to see if we miss them. Turns out we don't. I think it's really easy to get caught up in just how cool your suburb is, but there's more to life than Victorian houses crammed on tiny sections with limited garaging.

    The only thing I really miss is being able to stroll to concerts at Studio, Galatos, Power Station or Kings Arms, but a taxi ride is a small price to pay.

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rik,

    it’s the thinking that we are now stuck with the 20% and that it will never change, that I reject.

    So how do you see inner suburban Auckland property prices ever going back to the point where young people could afford them, then? Because I'm not seeing anything encouraging there. I'm saying it was a good thing that they were once affordable, and now they're not and that's not such a good thing. In fact, I see this intensifying until owning property in Auckland becomes something that only rich people can really do at all. That's not an improvement, it's not a social order that I think is awesome and that we need more of it. I don't see how it can be fixed, but that's part of my reason for seeing it as inevitable in the first place. Yes, somewhere else might become cheap, but then it's not going to be the center of NZ's biggest and most dynamic city any more. In other words, those days are over. The future of property ownership for young people in Auckland is going to be in outer suburbs or small detached towns, or maybe low quality urban shoe-boxes. Probably only the latter case might lead to a sufficient concentration of youth to be reminiscent of the inner West in the late 20th century.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to BenWilson,

    So how do you see inner suburban Auckland property prices ever going back to the point where young people could afford them, then?

    A massive fall in property values would do that. Or the suburb becoming very undesirable to the wealthy. Or government intervention to build houses for sale at below market rates.
    Or maybe its better to stop clutching the pearls of the past and look for another oyster to open.

    The future of property ownership for young people in Auckland is going to be in outer suburbs or small detached towns, or maybe low quality urban shoe-boxes. Probably only the latter case might lead to a sufficient concentration of youth to be reminiscent of the inner West in the late 20th century.

    Low quality urban shoe boxes - perfect description of the pre-gentrified Grey Lynn and Ponsonby. So why do you want to condemn them to these draughty, damp, cold houses where you can hear your neighbour fart? Why not planned suburbs with good transport links and modern, light, energy efficient houses? Why not self sufficient eco-communities further afield? Why not cloud based tele-communities?

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, mid century housing and lending policies had the unintentional impact of making lots of the inner city housing cheaper than it otherwise might have been if people were able to express their own preferences. Lots of people still wanted new houses because they were a hell of a lot more convenient to live in than all but the most palatial 19 and early 20th century housing but lots would have had a go at gentrification a lot sooner and prices would have stabilised at a higher level earlier and then probably moved up from that higher base at a more steady pace than has been the case. Would they have reached the level they are now? Current prices are probably more a function of various planning policies and transport issues than gentrification with many older houses in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations of renovations. Could the inner city become cheap again? As you say, unlikely. To me one of the key issues is the crappy design of new housing. One way of improving it would be to have monthly executions in Victoria Park of builder-developers-draughtsmen judged to have put up the worst housing without benefit of architectural advice. That would change the incentives in a hurry.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith,

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to BenWilson,

    Every day I walk down Ponsonby Road and reflect on how lucky I am to live here. After working in Parnell for 3 years you realise just how good we have it over this side. Our friends in the ’Chev are mad about their neighbourhood as well. If we can find a way to bring in a lot more people at some form of affordability then things will only get better.

    Or maybe the smell of smugness will become so nauseating that these suburbs will become uninhabitable...

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

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