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US jobless claims rise unexpectedly; US housing market slows; pushback on global tax reform; global food prices rise again; UST 10yr at 1.63%; oil steady, gold up; NZ$1 = 70.5 USc; TWI-5 = 72.8

US jobless claims rise unexpectedly; US housing market slows; pushback on global tax reform; global food prices rise again; UST 10yr at 1.63%; oil steady, gold up; NZ$1 = 70.5 USc; TWI-5 = 72.8

Here's our summary of key economic events overnight with news global food prices rocketed high again in March.

But first, there was a somewhat surprising rise in US jobless claims last week, surprising because it cuts across the recent narrative that things are improving fast in their labour market. There were +741,000 new claims last week, well above the expected level of +680,000. Now there are just on 4 mln people on these benefits.

US housing market activity is probably slowing too, with mortgage applications down -5% last week from the prior week, and now down -20% on a year-on-year basis. Mortgage interest rates had an interruption to their 2021 trend higher, with the benchmark 30yr fixed rate slipping slightly to 3.13% plus points.

Internationally, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's push for a global minimum tax rate for multinational companies got a boost from her boss who said these companies should pay taxes where they operate. But it is getting some surprising pushback from the World Bank, the boss of which claimed the suggested 21% minimum was "too high". And China, and its tax haven Hong Kong, is not on board with these reforms yet.

In Hong Kong, one of the world's most unaffordable cities for housing, more than 4% of its homes were unoccupied at the end of 2020, according to data just released. That is a +17% rise over the year and the highest level since records began for this metric in 2015.

In the EU, producer prices are on the move higher, a harbinger of future inflation. Already higher are EU house prices - and rents ... although to be fair, these rises are tame from the New Zealand perspectives.

Global food prices rose another +2.1% in the month of March alone, from February. Dairy prices jumped +3.9% on that basis and meat prices were up +2.3%. Overall, prices are up a worrying +25% in a year, led by the price of vegetable oils that are rocketing higher and up almost +90% in a year. The cost of food is now approaching the all-time peak reached in 2011 in nominal terms, although in real terms the peak was in 1974. In the 1970s that was a time of extreme inflation generally, and non-existent growth, known as stagflation.

On Wall Street, the S&P500 is up a modest +0.3% in early afternoon trade. European markets were up an average of +0.5% overnight. Yesterday, the Shanghai market ended up +0.1%, Hong Kong was up +1.2% and recovering Wednesday's large dip, while the very large Tokyo market closed down a minor -0.1%. The ASX200 rose +1.0% yesterday, and the NZX50 Capital Index rose 1.2%.

The latest global compilation of COVID-19 data is here. The global tally is still rising, now 133,390,000 have been infected at some point, up +732,000 in one day, mostly in Brazil (+90,000), Turkey (+55,000) and India (+126,000). Global deaths reported now exceed 2,893,000 and +15,000 in one day. Vaccinations in the world are still rising fast, now up to 711 mln (+17 mln) and in the US half of their population (170 mln have had al least one dose and up +2.9 mln in one day) have now had this protection as they achieve a very fast rollout. The number of active cases there fell to 6,858,000 and down -10,000 overnight as some new hotspots emerge with problematic variants.

The UST 10yr yield is down another -2 bp to 1.63%. The US 2-10 rate curve is flatter at 148 bps. Their 1-5 curve is also flatter at +78 bps, as is their 3m-10 year curve at +162 bps. The Australian Govt 10 year yield is down by -2 bps at 1.66%. The China Govt 10 year yield is fimer again at 3.25%. But the New Zealand Govt 10 year yield is unchanged at 1.76%.

The price of gold starts today up +US$16 from this time yesterday at US$1756/oz and a one-month high. This comes as ETF holdings for gold are declining.

Oil prices are little-changed from this time yesterday, still at just on US$59.50/bbl in the US, while the international price is now just on US$63/bbl.

The Kiwi dollar opens today marginally firmer at just on 70.5 USc. Against the Australian dollar we are unchanged at 92.2 AUc. Against the euro we are also little-changed at 59.2 euro cents. That means our TWI-5 opens today a little firmer at 72.8.

The bitcoin price will start today at US$57,660 and up+2.6% from this time yesterday. Volatility in the past 24 hours has been moderate at +/- 2.2%. The bitcoin rate is charted in the exchange rate set below.

The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here ».

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Is there any wonder there is such difficulty in reforming this sector?

Taxpayers are paying to rent two of the seven properties in the portfolio of National MP Christopher Luxon, who is among more than a dozen MPs that use Parliamentary accommodation allowances to effectively rent property from themselves.
Luxon has a portfolio numbering seven properties in total, including a home in Remuera and a beachfront property on Waiheke Island.

I repeat. I have no problem with anyone, Luxon or anybody else, owning 1000 properties in their own name, as long as it is wholly done with their own money and not subsidised by other taxpayers, in one way or another.
As the foundation stone of our society, mortgage debt should be used for the singular purpose of establishing a family home - one of them.
Just imagine what our country could do with all the debt that is currently tied up in residential property speculation if it was directed into another source of nation building -both public and private.


Ah, I see this is doing the rounds, except this is now being used to smear Luxon.


“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

It did not mention the elaborate scheme run by the Greens as a group. Wonder why not?

Ah the classic "Individual Super scheme owns the property, gold-plated parliamentary pension pays the mortgage, MP claims living costs allowance" banger. You have to give them credit, this was really brilliant.

Well KH that is straight out innuendo. Intriguing. Pertinent? Would very much think so.

Not innuendo. The Greens have such a scheme. Fact. It's relevant, and was left out of the article.
Why left out? Media bias? or slack journalism? Genuine question.

I think they stopped doing it when it became public knowledge a few years ago, but they made hay while the sun shone. You'll note most of the newbie Green MPs list a single property on the interests register so I think it's fallen out of favour.

perhaps they are too new to be recipients of the parliament superannuation scheme yet

Looked like Bias to me.
Read the back half of the article and see who got targeted and who got mentioned but ignored despite having the same number of properties, or a more opaque ownership structure. Note the statements on Greens (is not and never has been a landlord). This was not made for any other party, even where from the article it is obvious that the same statement could be made for many other parliamentarians.
Landlords are a legal and necessary role in NZ where 1/3 live in rented accommodation and the government neither builds enough or has enough to house them. Councils prevent faster development. The question is, are they a good landlord?

Pointing out people working around the law to double-dip the taxpayer is hardly smearing. This is another loophole like the Trust one that Bill English used, that was subsequently closed.

MPs are paid well. They should stand on their own two feet and not constantly put their hand out for more welfare. Especially those who ask such of others.

Luxon is in good company. His current and former party leaders Judith Collins and Simon Bridges both claim the allowance.

Simon Bridges still using this workaround, I see...

MP's 'property loophole' stings taxpayers

This is exactly the form of entitlement mentality we need to be aiming to reduce.

government of the people, by the people, for the people. hardly! while self interest and self reward dominate the parliamentary corridors of power other NZrs can eat cake, if they are lucky that is.

In which case Luxton is not the best example because he has only been in the govt (and in opposition at that) for a very short time.
To chose him is politically motivated plain and simple.

Can't help but think had his maiden speech not generated so much attention, we wouldn't be seeing this story in the context of Luxon as a headlinre lead, if we saw it at all.

He did a great ripoff of Ardern, and communicated to people through social media.
He's more media and comms savvy than most are, and used to a wider outreach using modern media methods. He's a threat, hence the targeting.

He's a threat, hence the targeting? Has not reached out to me in any form? As he only works for God and not the peeples will put many off.

He has been in government 2 minutes and is already ripping off taxpayers just like the others? So no one NZ knows what ethics is if you are “new”???

He's not "in government".

He has not denied any of the amount of publicity describing his overt ambition to be PM. It looks like he has got far ahead of himself in this regard. With a bit of luck he won’t catch up.

That is very true, thanks for pointing it out. He is in parliament I should have said or rather accurately he had been an MP for all but 2 minutes.

From his speech to parliament: "I will say a little about my Christian faith. It has anchored me, given my life purpose and shaped my values, and it puts me in the context of something bigger than myself,”

What a load of... Just as self serving as the rest of them.

My impression of Jesus' flipping tables in the temple was that he wasn't the biggest fan of financial chicanery. Why have those MPs who have marketed themselves with his name struggled so with this? Seemingly the most of any...

Yup. He absolutely reviled the hypocrisy. I grew up exposed to a lot of this religious garbage. They claim to follow Jesus, yet they are just modern day pharisees, the people he showed such anger and condemnation for, but they refuse to see it. The average agnostic/atheist acts with more true regard for justice and mercy than these hypocrites.

Luxon is the anointed second coming of John Key. This double-dipping in the tradition of Dipton is thus in the public interest.

MPs should just have the honour to stop doing this. It is clear that the trust loophole was closed because this is not in the spirit of the law. This loophole should be closed but those with honour should stop using it even before it's closed.

Hell Rick, they pass a reform law constraining and quantifying election party donations etc.,They are responsible as the law makers, and immediately that same body of , call em what you will, set about defeating that very same law. MPs have simply made a career for themselves in parliament and furnishing that career by any means, anything that can be snorted out of the public purse, is the only game in that particular town. Their venality has discredited and demeaned the very nature of parliament, our democracy. It’s bloody hopeless and so are they.

Indeed, it's all about character. That's why shining a light on such behaviour and ethical standards - including such reporting as this - is useful for society.

Of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists and for the lobbyists. For the generous donators, by the generous donators and of the generous donators. For the super wealthy, by the the super idiots who continue to vote for them, in service for the super wealthy.


I love how the responses are always along the lines of "but it's perfectly legal" and "all MPs do it"

It's crazy how the only thing we really incentivise MPs to do is enrich themselves. We certainly don't incentivise them to achieve anything over their term(s).

It's crazy how the only thing we really incentivise MPs to do is enrich themselves

MPs legislate their own riches. It's not decided by the people. People like Luxon could actually make a stand against the rorts that he is 'entitled' to if they were not aligned with his values. By doing so, he would show us what he's made of and what is important to him. He doesn't. The sheeple will say 'oh but they all don't.' That's probably a reflection of our leaders: They believe in self entitlement.

MPs legislate their own riches. It's not decided by the people

Ahh...People decide their elected representatives.

People decide their elected representatives.

Oh. It's alright then. Unfortunately, it wouldn't surprise me to hear this uttered by a politician, bureaucrat, or Mike Hosking.

This yet just another example of how our Government MPs have put themselves before the people they are supposed to serve.

I have no problem with out of town MPs costs being met, so long as they are capped. But there has to be a limit! Any MP who owns a home in Wellington should not be able to 'rent' it to themselves for them to live in while they are in Wellington. But the issue is more complex than this.

If they owned a home, should they be able to rent it on the open market while living somewhere else that they do not own? How does the IRD treat the ordinary people v the MPs? The rules should be the same?


Now we know why Christopher Luxon thinks being a property investor is "hardworking, innovative, risk taking".....hes got seven houses!

What planet is he on?

Could someone tell him to keep his hands in his pockets or out of his pockets!

Perhaps he should be telling property investors to put their hands in their own pockets instead of trying to extract money from other peoples pockets.

Planet Dunning Kruger. A common theme in the property investors Facebook groups is that Landlords are hard working and "run around after their properties". Either they need to be more selective of their tenants or stop buying dilapidated dumps to rent out.

Clearly you missed "Renters" on TV last night. Perfectly good properties with photos to prove it before it was rented out getting trashed by tenants. Just couldn't bring myself to rent out a house that wasn't a dump myself because renters in general need a hard kick up the arse. So many properties getting trashed that they can now make a TV series out of it. I personally know of a brand new house down here in Tauranga that they they rented out and its lasted a couple of months before going on the market to sell. Yet another story of neighbors from hell. Another case just down the road from me, both neighbors to the place in question recently sold at the same time, the house has been trashed, even the garden. It got to the point in my house search that I was actually knocking on the neighbors doors to see what they were like BEFORE going to the auction.

I don't think it would be too hard to find enough on the other end of the stick to make a tv series about "Landlords" either.

They tend to nominate themselves via social media, these days.

In my experience the majority of renters leave a house in a better state than someone who has sold. Because they have, references, etc.

He states that he believes in something bigger than himself, which is clearly evidenced by how little effort he has spent gathering up wealth for himself and championing the hoarding of wealth by others...

"I will say a little about my Christian faith. It has anchored me, given my life purpose and shaped my values, and it puts me in the context of something bigger than myself,”

You would have invested all these debts in what exactly BW? I agree that we would have been better off without this much debt. This is self evident. But I disagree with the notion that there is something in NZ that has this massive neglected potential just waiting for all the mortgage debt to flow its way to fulfill all this massive potential.
The ailing property market in NZ, the frenzy of people to buy more and more houses, etc is the SYMPTOM of an economy who has very little to offer, not its cause.
Without disregarding the massive negative social impact of the "investor funded" property industry in NZ, and the role banks play in it, one cannot deny that property has been one the foundations of NZ welfare (detoriating as it may be). A lot of times, people want to achieve conflicting objectives (in the sense the pursuing one objective will have to detract resources and effort from pursuing the other one).

B1980 here's a question; "invested all these debts in what exactly?" I don't necessarily disagree with your point, but considering that NZ is a small country with very limited resources, why can't we take a leaf out Taiwan's (or for that matter China's) book and have the Government support some debt to to develop new industry such as the tech space where a world shortage of computer chips is being spoken about?

I know we have a bad history with 'think big' projects, but this is less about thinking big, and more about diversification, and well as monopolising on our recognised neutrality and ability to work with everyone.

I am not sure if NZ can ever do what Taiwan does (and vice versa) as they have very different sets of weaknesses and strength. And if there are really clever guys and gals in charge, maybe they can make it happen, but I do not see such capability in our leaders (they cannot even fix housing crisis). NZ can never be China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea or Singapore. Very very different people dynamics in place. From how we govern ourselves, to expectations etc. A lot of desirable things come from who NZers are, but it does not lend itself into industriousness and hardworking attitude (from NZ perspective, such attitude may be perceived as obedient and compliant) that is really the main capital of such countries.

I also understand the dissatisfaction with the model in place for policy making over the past 30-40 years. However, people never look at why the thing that was before the current ugly thing, needed to be replaced with the current ugly thing. That model of mercantilist economy, strongly in favor of working people in Western countries, irreversibly collapsed with the rise of Asia in general and no amount of wishing and nostalgia can bring that back.
In a world of trade, NZ need to come up with real value propositions.

Fair enough. I understand your perspective. But i wasn't suggesting that we try to become Taiwan or china, but to learn from them. If we have to have the debt, why not ensure it is for something that will deliver some value to the future generations? Rakon for example is a high tech company, why could they be enlisted to support or even expand into chip manufacture? They already manufacture timing crystals for electronics? Yes it is a private company, but the right kind of government support could reap huge benefits down stream. There are many other industries that would also benefit from a similar approach. The obvious downside is that it may be years before those benefits are realised.

Indeed. I cannot agree that New Zealanders have nothing to offer but low value commodities and land to sell, given the performance of New Zealanders and their companies on the world stage (even if many do sell them off rather quickly). An educated workforce and a stable environment a great advantages.

The problem is we have NOT supported them and we've instead incentivised all investment into property instead. But that's no reason to hang our heads and decide that we couldn't have done anything else anyway...

Wow seven properties and HE IS NOT A BOOMER.


Mt Luxon only answers to God - not the lowly NZ taxpayer!

An employee, first and foremost I do believe, of God and Son Ltd.

God knows why we pay these thieves. It is a crime beyond all understanding that we pay people to rip off the Taxpayers.

Bad enough that Savers are stolen from for their own Agenda.

Bad enough that it takes two people working to beat these thieves at their own Game.

A rort is a rort, especially when supposedly "Legally" applied.

No wonder we do not have 'Council Houses' anymore, we cannot work around the theft of Banks and Poll-lie-ticians who say one thing do another and achieve...sod all you tax payers.

Ripping off people is now a sport of the Hierachy......when will it ever end.

When the Taxpayers all leave for cheaper Countries.......and I hope it all happens soon. Voters in droves. The Tossers and flippers can spin the Country, for just so long.

Housing is not the problem in is the System that over prices and is classed and out classes...the Workers.

Fiddling the rort was a National Sport, now it is perpetuated by Labour.

Simple Housing for the masses is now a Rental Mental Support for Buildings of all sorts. Taxpayer wise.......Over priced and over here. A rule should be changed. Tax the ones at the Top, not give free access to the Tax ...........Avoiders.

Last rant for today.......ain't Worth The Effort. Stop working, stop tax...dead in their tracks....shift overseas to cheap accomodation...See how the blighters like it then.

When the Australia travel bubble opens up, the $60 per hour builders starting rates may be enticing to many.

Would be a shame if the newly acquired rental properties during the period of removed LVR's were to start sitting empty. Mind you, tenants can be found in the various motels around the country. Guaranteed stable income, for both the landlord and the local glazier/plasterer.

So his main objection relates to rent control being applied to only a select few properties in a specific market. How hard is it to then deduce that the solution to that is to apply universal rent controls (i.e., to every rented property)?

And from this deduction, how hard is it to then derive a formula to do just that?

I despair.


I think his key objection is that rent control is a really shitty policy; universal or not.
You cannot simultaneously advocate for the downtrodden and advocate for rent control. The literature is clear on this, Kate; you need only read it and apply even the most basic understanding of markets.

I despair on the fact that you continue to willfully ignore the facts about rent control.

Actually no, the whole point of the article really is selectively applied rent controls. The source of citation using selectively applied rent controls as an example against rent controls in general is just a distortion and manipulation of the debate. I agree with Kate, universal rent controls are required, but what she doesn't say and most ignore is that the international experience of rent controls is bad. My research indicates that this is because they have been imposed selectively and in isolation, when a package of laws is called for including housing quality, inability to bank property by holding it empty, licencing of landlords/property owners and so on.

Murray - you don't find it weird that no economist advocates for rent controls?
Or, do you just think that 'your research' trumps the research of those who have spent their whole lives studying this sort of stuff?

K_s, listen to the economists. To me they have all been captured by the "conventional wisdom" that a free market is self governing, when in fact the actual evidence is that the "free market" is not free at all but is manipulated by the big players unless Governments step in to regulate them to stop the manipulation. Thus they do not advocate something the big players don't want, and that requires government regulation. There is a fair amount of denial in their actions here, and they will argue that the research doesn't indicate this [yet]. But they don't acknowledge that the research must logically lag any market by as much or more than 10 years, and by then the damage is already done. Any economy requires the Government to be much more responsive than any economist will be prepared to support, and that is usually why Governments get away with sitting on their hands while society got to the dogs. And when the evidence for change is unequivocal, the change required is so big that it actually threatens the whole economy. So this is a fundamental failure of the RBNZ too, for failing to recognise the problem early enough to provide advice to correct it before it becomes damaging.

To me they have all been captured by the "conventional wisdom" that a free market is self governing, when in fact the actual evidence is that the "free market" is not free at all but is manipulated by the big players unless Governments step in to regulate them to stop the manipulation.

Well, that is a nonsensical sentence if I ever read one.

The reason we are in the situation we are, is because no one listened to the economists over the past 20 years who have continually sounded the siren on the dangers of shitty housing policy.

The housing market has essentially been unregulated. Don't confuse it with building standards or other areas which can influence it.
And no it is not nonsense. What advice have the economists provided that would have averted the current crisis?

Murray... Housing mkt is NOT unregulated.. at all.
By housing mkt, I include the ability to build how, what,why,when, and where I want.
All of this is highly regulated, and also "grafted" ( local bodies use it to graft income) ...and is basically the reason why there is such an inelastic supply response ,when demand for housing increases..

My view of economics is that is has been corrupted by politics.... The political economy is pretty much what we have, and has less to do with sound economic principles than is does with what politics, and what influences politics, decides is the "economic fashion" of the day..

A book I really like is. Money and Government by Robert Skidelsky

That regulation is in the creation of housing and is not what the market is about at all, which is about what happens to houses once they are built. The regulation you talk about influences the price of new houses ONLY, not existing ones which is where the bulk of the problem is.

I agree that those regs you mention have a big influence on new builds. I also agree that politics is a primary influence, especially as it is politics which decided to do nothing!

Markets are a function of supply and demand. New housing is a part of that.
How can u argue that new houses are not a part of the housing mkt.?
Dont u think the price of new houses has an impact on the price of used houses and vise versa.
A builder would not build if the price of building a new home was much higher than a used one and conversely, a home buyer would not buy a used house if the price was that much higher than a new home..generally.
In Auckland, from what I've seen, it has been the developers that have been bidding up the price of land, within the urban boundaries. The changes in the unitary plan is a part of that.

point is... new supply is an integral part of market dynamic, any mkt.

I would say more accurately that the free market responds to the incentives placed in front of them. Remove LVR's, drop interest rates to save the economy and keep people in jobs, massive monetary policy boost. Borrow and spend.
It's not self governing, nor should it be. But the government shouldn't be the answer to everything, because it can't act like the free market. They need to set considered rules, understanding the implications of what they do.

We got what we wanted - the inflationary effect of people borrowing from their houses. Once people had a new boat, a new car, a fridge, a new TV, a computer, they moved onto houses and investments. Shares might be a bubble too. This was planned by Government and Reserve banks. Not understand the consequences sits squarely on the shoulders of Ardern and Robertson. They're just blaming others.

Not knowing the potential consequences of a policy is a leadership issue, they've avoided then ignored RIS on policies since COVID.

in part you are right AKL. I lived in AKL during the 87 crash and knew people who had done exactly that, borrowed against their house's change in value and then suffered for it. But we didn't learn from it. No regulation was put in place to prevent a recurrence. There was a universal expectation that people would learn from their experience. But societal memory is a fickle thing, just look at who we vote for for our government for an example.

As to shares, the risks there are generally well understood, but a share bubble does not result in people living on the street because they can't afford the rent, plus there are many laws governing company governance and management.

And no the blame does not fall squarely on JA and GR's shoulders. This problem stated more than 20 years ago. To suggest they are solely responsible is short sighted and lacks understanding. They like all current generations inherited it from previous incompetent Governments.

Free markets are theoretically optimal, with supply and demand guided by an invisible hand to allocate goods efficiently. In reality, however, free markets are subject to manipulation, mis-information, asymmetries of power & knowledge, and foster wealth inequality

Hand in hand with a point system is a rent affordability index. These establish the maximum possible a landlord can charge for a property in a given area.

Exactly as per my proposal for universal weekly rent maxima. Here are all the elements of rent control proposed in the article:

These should include:

- A point-based system that sets maximum rent based on the standard of the property
- A Rent Affordability Index that ensures rents are affordable for locals of any given area
- Rent control measures attached to properties rather than leases, such that changes in tenancy don’t lead to rent increases.
- An immediate rent freeze in the most rent burdened areas
- Significant and ongoing investment in social housing
- An independent Scottish Living Rent Commission to regulate the sector

These are simple Google searches.


Geezus Kate. This has to be your worst attempt thus far.
You are quoting some opinion piece from a journalist as motivation for rent control. Not an economist.

The author of said trollop should actually look into is the real outcomes of rent controls in the cities she mentions. No surprise, it is exactly as economists predict; controls produce scarcity in the market.
If your problem is a lack of supply in a market, quite possibly the dumbest thing you can do is artificially restrict supply further.

For goodness sake - what makes economists the only credible source of examination/opinion on this issue? I laughed when I found this one in my research - an economist looking at some evidence/a study by others, suggests the answer to the problem of affordability (which is itself an indication of market dysfunction) is a market subsidy - something she considers "less distortionary";

"If society desires to provide social insurance against rent increases, it may be less distortionary to offer this subsidy in the form of a government subsidy or tax credit."

In other words, let the taxpayer pay.

Her subsidy suggestions is exactly what our accommodation supplement is. And our Working for Families tax credit is. And our lunches in schools programme is. And our Best Start baby/toddler programme is. And I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, that economists with their subsidy solutions to address malfunctioning/dysfunctional markets have (to my mind) absolutely stuffed us. Their problem being - they think markets ALWAYS function in accordance with their 17th century, Enlightenment era understandings - so they simply cannot admit MARKETS FAIL.

Accommodation Supplement alone is now costing us $2 billion plus per annum - and (as at 2018) more than a third of NZ renters were spending in excess of 30% of their gross income on rent - even with the subsidy!

What do you think that percentage might be now given the average percent increases in rental costs that we've seen in ensuing years?

When should a government regulate a dysfunctional market, as opposed to subsidise it?

I followed your advice and from a strongly pro-rent controls site found this:
""Investment in social housing is a critical component of successful rent controls for precisely this reason. Two test cases that show this are Austria and Sweden. Vienna, for example, has social housing of famously high quality and invests in building and maintaining social housing alongside implementing rent controls. As a result, residents have access to good, affordable accommodation. Compare this to Sweden, where waiting lists for rent-controlled housing span over a decade. The fact that rent controls are only in place for a restricted number of properties means these are in short supply and high demand. Renters frequently sublet rent-controlled apartments for profit, and the supply is concentrated among certain portions of the population, with young people and immigrants less likely to find accommodation in popular areas, and segregation along class and racial lines becoming further entrenched. Housing with lower rents in Sweden is also more likely to be in a state of disrepair. What these examples show is that for rent controls to work, they have to apply across the private rental sector, and they have to be accompanied by good quality social housing.""
At present we are like Sweden and maybe 60 years ago we were like Austria. If four years ago Kiwi-build had been pushed through and we now had say 4,000 new state houses then your proposal might work although even then I deeply worry about the membership of your 'independent rent commission' - if all the commissioners were clones of Kate it might work.

Thanks. Do you have a link?

That was the problem with Kiwibuild (a more right than centre 'solution' from Labour) - that initial policy focus was not on state, but private sector 'affordable' housing... and of course it was never affordable.

Thankfully, they (Labour) have since turned the emphasis around to building state housing where rent control will be income-related (25% of household income).

Para2: I agree
para3: Worried about the details - affordable state housing for teachers and nurses in Auckland or will they be the unemployable? My neighbour a state house and the previous tenant had a household income that was not recorded by the IRD or Winz.

Yes I have mentioned Sweden and rent controls before. A disaster. Some of my family live there and have experienced it first hand.

My research indicates that this is because they have been imposed selectively and in isolation

Yes, agree in terms of what I've read as well.

when a package of laws is called for including housing quality, inability to bank property by holding it empty, licencing of landlords/property owners and so on.

Agree there too. This government has started on some of those other matters, which is good. Vacancy tax does seem to have made a difference in Vancouver - not so sure we have as big a problem with that but yes, it should be researched. Licensing is also interesting, and I like the idea of such regulation being likened to a WoF for rental accommodation. We have a 'ready' private sector to carry out such in the building inspection industry that is currently involved in such inspections relating to property sales. Very easy for that industry to pick up the accommodation WOF business - all the government needs to do is set a regulatory standard that must be met via an inspection regime in tenancy law - and they have pretty much done that with the Healthy Homes Standard.

Kate, I liken the issue to motor transport. To argue we just need rent controls is akin to saying we only need one law to govern our roads. think about that for a moment - just one law. What would it be, speed limits, vehicle condition, what side to drive on, parking, road markings, or any other myriad things that govern our roads? But people are seriously suggesting that there should only be one fix to our social housing and home ownership problems. I guess this is a human nature thing where most people tend to be extremists, all or nothing. One ring to fix them all so to speak. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that as people will always find their way through unexpected loopholes.

Yep, we're on the same page!

Main point I got from that RNZ interview article was this: ( in regards to rent controls)

"At the end of the day those who are in a house might be in a better position .. but anyone looking for a house after that finds it much, much more difficult. That doesn’t sound to me like a very good strategy. That sounds to me like it’s locking in current gains and screwing over the next lot.”

Not sure why people think price controls work..? In times of crisis ..I can understand .. eg war, famine.
Over the long term, from the documents and books I've read , they dont work.

For me ... the rental Market is "working" , when there is adequate and elastic supply for the changes in demand.
In a micro economic perspective the signals that generate new supply in any particular area, tend to be price signals.. ie developers respond to price changes.

Ive listened to the radio interview , and the example they use is Berlin. They say available new rentals dropped by alot, after their rent controls came in last yr.... Most of the radio interview is actually about the dangers of rent controls.... in my view.

See the above article I linked to;

It is important to distinguish between rent control (as a holistic policy) and a simple 'price freeze'. I do not recommend the latter. There is no sense in NZ to freeze rental prices that are already too high in comparison to incomes (and hence require subsidy by way of the accommodation supplement).

ok.. Have just started reading the article.
Im wondering how the author can make this assertion:
"This is not due to a scarcity of housing – there are more empty bedrooms in the UK currently than at any time since the Great Plague."

(In that one sentence, the author totally and completely dismisses the idea that adequate supply of housing is even as issue.... a contributing factor)

How on earth could anyone know this..?

Kate ..have u listened to the actual radio interview.. Id be interested to hear your view of the concerns raised, ( berlin was the example used)

Yes, listened to it. Brad Olsen just keeps repeating the same old arguments;

Supply and demand being the fundamental economic issue
I don't disagree, so you introduce rent controls as an immediate measure whilst supply is short.

He describes two options regarding rent control: 1. cap rent increases, and 2. introduce affordability by area measures.

He points out that Berlin (in Feb 2020) introduced a rent freeze (No 1 above). And then the second stage of their market reforms addressed No. 2 above (affordability) in Nov 2020 - whereby some landlords had to lower their rents. As a result of that he said rent prices overall had come down by 8% - but that supply of rentals also decreased as people decided to stay put (implying reduced turnover in rental properties was a bad thing). He also pointed out that landlords no longer had the incentive to renovate their properties (if a problem, it is easily solved by having minimum standards that must be met in providing accommodation services).

And following this he claimed "the evidence" proves rent controls make the problem worse. I just see all of this as being the same old argument - many issues of which don't actually make renting "worse" for renters!

I don't disagree, so you introduce rent controls as an immediate measure whilst supply is short.
So then why would you introduce controls to further reduce supply?!

What has happenned in Berlin is that a two-tiered market has emerged (exactly as predicted); rent controlled areas have stabilised at the cost of labour mobility and access to lower tier housing. It is severely misallocating both accommodation space and labour.
Conversely, in the non rent controlled areas, prices have surged.

Which is why you don't implement "rent controlled areas" but instead you introduce universal rent controls (i.e., ALL rented properties are subject to the controls). No two-tiered market at all.

Seems to me rent controls are another example of the wrong answer to the right question. If there was enough supply of housing, and if rents weren't being artificially propped up by the government there wouldn't be a problem.

I think we should be limiting demand (by controlling population growth) and facilitating supply (freeing up land, funding infrastructure, using more efficient building methods). We should also transition away from Accommodation Supplement and use the money for state housing and rent to buy. Possibly we also need to discourage leaving homes empty and once tourism gets started again, short term letting through tax policy.

It is time we recognised property speculators who build new properties are angels not devils. They risk their money to build, they risk their sanity interacting with the local council and they are despised by the media and the public. It should be the opposite - give the successful speculators knighthoods.
BTW - I own a house on 1600sm in Auckland - when I investigated what I would have to do to build two or three more houses on my section I quickly gave up and planted more rose bushes.

I don't see property builders as speculators - they're builders and they are in business for profit on both the land and the buildings. Nothing wrong with that. It is property purchasers, or buy-to-let owners that have been speculating on capital gains. That's a completely different thing to a builder who is either commissioned by an owner to build, or who builds to sell new into the market.

Some are builders and some simply employ builders. The only one I've had a conversation with was a young, very polite and pleasant Chinese Kiwi who explained his development of maybe 20 apartments on two adjacent single sections was costing about $5m and would take two years to complete. He said he had a wife and young children and it was his families money he was risking. Note while his development was in mid-build he was planning for another project in another suburb. His main message to me was if you want to develop you must study the market very carefully so you build what people want to buy - not a bad message for a state led Kiwibuild.

If you implement rent controls, you might generate the situation where landlords might choose to become property owners and "live" there.
No GCT if it is your primary home (or your partner/childrens primary home), no brightline if you hold the home, no loss of ownership rights, no need to upgrade insulation or heating. Won't work for large portfolio owners, but most landlords have just one or two.

As you can't claim the interest as a deduction, losing the restricted rent (less tax) is less of an issue, and investors might become straight capital value investors.No risk of tenant damage, no wear and tear, lower insurance, less frequent management of the site.

Empty homes might not get rented out. how does your formula fix that?

It doesn't. Other economies have introduced a vacancy/empty homes tax as a means to combat that issue;'s%20empty%20homes%20tax%20is,for%20the%202021%20tax%20year.&text=Council%20approved%20an%20increase%20from,1.25%20per%20cent%20in%202019.

But the last census didn't imply we have all that large a problem in that regard. Mind you, if that looks to become a major issue should a rent control policy be implemented - the above would serve to address it.

I was told (so maybe not reliable) that their are 1600 empty apartments in central Auckland and they are mainly ex-AirBnB.

How about property owners are only able to raise mortgages, at the applicable rate, on that of the residence they own. and reside in. All other property lending at the commercial rates as would be applicable for any business. Cannot see why a property investor can run a business, whether or not from within a company, and borrow at the same mortgage rate available to homeowners.

I like that Foxy, make banks charge commercial rates of interest for second and subsequent homes. They'd probably reap a good return from that too, but can't see it being done.

Well think back. It used to be like that. When there was the specialised, virtually chartered by the RBNZ, mortgage lending by Savings Banks and Building Societies at designated mortgage rates of interests. You could go too, to a solicitor at a bit higher rate. But the former mortgages were restricted to the owner of the residence. Trading Banks were kept right out of it until they were allowed to open their own savings banks internally. That dedicated lending to homeowners not landlords running a business and along with State Advances gave first home buyers much greater accessibility to finance than today. Nothing wrong in pulling things back out of history if they would still work is there.

There were +741,000 new claims last week, well above the expected level of +680,000.
No problem markets like it maybe more automation and control being handed over to Amazon and other majors.
Small business is being destoyed and may start here very soon judging by current NZ economic figures hence the we need to open the bubble and look like we are doing something.
Sad thing is bubble will make very little difference and with nearly every business I have dealt with since Jan saying they need to put up prices due to cost increases in the range of 10-20 percent.
Now if interest rates rise we will see the foodbanks and banks very busy indeed.

Our house prices and stockprices have increased but it is costing the middle and bottom earners more in the longrun as costs are also exploding.
In my view you need to be making returns well in excess of 30 percent to get ahead of costs which I have but for most they will see 30 percent on kiwisaver or house price increase and think sweet but all I see is that is the average needed to be the same before this latest round of asset price inflation.
I hope my children in 10-12 years are not asking me why we are living in the next Venezuela due to everything must keep going up bubble.

No fan of Dr Cullen myself but he did sum your point up extremely well. Something like - it’s bad enough when rungs are being continually added to the top of the property ladder but it is disastrous when those rungs are being taken from the bottom of the ladder.

Real Dollar ‘Privilege’ On Display (again)

If there is any privilege to the dollar’s denomination status as a reserve (with the actual functions of that reserve carried out by the eurodollar system, not the dollar), this is it.

BoJ, one of the bank regulators in #Japan, moves towards stepping into the arena to compete with the banks it regulates, by preparing to offer direct current accounts to the public (named #CBDC to get you off track).Link

CBDC platform-cryptos may well become a hot commodity in themselves.

Surprise: European banks do what ECB & the central bankers' Basel rules are encouraging them to do: buy gov't bonds, borrow from ECB at negative rates and earn lots of money. German banks, mostly community banks, aren't allowed to engage in this lucrative trade, must lend locally Link

Barfoot auctions in Auckland 08/04 about 50% sold. A few of the 'standard homes' that did sell were only slightly above their 2017 RV. Some multi-million homes went for crazy prices as usual. Noticable change in sales tactics for REs in Wellington - used to be mostly Deadline sales, now enquiry over or by negotiation. RE reluctantly admitted one sale in Jville, after gentle prodding, owner is "cashing in" (his words)

On the inflation topic - so we have food up 20% and it makes up approx 20% of the CPI basket.

You have landlords telling us rents are going up 20% and that makes up 25-30% of the basket.

That is some serious inflation risk.

If only rents were 20% of the CPI basket. Rent is 9% of the basket, because not all houses are rented, the 'average' household only spends 9% on rent.

Tab 8 of this spreadsheet is the detailed weights.

Not clear, but I think he meant food and rent together comprised 25-30% of the basket.

Food is 18.72% of CPI and Rent is 10.26% of the index. Rent data is based on MBIE data when a bond is lodged, this means that it only increases when people form a new contract and doesn't take account of interim increases within that contract. Thay's why I laughed a bit when the Government where talking about taking action if rents increased rapidly, they don't even have a full and accurate data breakdown of the rental market.

What's puzzled me is that a lot of the data is available in real time (e.g. banks have electronic transaction data in real time) but we are still reporting data at set quarterly intervals. We should be doing far better to build real-time dashboards.


So are only 9% of NZ houses rented? (part sarcasm....) The basket can show some very misleading outcomes. For the 35% of kiwis who rent, a 20% increase in rents for them coupled with a 20% increase in food prices would be very severe inflation. It will mean more people reliant on the state for welfare.

But as you say, its only 9% of the basket - but for those who it matters to, it could be quite severe as for many it (rent) is about 50% of their take home pay or their individual consumption 'basket'.

Just another sign that inequality could continue to get much worse before the 'system' breaks.

I've been complaining about the CPI basket for a while now. CPI inflation in meaningless to many households.
The whole concept of CPI targeting is also flawed, deflation can be good (price of technology decreasing is great for productivity). Having an arbitrary target based on dubious basket of goods that doesn't reflect cost of living isnt ideal for good policy.

It's good for hiding problems you don't want the fall-out of dealing with though. E.g. wage agreements pegged to inflation, benefits, Super etc.

Food price inflation is unfortunate for developing economies, food is 46% of India's CPI basket but only 18% of New Zealands for example. There's going to be pressure on developing countries to raise rates if this persists. Cross our fingers and hope for a superb season in the northern hemisphere.

On a positive note it might mean some dietary habits change, for both the good of people's health and the environment.
We are probably eating 30-40% less red meat than we did 2-3 years ago. More chicken, pork, vegetables.
Unfortunately we can't eat fish much given it's price.

Yeah but someone in the world is still eating it and in fact in eating it in increasing quantities, guess who ? Its not a question of us wanting to eat less its that we are being priced out of our own produce.

The idea that chicken with breasts and thighs the size of moa and pig meat imported from dodgy overseas producers is in anyway better is laughable.

You are assuming I am buying that crap, which I am not.

Raise rates? You've got to be kidding. These central wankers will wait for hell to freeze over first.

I wonder whether the increase in unoccupied HK properties is due to low interest rates resulting in higher prices and low rental yields. Perhaps more investors aren't bothering renting out for the small yield when the real money is in the capital gain? Could this happen more in NZ with the removal of interest deductibility? If you can't use the income to offset the costs, maybe don't bother with getting the income. Hopefully this doesn't happen.

It's certainly a possibility but not an option for most - as the debt needs to be repaid somehow.

I think they will be able to skip the Country and fly for Free at expense of Tax Payer Subsidies.

Put it on the credit card and dissapear into the Bright Blue Yonder.....would be my suggestion. Why pay someoneelsesdonationsifyoucanevadethem...Kiwis can fly...Free.

The Chinese have had an affinity towards purchasing property for cultural status. That's why there are so many empty houses across China, it's housing "consumption" in reality:

It's a classic speculative market based on cheap credit. Unlike New Zealand, and many other western countries, China actually has adequate supply so it really is really speculation without supporting scarcity.

Yes, it's a cultural oddity - pretty much obliterates the supply/demand rule and defies the 'rational man' theory.

Bit like the Western cultural fettish with shoes - it's a status-type topic of conversation as to how many pairs of shoes one or ones partner has.

I'm so glad I'm never close to those types of status conversations. Also like men that have a high maintenance wife and let it be known to indicate that they've got a high status catch. Good for them haha.

Agree. I avoid people that enjoy those types of conversations and life is far better for it. I remember being berated when I was younger for not owning proper, higher heels and more shoes in general, by 'friends'. A more minimalist french style wardrobe wasn't in fashion then. Blow all your money on too many shoes and clothes that don't even last.. I'm good.

LOL. I had an uncle who proudly pointed out his wife's BMW and referred to it as the Big Money Waster (referencing her shopping habits). One year we got their Xmas postcard - the big house they were standing in front of was so big - they were like little ants standing in front of it. You could barely make them out for all the bricks and mortar.

Big Money Waster lol He's not wrong there. Crazy isn't it? My first thought would be 'that's a lot of space to waste time cleaning!' But I suppose they don't mind paying for and having other people coming into their house to do it for them. No thanks!

Might be some cheap Houses in the Overseas Market soon. Heaps and total....maybe more.....Chances are you can have more rentals.......(Orr maybe not).

Canadian even madder than ours. ..Gonna be a cold cold winter soon for many a poor loser. give em a leg up.....the Property Ladder, like here.....We is so hot.....and such a cool bunch of people........Please help....Lift the prices, even know we can do it.......Give a little...We are bailing out ours.....spread the word......More to come....Later....Zero Finance......needed.