Caravan becomes full time living option for more people nowadays

A video show-and-tell and interview with Corwin Mandel popped up on Youtube a day ago. Worth watching in itself, also of interest are the, over 200 comments it garnered in little over the first 24 hours. The following text is taken from my response to one of those comments.

Aaron H above has made some good points. About 60% of people have security of housing tenure, through our current system of mortgages and freehold ownership.

But alas that leaves 40% of us as land-beggars aka peasants aka tenants, and although self-built “tiny houses” could indeed be part of the solution to high housing costs in New Zealand and elsewhere there are still problems like finding the land for your tiny house or caravan etc, (cheapest land in the Christchurch or commutable Canterbury province area will cost you $150,000 minimum, and banks won’t lend on bare land or insurance write-off houses if you intend to live there) (unless of course you’re independently wealthy anyway. Yes I’ve been to the banks and had this conversation before).

Another complication can be if a local authority or council demands $20,000 for “consents” or “building permits” etc. Some charities do great work, as best they can with the resources available. Like “Habitat for Humanity” (God Bless them) but like other similar groups, their assistance is aimed almost solely at “families” (ie people with children) so single people go to the bottom of the list, yet again. Our “housing market” is seriously broken.

In the last 35 years the minimum wage has gone up about 4-fold but Christchurch/Canterbury’s cheapest house prices have gone up about 25-fold. To put housing affordability back even close to where it was, we’d need at least the cheaper houses, to fall in price by over 80% (or the minimum wage to go up  nearly 6-fold ! ).

Our entire system of house and land ownership, and financing needs to change. Systems which artificially ration land availability and zonings, planning permissions and building permits, simply in order to drive up the prices need to change. In Auckland NZ, the situation is so bad, that often old houses are fully refurbished, just prior to demolition (because the seller wants the highest price, but the buyer only wants the land, for their new expensive house build).

We need to have entirely new systems which prevent property price speculators making  huge profits (often tax-free), we need a system where people (even those on the lowest wages) can affordably get the security of tenure that currently only comes by “owning” a place.

I’ve already suggested a new term be coined “Community Crofting” which could be that new system, a kind of lifetime lease, but with the security of tenure of freehold, without the ability to make a private profit. (Perhaps say, When someone leaves the community, or dies, their “croft” (land or house-on-land) simply goes back to the Community Crofting Association and is made available by ballot or some selection criteria to the next person on the list).

Here is a link to the item on Youtube

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