Wish Danyl, Russel, Keith and Tze Ming Mok would get together and start the equivalent of a newspaper or a TV station with enormous amount of access.
I've been enormously conflicted about this.
1) China's ability to be a big fish and increase its influence over New Zealand, the speed at which this happens and our concept of ourselves as a nation thinking ahead 30-50 years, and not being tied to WWII and the 1970s nostalgia. Is it racist to worry about the social effects of increasing political and financial influence with Chinese banks opening and us being (or perhaps having been) so dependent on the Chinese dairy market?
2) Labour's ability to govern for the poor. See the article above. Those guys don't need any extra problems. Same as beneficiaries under the current government.
3) Racism doesn't matter unless it aligns with National Party interests. Who is making a stink about the low rate of Polynesian home purchases or as above the health, overcrowding and other issues? That is seriously racist and I'd like to think that anyone who is principled about being anti-racism would make that an issue.
4) Culture change. What are the essential principles we aren't going to trade away?
See here TPPA, Saudi farms and Casino deals which are government lead and things like attitudes to women, smoking and other forms of social change over the last 30 years which are influenced by immigrants from countries with different values.
I had a conversation with about women in tech and the low uptake of coding jobs by qualified women (IE a big gender disproportion in the tech sector in the US) and I had a chap from overseas who couldn't understand why it was important. Which some people in NZ may think, but attitudes are such now it couldn't be said publicly or assumed to be the 'commonsense' held by all.
5) Racism=power imbalances among groups?
I feel that there is a lot more than racism in this and there are many reasons to be angry in different directions. For a lot of people growing up in New Zealand who are not able to buy their own home to see the Mitt Romney's of China
("Why do you spend $100 on beer while you can save it and spend it on your house one day?" Mr Li asked.
"There are so many other Kiwis who can afford to buy their houses. Why don't those people work harder to earn more, save more and then they can buy? To me, it's very fair. Excuse my language but only losers think it's not fair. My money didn't fall on me from the sky. I am not ashamed of being richer than those people who don't work hard and blame others for their own failures. This is what I value."
along with other investors being shown the welcome mat is very irritating. This is not being angry with China or Chinese, but with the policy of the government which has policy settings directly to the detriment of its citizens which advantages some of the 1% foreigners.
Anyway I don't know how I think about this, but I know that the people who do are setting the agenda. See how quickly Don McKinnon, the New Zealand China Council, Chester Borrows told us that having this debate was damaging.
Labour was praised by the PRC president for the actions of Norm Kirk's government. It also signed the free trade agreement. I hope it knows what it is doing.
What do you define as the “fundamentals” of a local housing market? Do you mean a measure of median house price to median income – as this seems to be the metric gaining traction in the housing affordability debate both here and elsewhere.
I can’t easily define it – this is a big question. So no, I don’t mean the price to income ratio of locals. I’m more in a situation of doubting that we understand the fundamentals than proposing my own ones, which means that it’s very hard to say if we’re in a bubble. 5 years ago I was pretty sure we were, but now…not so much.
What I mean by fundamentals is the idea of “underlying value”. The fundamentals are that which gives the thing long term value. Not the short term sentiments of the market that could just be feeling bullish or bearish at the time, but what “real” value the thing has.
I know it’s vague – the idea of fundamentals is disputable. But it’s also a pretty common analysis, the main alternative to a more “technical” view of it, in which you only look at the price and try to find patterns. To even call something a bubble, or overpriced, you have to pretty much believe in the idea that there is a real price, or a real value, to which, in the long run, the current price will return.
So what does drive the “real” value of property? Well I feel pretty sure it isn’t only the median income of locals, unless they are the only people who can buy property. When pricing things like stocks it’s common to look at the expectation of future earnings, usually based on current earnings, and other patterns you might find like similar houses, or similar cities, etc. But residential property is not solely for making profit out of. It’s at least as common to view the house in terms of what you personally want out of it. If you like it, you’ll pay more. If you can see yourself living in it, or your kids living in it, then you can value it higher than just what it can earn in future rentals. Also, you may have long term plans that totally change the value of it to you, compared to other people.
And that goes for Chinese people every bit as much as locals. It’s at least possible that their capital is not just coming in to make speculative income – it’s also a large part of a genuine desire to own these properties because they like something about them more than what the locals do. Or perhaps they like them the same, but they have more money to spend, and there are more of them.
And what would foreigners like about Auckland property? Well, it has a lot going for it. It’s in NZ. It’s the biggest city. It’s a safe, stable country. It takes immigrants. Immigrants can get an education here. It’s underpopulated. The weather is temperate. There are a lot of lifestyle aspects that are rare in the more populated parts of the world. You are allowed to buy property. Even if you’re not local. That property is mostly untaxed.
What’s not to like about all that? Maybe it’s the opposite of a bubble, the place is underpriced, at least in an international sense. I don’t personally know. I know I’d like to own more property here, personally. I just can’t afford to.
Perhaps this will help;
The scale of our housing market was revealed today in the March 2015 data out from the RBNZ. The value of all houses is 'now' $791.2 bln, and that value grew by $66.5 bln in twelve months. That is value growth going up at the rate of $182 mln per day - I kid you not. (And almost all that gain is not taxed. If it was at 30%, the public coffers would have benefited by $20 bln, representing 80% of GST.)
the median selling price in the Auckland region has risen by $155,000 (25.8%) in the last year or nearly $3000 a week.
the average asking price in Auckland has increased ten times faster than the rest of the country
It's a bubble.
Maybe it's my turn to ask how you define a bubble, because it may not be the same as I see it. Your points here indicate that you see it as a more technical thing - it's been rising too fast. Which takes no account of underlying value. You can have extremely rapid growth in a market if there is driving force behind it. Like you find gold, or perhaps a massive investment is made that enables the growth.
I don't dispute that it's becoming unaffordable for residents. I'm just questioning the reason for that. Not all rapid growth is bubbles.
Wiki is as good as anything for my definition;
And I've always liked this graphic representation;
And I'd go with the theory that "intrinsic value" of our housing stock relates to affordability - the median house price: median household income works for me.
Let’s reframe the problem:
<b>“Greedy kiwi homeowners shutting out their fellow countrymen from home ownership by selling out to foreign interests”</b>
The source of the money, or the race of the person with the money should be irrelevant.
While we are to welcome truckloads of migrants and enjoy minority status in China 91% are of one ethnicity. Also “More than 94 per cent of Chinese permanent residents and more than half of those with NZ citizenship told University of Auckland researchers that they felt a greater sense of belonging and identified more with their country of origin than New Zealand.”
The fact that you highlight the Chinese in this regard shows your deep seated racism.
Firstly remember the world cup ---yeah, the oval ball one four years ago. Who do you think local born Samoans and Tongans supported----they came out in droves and flew their flags all over the place, welcomed their respective teams, and some would even support Samoa over the All Blacks.
Same with South Africans. Same with English migrants ---who are extremely attached to the UK. I have Italian NZ friends who identify with Italy more than NZ. True.
And how many generations did it take before Pakeha New Zealanders stop calling England 'home'
So again.....it is singling out the Chinese for something everyone else does anyway.
That is racism.
"While we are to welcome truckloads of migrants and enjoy minority status in China 91% are of one ethnicity."
Hey JH ---Pakeha New Zealandres are about 70%? of NZ ----is that minority status.
There have been more white immigrants from UK + South Africa etc than Chinese over the past 10 years ----what is your view of them.
And about 90% of the UK is also white ----does that mean we ban white migrants to NZ
So you are real confused dude.
Wiki is as good as anything for my definition;
Suits me, that’s basically what I said mine was. Let’s put it here for completeness:
An economic bubble (sometimes referred to as a speculative bubble, a market bubble, a price bubble, a financial bubble, a speculative mania or a balloon) is trade in an asset at a price or price range that strongly deviates from the corresponding asset’s intrinsic value. It could also be described as a situation in which asset prices appear to be based on implausible or inconsistent views about the future.
If we agree on this definition, then the problem is just to identify what makes “intrinsic value”. You could theorize that when it comes to houses, there’s some kind of ratio of median earnings to media price. That looks to me like what you’re saying?
I have 2 main questions here:
1. Where does it say that intrinsic value is based on affordability? A Ferrari has intrinsic value, but is highly unaffordable to most people. A Van Gogh painting has a huge intrinsic value, so high that only a tiny percentage of people could ever afford one. This value is steadily rising (with ups and downs, but the overall trend is up). Does that make it something that is bubbled? Or is it that the Van Gogh is actually intrinsically extremely valuable?
2. Following from that, you could counter that the affordability that matters is to the right population. Say a Van Gogh is only affordable to billionaires or government backed museums. Then it can be overpriced at some time, if the billionaires are taking a bit of a haircut, or the countries that want to stock their museums are cutting back on art investment. But if we extend that to housing, the question becomes: Who is the population we are talking about? Affordable to who? Pretty clearly it’s anyone who could feasibly buy the thing. If we have the doors wide open to foreign investment that means that median incomes in NZ aren’t really the driver you think they are. What matters is the median incomes of people who might be attracted to buying a house in NZ. That pool could be many times the population of the entire country, and could have a far higher median income too.
So what I’m saying here is that with our extremely open property market, I don’t think we can model whether an asset is overpriced by looking at local incomes alone. Are there foreign incomes that are rising far more rapidly than ours? Of course there are. So if median incomes is the bound, the baseline that sets where bubbles are, we probably have to look at the median income of the more rapidly growing and populous nations.
Then there’s the confounding factor of their very different property market. They might be gagging to buy property, even at earning/price ratios that would make NZers retch, just because they can’t buy it easily elsewhere. And then there’s the question of whether they might have reasons beyond earnings to wish to own such a foreign asset. It could be seen as a bolthole from a very oppressive regime. That has a very different price tag to them than it does to me, because I don’t live in a regime that has, in living memory, purged the population, shot up protestors, rounded up dissidents and shot them, strangled poor neighboring countries, denying them freedom of self-rule. If I lived somewhere like that, was moderately rich, and had an opportunity to get a bolt-hole in a safe little haven at the other end of the world, I’d pay well above market to get it.
Also, when it comes to spending power, I think mean income is actually better as a predictor of price. Median is a good measure of affordability, and I'm glad to see it quoted more often. But if in a group of 10 people, 9 of them earn 50k pa, and one earns 1000k pa, the median of 50k pa is not a true reflection of the money available. That one person could buy ALL the houses and rent them to the rest. You don't have to set your price at what the 50k people could afford. Futhermore, once the 1000k pa person gets all the houses, they could become a 2000k pa person without affecting the median at all. With double the buying power, double the ability to influence prices.
I guess my point to you is "don't confuse what should happen with what is happening". Housing prices probably should be driven by median incomes in the country the houses are in. But I don't think that IS what is happening. That doesn't make it a bubble. It makes it a boom, and one that could go on for decades. NZ's ability to soak up excess Chinese millions is really quite small. We could slow the boom by tightening up on foreign investment - I think we should*. But until we do, it's a boom and possibly a very wise investment, much as property has been since Europeans first landed in NZ. Great for whoever has the money to shovel into it, and terrible for the locals. The other story in these figures is how much that is the case - Euros are still doing OK, getting a reasonable chunk of the property here. But Maori and PIs? They're screwed, and getting more screwed every day.
Which is all racist observation. Individual Euros are still poor as, in exactly the same boat as the average Maori. And some Maori have stacks of cash, as do some PIs.
*When I say we should, I'm certainly open to some of the ideas that instead of just stopping it, we redirect it into "productive" housing development. Then we get a boom that flows beyond property ownership into the entire construction sector. That would actually do a great deal to help poor people. And I want a bigger city too. I want this place to grow massively. If it's got a lot more Chinese people in it when I'm old - great! It's got a lot more PIs in it than it did when I was a lad, and we're all the richer for it.
That doesn’t make it a bubble. It makes it a boom
You're right, it's only a bubble if it pops. And I think I earlier explained why I think it will pop. As you point out, the question is 'how soon'. And my response (were I a highly leveraged house owner in Auckland presently) would be to first assess the safety/certainty of my ongoing income/employment in Auckland in the event of a severe recession (global conditions impacting on local). Those in essential services are likely more 'safe' (provided the government can continue to pay its wages bill) - the private sector always contracts first.
If I determined the risk of job loss during a contraction was medium to high - I'd plan now for such an event. Additional investing in the market right now is silly - the price is to high based on intrinsic value (to locals, that is) And it isn't just on an affordability measure - residential rental yields are running at no more than 2% based on today's prices. Not worth risking capital at that yield - but this is the problem the world over, no matter what the asset class.
But Maori and PIs? They’re screwed, and getting more screwed every day.
Mainly those that don’t have a stake in any land, to call home.
I think median income is a good measure of people covered by that median (locals) ability to buy houses. This makes it good as an affordability measure. It does not, however, have much to do with a predictor of what prices will be, just if the median people can afford them.
From this debate, which has been enthralling, I have taken the following lessons:
1) Our country (and the British social order which it follows) has always had a racial hierarchy, but some of us are not happy to face that reality. The statistics show this painfully clearly.
2) We have enormous and differing anxieties about what our country may be in a post-commonwealth world and have a leadership vacuum in this regard.
3) It is likely that China (the country, the civilisation) also has a racial hierarchy and no one has talked about this much, as we assume people like us as a country and darling of the former Brit Empire.
4) While we are in this public morass where genuine public conversation has been largely suppressed, avoided or differed, other more dynamic and powerful countries are already attempting to make decisions about our future.
5) The poor have been abandoned by politicians and have increasingly weak influence on our national conversation. It is not clear, though, that our society no longer feels a moral duty for greater equality or to guarantee a minimum existence to its weakest members.
6) If Labour wants to ever have a mandate to govern it will have some serious butt kissing to do.
7) This so far has been one of the rare successful attempts to change the political narrative and get media attention in New Zealand by Labour in 7 years.
8) This is a bad and polarising backdrop to consider how our multi-culturalism will continue to work.
9) Why hasn’t anyone asked Bic Runga what she thinks?
10) Will this be forgotten by next weekend?
It does not, however, have much to do with a predictor of what prices will be, just if the median people can afford them.
Correct. But purely from an investment/capital risk point-of-view - trying to time/pick/enter before the peak of any market bubble is only really a strategy for those participants who are purely 'in it' for speculative gain. And that's the problem for many locals and in particular, our first home buyers - they have to take on the same large risks that the speculators are prepared to take on - yet such risks are only appropriate for those that can afford to lose.
I have re-read Tze Ming Mok's original post and it is an angry one about the betrayal of Chinese New Zealanders by Labour. This was my initial and angry gut reaction too.
There is no consideration, though, of global politics- the enormous influence that even a small slice of one the great powers wealth could have on us. It's very late in the piece to be thinking about this granted, but this too is a valid thing to consider.
It is just as valid to be concerned about this as it is to be concerned about Pharmac and IP through the TPPA.
Van Gogh’s and the like are Veblen goods – their desirability is based on the price.
A better example of a market good would be secondhand cars, which rise and fall in price according to supply and demand. If there’s a shortage of cars, the price goes up, but only by a limited degree, as people settle for older and rattier cars and more vehicles are imported.
In the case of Auckland property, you need to consider whether anyone would buy a tumbledown shack in a semi-ghetto for a million dollars if there was no expectation of substantial future gains. Probably not. Some people would be forced to, but many would rent or move elsewhere – and nobody would buy properties to rent out unless the rent covered the mortgage and other costs.
(In most countries, most of the time, you can buy a property on a mortgage, rent it out and make a small profit. This hasn’t been the case in NZ for years. Same with farms, even at inflated dairy prices).
10) Will this be forgotten by next weekend?
Did you notice how quickly the story about violence in prisons changed? The cell phones are now the problem, not the post traumatic stress disordered people who will soon be living in a slum near you. Unless you live in a ‘good’ street.
You’re right, it’s only a bubble if it pops.
Well, it's only clear that it was a bubble at that point. So the absence of popping (yet) doesn't make it not a bubble.
Also, a sudden sharp downturn isn't always indicative of a bubble. We could drive down the prices of Auckland property on purpose just by passing laws about the prices. In doing so we would be deliberately changing the fundamentals, rather than failing to hover close to them.
To accurately call it a bubble you have to have an accurate model of the fundamental value, and then show that prices are well in excess of that. But fundamental value itself is quite a difficult and nebulous field. Part of the risk in investing is that people evaluate it differently. To say Auckland is overpriced you have to have a model of what is the correct price for a property in Auckland, taking into account all the things that all the buyers will consider important in the value. And here's the problem - do we really know what those are for the pool of buyers outside of NZ, most of the world's population? People from other place might, quite simply, see it differently. Where we see overpriced, they see underpriced. This isn't just theory - I think this is exactly what is happening. We're sitting here thinking the prices are crazy high, but investors from places where it's harder to get property like what's in Auckland think the exact opposite, that it's a goldmine of valuable property that they want to have. Their perception of that makes it so. Their desire to own the property adds to the fundamental value, so long as it's not purely speculative. And I just don't think we have enough information to judge what the motives of the foreign buyers are. We don't even have information about how many or who they are, really, that's what all this kerfuffle is about.
If I determined the risk of job loss during a contraction was medium to high – I’d plan now for such an event. Additional investing in the market right now is silly
Sure, but you're talking about a local investor. The risk of job loss from a contraction in NZ is pretty minimal for someone whose job is in Hong Kong.
Not worth risking capital at that yield – but this is the problem the world over, no matter what the asset class.
You're modeling property like it's a stock. But other people don't necessarily see it that way. They might have very different ambitions for that property in the long run. They might want to live in it one day. Or to let their kids live in it while they study, then send their parents there, before coming themselves 10 years down the track. That's not something cold P/E ratios are going to pick up. Especially if moving to NZ becomes trendy for some particular set. Then it's got not just the Kiwi lifestyle that they can have later, but they could be bringing in a whole lot of their own cultural comforts - many friends, whole areas that are developing around their tastes, nice places for their friends from home to come and visit. Maybe even bringing branches of their businesses from where-ever they come from with them, maintaining a stronger connection back home and keeping a high income going. This is the immigration pattern of every group I've ever known. My own family did it this way. Hell, since my wife is Australian, I even did it. I didn't think of the spare rooms in my own house as wasted earnings, I thought of them as guest rooms for an endless stream of Ozzie visitors, and then as bedrooms for my future children. I chose the price with that in mind, and spent my Ozzie earnings accordingly.
It's not like this is the first time that NZ has been seen as a land of opportunity. From the perspective of the rest of the developed world, it's a pretty unexploited place.
Van Gogh’s and the like are Veblen goods – their desirability is based on the price.
Maybe. But however they get their value, it's intrinsic. It's not pure speculation that makes them valuable. Van Goghs are rare, culturally important, incredibly famous. Not to mention beautiful, ground breaking works of genius.
Which is all beside the point I was making, which is that their price doesn't have anything to do with median incomes. It may well have tracked mean incomes more closely, since that captures the earnings of the ridiculously rich. But really, incomes isn't the driver. No more Van Goghs will ever be made. These things are accruing value because they are rare and important. That won't change just on market sentiment. They will never become less rare (well, OK, if some of them are destroyed or lost, then maybe. But they're pretty well protected). They will never lose their place in the annals of Western Art. Their value is intrinsic.
That's all if you believe in intrinsic value at all. It's not a certainty. A whole school of thought says there is no such thing, that there is only price. But in that school of thought there is no such thing as a bubble. There's not even a correction. There's just people making decisions in their interests, which are in constant flux. It's a conundrum all right, and part of the reason I can't feel sure we're in a bubble. Maybe they're right. I don't think so, but it's a pretty difficult area of economic philosophy - possibly the hardest of all, the very heart of it. What is value?
In the case of Auckland property, you need to consider whether anyone would buy a tumbledown shack in a semi-ghetto for a million dollars if there was no expectation of substantial future gains. Probably not.
Hard to say. You can always build. A ghetto might not stay a ghetto. It's an ironic choice to bring up, really, because the land at the end of my street had very little more than a tumbledown shack on it, and at the time, the area is as close to ghetto as West Auckland gets. It sold for a shitload more than a million. Because the Chinese buyer then developed it massively. It's not clear whether they did it in the intention of renting it out, because for all the complaints that Auckland doesn't have enough rentals, there's a whole bunch of empty places at the end of my street.
At the end of the day - one person's tumbledown ghetto shack is another man's 20 million dollar opportunity. The previous bunch that failed to develop it were locals. They presumably did the numbers and came up short. Now it's a big collection of the newest houses in the district. I don't know the owner's plans - maybe they're just a whole lot longer term than what local people bother with. Maybe they have better information about a big pool of people they could sell them to, that local sellers are not privy to. Maybe it's just some really rich guy's vanity project, and he'll name the whole thing after himself and put a big statue up at the entry way.
I think it's quite hard to put a local price on what someone from abroad may put on the opportunity to do something entirely different with their life. Could an early contact Maori have really understood the motivations of some person from a city like London coming all the way to NZ just to confine themselves to an acre of dense forest? Only after they saw what that person did with it, and by then it's too late for the Maori guy to go "Oh shit! That was a good idea. Wish I'd asked for a whole lot more. No wonder the weird white dude looked so pleased with himself afterwards". Or even "Oh Shit!!! I never realized he was going to do THAT!! Fuck it!! I never signed up to let him do THAT!!" (thinking of something like clear-felling all the trees and selling them off as logs. Or starting up a saw mill, or an open cast mine, or a big hotel full of drunken white sailors).
We're not quite so unlucky as those Maori. We might, at least, see this coming. Or we can convince ourselves that our ideas of value are real, theirs are false, and wait for the bubble bursting that never comes. Or, it could be a bubble. I don't know. I just have my doubts.
Van Goghs are rare, culturally important, incredibly famous. Not to mention beautiful, ground breaking works of genius...They will never lose their place in the annals of Western Art.
Wouldn't surprise me if the Sunflowers eventually drop a notch or two in the canon. A few more decades of being employed in the decor of state service provider facilities as a means of inducing bovine compliance has to take its toll.
Yes, elevators have certainly done classical music no favours.
There is no consideration, though, of global politics- the enormous influence that even a small slice of one the great powers wealth could have on us. It’s very late in the piece to be thinking about this granted, but this too is a valid thing to consider.
True- –but is that foreign power aggressive with a history of imperialistic interventions all over the world?
No, in the case of China. Yes in the case of the US.
China simply offers NZ an option/s —–we do not have to take what is offered and can pick and choose.
There will not be Chinese gunboats in Wellington harbour to force John Key to sign ‘unequal treaties’ or legalise the importation of crystral meth – Chinese are not aggressive like the Anglo Saxons who forced a weak China to give up its silver in exchange for a flood of opium into the country – devestating the Chinese people
Chinese are not aggressive
Whenever anybody claims “[X group] are not aggressive”, the question comes to mind, “So how have they survived so long?” Most groups are aggressive when they feel they need to be. (Genghis Khan was of course a pacifist who made a point of ending all war.)