High house prices: a blunder of our governments

That was the title of an address I did to a group of several hundred investment management professionals in Auckland this morning.  The organisers wanted snappy titles: mine was inspired by the book, The Blunders of our Governments that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

The essence of my story is in this summary I gave them for the programme.

High and rising house prices in Auckland hog the headlines.  The tax regime and bank lending practices are largely irrelevant to what has gone on.   Instead, increasingly unaffordable house and land prices result from the collision of two, no doubt individually well-intentioned, sets of policies.  Tight restrictions on land use crimp the supply of the sort of properties most people want to live in, while very high target levels of non-citizen inward migration persistently boost demand for housing.  One or other policy might make sense, but together they represent a blunder that is enormously costly to the younger generation of Aucklanders.

I only had 20 minutes to speak, but a fuller version of my story, with a few more of i’s dotted and t’s crossed, is here.

High house prices a blunder of our governments

In a slightly intimidating approach (at least for the speaker), each presentation was rated electronically by each member of the audience as soon as it ended.  93 per cent of the audience claimed to “largely agree” with my story.  I’m sure that won’t be the general reaction, and as ever I’m interested in thoughtful comments etc.