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Right to a house?

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  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    Actually, we need to build both.

    Private house building also ground to a halt. This means that people who could afford to buy a house can't, because there aren't enough being built. Which means they stay in private rented accommodation, pushing rents upwards and pushing the poorest out the bottom of the market.

    Secondly, you can't just build local authority houses in large sites. That's been done before and was a disaster. That's why the likes of St Michael's is being redeveloped. If it had worked it wouldn't have been knocked down.

    Long story short, you need a mix of both.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Who builds it is not the issue. It would always be a private builder. The issue is, if funded or banked by the tax payer, who owns it once built?
    Once upon a time councils had their own tradesmen and engineers, and it was "a job for life". Now they have lost that expertise, but they could recruit workers again.
    That is unlikely to be public policy ever again, partly because council workers were notoriously lazy and slow.

    But then it begs the question, if they are useless at building the houses, useless at maintaining them, and useless at retaining control of them, what is the point of giving local authorities the ownership of them?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,013 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Actually, we need to build both.

    Private house building also ground to a halt. This means that people who could afford to buy a house can't, because there aren't enough being built. Which means they stay in private rented accommodation, pushing rents upwards and pushing the poorest out the bottom of the market.

    Secondly, you can't just build local authority houses in large sites. That's been done before and was a disaster. That's why the likes of St Michael's is being redeveloped. If it had worked it wouldn't have been knocked down.

    Long story short, you need a mix of both.

    I agree. The state seems to be concentrating on one with a concerted effort to fudge the term 'social' to mean 'available to buy', going by their last housing publication.
    recedite wrote: »
    Once upon a time councils had their own tradesmen and engineers, and it was "a job for life". Now they have lost that expertise, but they could recruit workers again.
    That is unlikely to be public policy ever again, partly because council workers were notoriously lazy and slow.

    But then it begs the question, if they are useless at building the houses, useless at maintaining them, and useless at retaining control of them, what is the point of giving local authorities the ownership of them?

    We have record breaking, growing crises. So logic dictates that something is wrong and things are becoming worse. So staying the course simply makes no sense.
    I'm not sure who you're responding to as I don't see anyone advocating the councils hiring vast swathes of tradesmen. Councils tender out/hire private companies to take care of much of it's maintenance to it's housing stock. It's been that way for a very long time.

    If there are issues with councils not carrying out their remit to our satisfaction it should be addressed. Simply complaining about it and doing nothing but watch things get worse is cutting your nose to spite your face. There's enough blame to go around, but using it to ignore possible solutions and continue as is, is silly.

    Meanwhile should we expect a rap on the knuckles off the EU for using NAMA as a builder friendly bank? Does it contravene competition laws, or is it okay with folks as long as it doesn't benefit the general public?


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,339 ✭✭✭✭jimmycrackcorm


    I've been saying this for years and years - the root of this issue is in the post-Reagan/Thatcher policy era of the free market sacred cow. F*ck the free market, if it isn't providing society with what society needs.


    I don't think that's entirely to blame. The bleeding hearts demand that social housing may be integrated which dictates buying into expensive private schemes in the name of equality.

    Yet they won't tackle the source of the problems of large scale social housing is developed, which is the problem tenants.

    It has also become too expensive for councils to actually provide housing due to their own building regulations and requirements that thankfully are starting to change.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,797 ✭✭✭✭hatrickpatrick


    PPPs came about because, while councils had plenty of sites, what they lacked was sufficient capital to develop/redevelop them.

    The days of whacking up a few hundred council flats on a site and nothing else are gone. We only have to look at the likes of Michael's Estate in Inchicore to see how that worked out. So instead you need something with a mix of public and private housing and decent amenities. And that costs more to develop.

    Dublin City Council did actually attempt to go it alone with O'Devaney gardens in 2012 but couldn't raise the cash to do it.

    Now, I guess the question is, if the outcome is going to be the same, a development with a mix of public and private ownership, does it really matter who builds the thing? Or, to put it another way, is it better to have a site lying undeveloped for lack of funds or have it redeveloped by a private developer?

    It matters who owns it though. Because what we actually need, which nobody is talking about, is a fairly large scale artificial deflation of rental prices through artificially low rents backed by councils. That doesn't happen if you allow the private sector to *own* these sites after they have been developed - they are interested in getting as much money as they possibly can in return, not in "what can we do here to better society as a whole by correcting the overheated rental economy".

    Let me put this another way - social housing is one thing, but I'm suggesting that even "mixed tenure" developments still need some kind of artificially low rents (in other words, not market rate) because market rate is now simply too damn expensive for ordinary people to afford without being left miserably destitute in every other way. So it's not just about housing the homeless anymore, it's about achieving a massive and reasonably rapid reduction in rents across the board. Rent controls are apparently a no no, so this is the next best option. Because essentially, it is now clear that just like education, health etc, we simply shouldn't allow housing to be dictated by how much money people can make from providing it. It needs to be provided for the good of society at rates which society can afford, even if those rates are less than the absolute maximum it would be possible to milk from people given the chance.

    The private sector will never behave this way, it isn't designed to. But we have a societal need for it. That's where the state should step in.

    Our first and foremost priority must be to ensure a decent quality of life for average individual citizens. This doesn't happen in a system which is designed to milk as much money from them as possible, rather than deciding on a rate which is reasonable and doesn't leave people financially destitute.

    One of the "three Fs" back in the days of the Land League was "fair rent" - in other words, not just a rent which would turn a profit but also one which tenants could reasonably be expected to afford. That concept has gone out the window in favour of "if your decently paying job won't house you, tough sh!t, too bad". That's not the kind of society I want to live in, and I highly doubt most others want to live in it either. But since the Reagan / Thatcher era, it seems to be simply "not on the table" or "not up for discussion" in terms of potential policy changes we could make.

    I'm not talking about social housing to house just the most destitute in our society (which we absolutely need, don't get me wrong) - I'm talking about a more fundamental drive to force the price of rent down by any means necessary, so that peoples' quality of life will stop plummeting as their rents skyrocket and they are left with less and less disposable income for anything else. So I'm not just talking about your classic "we'll build a few blocks of flats here and there for people on the dole", I'm talking about a much wider "this country's land is too expensive and the prices need to be forced down or we'll have an entire generation of people who are never able to live a decent life even with relatively high paid jobs".

    EDIT: Again, healthcare is a good example of this. The reason we don't leave it entirely to the private sector is because if we did, thousands of ordinary people would end up priced out of healthcare and their quality of life would plummet as their health deteriorated and they couldn't afford to pay for it to be maintained. I really don't understand why people find it so outlandish to look at housing in the same context.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,316 ✭✭✭Consonata


    I agree. We need to be building more alright. But I think for a single development, 60 is enough. What we need are more developments.

    Couldn't we be building building up and get more for a single development. Obviously not in isolation, building retail spaces and schools for new communities. Projects on a scale which haven't been done since the 60s


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,736 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    One of the "three Fs" back in the days of the Land League was "fair rent" - in other words, not just a rent which would turn a profit but also one which tenants could reasonably be expected to afford. That concept has gone out the window in favour of "if your decently paying job won't house you, tough sh!t, too bad". That's not the kind of society I want to live in, and I highly doubt most others want to live in it either. But since the Reagan / Thatcher era, it seems to be simply "not on the table" or "not up for discussion" in terms of potential policy changes we could make.
    How do you propose defining what "fair rent" is?
    What better way is there of defining a fair rent than the market rate?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,316 ✭✭✭Consonata


    kbannon wrote: »
    How do you propose defining what "fair rent" is?
    What better way is there of defining a fair rent than the market rate?

    Market rate, and then in certain circumstances, take a %age of income so we don't have people spending half to 2/3rds of their income on rent.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,736 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    Consonata wrote: »
    Market rate, and then in certain circumstances, take a %age of income so we don't have people spending half to 2/3rds of their income on rent.
    What percentage if circumstances and what are these circumstances?
    So some landlords can charge market rate whilst others will be limited in what they charge based on some arbitrary circumstances? I can see them lining up to exit the business!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,013 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    The market rate is artificially skewed against the consumer. People on low income get rent aid to assist, the same with buyers. This gives a false market rate.
    When people can't afford rents, instead of them becoming lower, the state steps in with a tax funded dig out. Why would anyone drop prices? It's a fixed game.

    If we're talking caps; how much a landlord can raise rent in a given period is the only reasonable route.

    We are in the process of penalising the public, to maintain private profit margins in the housing industry.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,593 ✭✭✭Wheeliebin30


    blanch152 wrote: »
    The latest discussions in Dublin City Council are about whether portraits should be hung in the Council chamber. The level of debate is below that of a residents association. Not surprising given the current calibre of councillors, but they have the money, they have the resources and they have the tools to solve the housing problem, yet they refuse to use them or just don't know how to use them.

    Majority sinn fein too.

    If the "homeless" crisis was solved what use would they be?

    Not much left to rant and rave about while offering no credible solutions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,198 ✭✭✭Good loser


    The market rate is artificially skewed against the consumer. People on low income get rent aid to assist, the same with buyers. This gives a false market rate.
    When people can't afford rents, instead of them becoming lower, the state steps in with a tax funded dig out. Why would anyone drop prices? It's a fixed game.

    If we're talking caps; how much a landlord can raise rent in a given period is the only reasonable route.

    We are in the process of penalising the public, to maintain private profit margins in the housing industry.

    There is a relatively free market in the private sector, as things stand, so the market rent is just that. Because there are many, many players on both sides of the market that market cannot be manipulated in any significant way.

    This is proved further by the climb in rents over recent years - reflecting under supply and scarcity. People can (and do) adjust to high rents by dropping their housing needs - extra people in a house, sharing rooms (I did it myself years ago) etc. Rents cannot inflate indefinitely - people will only pay over so much of their income.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,586 ✭✭✭✭For Forks Sake


    Majority sinn fein too.

    If the "homeless" crisis was solved what use would they be?

    Not much left to rant and rave about while offering no credible solutions.

    Yep. Same council cut LPT by 15% (on some of the most valuable property i the country) and have the gall to whinge about lack of money for badly needed projects across the city


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,256 ✭✭✭MayoSalmon


    Yep. Same council cut LPT by 15% (on some of the most valuable property i the country) and have the gall to whinge about lack of money for badly needed projects across the city


    SF are champagne socialists. They have no grasp of basic economics.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,397 ✭✭✭✭FreudianSlippers


    Consonata wrote: »
    Market rate, and then in certain circumstances, take a %age of income so we don't have people spending half to 2/3rds of their income on rent.
    So wait... two identical apartments have a different rental price depending on the income of the tenants?


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    It matters who owns it though. Because what we actually need, which nobody is talking about, is a fairly large scale artificial deflation of rental prices through artificially low rents backed by councils. That doesn't happen if you allow the private sector to *own* these sites after they have been developed - they are interested in getting as much money as they possibly can in return, not in "what can we do here to better society as a whole by correcting the overheated rental economy".

    Just because it's a PPP thought doesn't mean the local authority doesn't own the public portion of the development. Take O'Devaney Gardens for example. Half of the 585 new homes will be private housing, 30 per cent will be social housing, and 20 per cent will be “ affordable” housing . That to me is the kind of mix we should be aiming for.

    High rents at present are being driven by lack of supply. Best way to ease that pressure is building more houses.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Just because it's a PPP thought doesn't mean the local authority doesn't own the public portion of the development. Take O'Devaney Gardens for example. Half of the 585 new homes will be private housing, 30 per cent will be social housing, and 20 per cent will be “ affordable” housing . That to me is the kind of mix we should be aiming for.
    So different people paying different prices for the same thing.
    To me that is wrong. There is no incentive to be that guy paying the top price.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    Affordable housing schemes aren't new. They've never deterred people from paying market price for similar.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,013 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Good loser wrote: »
    There is a relatively free market in the private sector, as things stand, so the market rent is just that. Because there are many, many players on both sides of the market that market cannot be manipulated in any significant way.

    This is proved further by the climb in rents over recent years - reflecting under supply and scarcity. People can (and do) adjust to high rents by dropping their housing needs - extra people in a house, sharing rooms (I did it myself years ago) etc. Rents cannot inflate indefinitely - people will only pay over so much of their income.

    ...or become dependent on the state.
    If you're selling and nobody is buying you've two options, lower your prices or find another career. That's not how the housing market works.
    ...

    High rents at present are being driven by lack of supply. Best way to ease that pressure is building more houses.

    I believe NAMA loaning tax payer monies to developers, at more favourable rates than any other financial lender is willing to, is a good example of state interference in the market aiding artificial market pricing.

    Building more private houses will only help if prices are driven down because of more supply. The state will ensure this doesn't happen, if it continues as is, (grants/subsidies etc.).


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,736 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    So wait... two identical apartments have a different rental price depending on the income of the tenants?
    Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one of your cows and gives it to your neighbor. You're both forced to join a cooperative where you have to teach your neighbor how to take care of his cow.

    :rolleyes:


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  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    I believe NAMA loaning tax payer monies to developers, at more favourable rates than any other financial lender is willing to, is a good example of state interference in the market aiding artificial market pricing.

    Building more private houses will only help if prices are driven down because of more supply. The state will ensure this doesn't happen, if it continues as is, (grants/subsidies etc.).

    I'm not sure I follow. Why do you think loaning money to developers at competitive rates ensure less supply, not more? Or am I taking you up wrong?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,013 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    I'm not sure I follow. Why do you think loaning money to developers at competitive rates ensure less supply, not more? Or am I taking you up wrong?

    The state is giving private developers loans at rates banks are unwilling to. In essence making it easier for private developers to borrow more money.
    This means they can build more stock, can make more profit on that stock.
    This is public money being used to fund private profit.

    (By the way, if NAMA gave individuals loans to build their own homes at rates more favourable than any bank was willing to there'd be sherry spilling in Fine Gael branches throughout the land.)

    So we see more houses built as a result. Do we expect them to lower prices as a result of getting a better loan deal? Unlikely. Do we expect them to have to lower prices due to more supply? Unlikely. As it stands, the state uses tax payer money to pick up the slack of individuals not being able to afford private buys/rent.

    The state is in the house building business, but for private profit.
    If the state put as much effort into social housing, we might get somewhere. It's great to help create more supply, but not if prices don't fall as a result. As long as the state skews the market in favour of private developers, I can't see pricing fall.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    Price is dictated by what people are prepared to pay, not by what developers decide they want to charge. More supply means buyers have more alternatives and developers have to operate on lower margins. If the state wanted to make home building more profitable for the developers who can build, they'd be making it more difficult borrow money, not less.

    The state also profits. These are loans, not grants, repayable with interest.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,013 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    So wait... two identical apartments have a different rental price depending on the income of the tenants?

    That's actually how state owned homes are rented out. Based on need and income. Stops those undeserving from taking advantage and ensures those who are in the most need are prioritised.
    Now we know there are fraudsters, but it's a solid model if policed correctly. The goal is providing roofs not gouging. It's the state, (gov/LA's) after all not a private company.

    Seems to me people are generally okay with the genuine poor and sick getting a dig out from the rest of us. The problem is allocation and the policing of such a system. They shouldn't all suffer or be open to abuse because of LA/Gov ineptitude at tackling fraudsters.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,013 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Price is dictated by what people are prepared to pay, not by what developers decide they want to charge. More supply means buyers have more alternatives and developers have to operate on lower margins. If the state wanted to make home building more profitable for the developers who can build, they'd be making it more difficult borrow money, not less.

    The state also profits. These are loans, not grants, repayable with interest.

    People need a roof. That's the difference here. If you can't afford to buy or rent, you can join the growing numbers in emergency accommodation or receive state aid. It doesn't look like developers or landlords are playing ball.
    More alternatives won't mean a thing unless prices drop. And why would a developer or landlord drop prices if the state continually steps in with grants, aid and fabulous loans? The state is helping to rig the market.
    Sure, the state will likely get the money back with interest, but it still stands, the state, through NAMA is using tax payer monies to help private developers, which is ironic to say the least.

    I hope it pays off, but I can't see it.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    But part of the problem is the lack of construction of private housing. If too few people are building, prices are going to continue to escalate rapidly because buyers will be bidding on a smaller pool of new homes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 945 ✭✭✭Colonel Claptrap


    This is public money being used to fund private profit.

    (By the way, if NAMA gave individuals loans to build their own homes at rates more favourable than any bank was willing to there'd be sherry spilling in Fine Gael branches throughout the land.)

    Come off it.

    Public money being used to fund individuals to build their own home is still "private profit".

    You're conviently ignoring that AIB (state owned) already funds Joe blogs at rates far better than the 4-5% developers will pay.

    Who benefits if smaller developers are encouraged to compete in the market? How does more competition and increased supply lead to higher prices exactly?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,134 ✭✭✭Lux23


    kbannon wrote: »
    Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one of your cows and gives it to your neighbor. You're both forced to join a cooperative where you have to teach your neighbor how to take care of his cow.

    :rolleyes:

    Whereas right now with our system, a few guys have all the cows and the rest of us have nothing. I know which one I would prefer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,138 ✭✭✭turbbo


    Lux23 wrote: »
    Whereas right now with our system, a few guys have all the cows and the rest of us have nothing. I know which one I would prefer.

    Go out and buy a calf - learn to take care of it - one day it will be a cow, it even may go well and you'll get calves off it.
    This is capitalism it is a game - play it - it's good for you!

    Have a look at Venezuela and where socialism got them.


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  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,736 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    Lux23 wrote: »
    Whereas right now with our system, a few guys have all the cows and the rest of us have nothing. I know which one I would prefer.
    ...and the number of available houses increases and the price of a house decreasrs in line with supply and more construction workers find work and people will have more opportunity to buy a house and so on.
    Yeah, it's a crap plan! :rolleyes:


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