02 September, 2007

SALISBURY COUNCIL has a solution to John Howard’s destructive interest rate hikes

More than a third of Australian household income is spent on housing. It would be comforting to think that a worker’s net wage might actually be enough to cover both rent AND food, but John Ducklips Howard’s WorkChoices ruthlessly eliminates that option. It’s becoming a case of getting two jobs - or seeing through the corporate myth of the “Aussie Dream” and choosing to downsize your options to match reality. Or escape to Thailand.
Australia is big. VERY big. Therefore it’s always surprised me that land costs SO much when Supply so vastly exceeds Demand. I know it costs developers money to build infrastructure like water, roads, electricity etc, but I also understood that’s why Australia’s 3 levels of government charge Rates, Taxes, Levies, etc.

So it’s interesting to hear of the local council at Salisbury (near Adelaide, South Australia), virtually admitting that they have excess land to give away for free. The deal is that the owner must build a dwelling (presumably something more than a garden shed?) and that the council will claim a share of equity and capital gain whenever the house is on-sold.

Here’s a completely land-free alternative form of housing… but oh shit! the fuel, insurance and repairs… and the carbon tyre-print.
PS: If you have a fetish for weird vehicles, ya juss gotta go to this page.
Presumably most of Salisbury Council’s takers will consider passing on their property in their Will rather than selling and forking out half the profit. However, a bigger trap may be that the council could see fit to increase Rates by insidiously jacking up land valuations each year. Caveat Emptor, folks.

More Australians may begin to consider this brand of budget-friendly furniture.

Even though Salisbury is not exactly a top-end housing market (in Australian terms), a property/house package can still be in the order of AU$300,000+. That’s a price which effectivly excludes a huge number of people from the "Aussie Dream". But land values are partly a social construct, as I think Salisbury Council is tacitly admitting. Making land into a market commodity like houses, cars and potatoes may have been Capitalism’s Big Mistake, especially when it now gobbles 36% of an average family’s income. Perhaps the Aboriginal land tradition of group custodianship for the Common Good worked better. More inclusive of poorer people. And certainly much better for avoiding sub-prime mortgage fund meltdowns.

Typical low end accommodation in Australia, complete with aircon and ensuite. Also see this high-class humpy. Hey, at least a derelict car-body offers more security than being at the receiving end of thumping great interest rate hikes. White picket fence is extra.
By comparison, Thailand is only about the size of the Australian state of New South Wales, and carries a population (65 million), which is about three times as large as the entire continent of Australia (only 21 million). Yet the housing/rent costs here come in at about one fifth of Australian prices. It has as much to do with population size and Economies of Scale as it does with scarcity of land. More people = cheaper costs due to larger-scale production. Australia’s infrastructure (road/rail/air networks, electricity grid, etc) are enormous yet must be funded by a relatively small number of tax-payers. Here in Thailand it’s the reverse – a smaller country with many tax-payers. But the irony is that even in Thailand there’s a lot of spare land ...and it isn’t very expensive.
Housing affordability needs to be up-ended in Oz to make life financially viable.

It's the civic duty of FunkyPix2 to present a wider range of housing alternatives…

.......... ...because housing affordability can drive you up the wall….

.............................. …or over the edge...

........................... …or up the creek...

........................... …or down the tubes...

............................... …or round the bend...

............................... ...and even to drink.

Or you could simply minimize the land-cost problem by purchasing as small a block as possible. This house in Vietnam [left] is taxed according to the width of its street frontage, and the one in Palestine according to its area actually built on the ground.
Ain’t Architecture grand?
Now FunkyPix goes into magic-carpet mode and transports you on a free whirlwind tour of housing options from around the world:

When you've chosen which house you'd like to build, contact FunkyBrix2 for cost estimates.
Smallprint: We conform to John Howard's WorkChoices ideology by hiring desperate workers (themselves with high mortgages) for less than peanuts ...so you pay less for your house!! Great deal for you and us but not them. The resulting sub-prime mortgage crisis will be inherited by Kevin Rudd, anyway.
Yeehah, let's have a house-warming Party!

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