NSW Govt wants you to “win the housing lottery”

By Leith van Onselen

Yesterday, the NSW Government launched a new housing ponzi scheme where everyone’s a winner. From The SMH [my emphasis]:

The NSW government will ramp up a program of encouraging major housing development near rail stations in Sydney, as well as pushing for new schemes that make it easier for renters to buy their own property.

The program of fostering developments near rail stations will take place through an expanded “priority precincts” program…

And the new schemes to improve housing affordability could include programs such as rent-to-buy, where renters are offered a chance to keep some of the increased value in their home, or a joint equity arrangement, where the government or another institution takes a partial stake in a home.

In an interview, Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts said… “We’ve got to house people,” said Mr Roberts. “This is a crisis. We’re almost at the point of no return”… Mr Roberts said the government was looking at “up to 20 Priority Precincts, subject to discussions around proximity to transport, and upcoming rezonings”…

[Roberts] said the multi-lot planning of precincts around rail stations would lead to better designed areas, as well as benefits to home owners.

“One of the things I’m working with the Greater Sydney Commission on is when we go to communities and say there is going to be an increase in population here… we have a compact with them that says we will build the schools, we will build the roads, we will build the infrastructure that goes with this,” Mr Roberts said…

“I want everyone to be winners in this,” he said. “If you are going to get your house bought, or you want to sell your house because you actually live near a railway station… I want this to be, and this government wants it to be for those people, to be like winning the lottery.”

Planning and Housing Minister Roberts is right about one thing: Sydney’s housing is a crisis. There is almost no affordable housing left within a reasonable proximity of the CBD:

ScreenHunter_16947 Jan. 18 15.38

And there are now more Sydney suburbs with a median house price of more than $2 million than there are suburbs with a median house price below $600,000:

ScreenHunter_17558 Feb. 20 16.43

Sure, boosting densities around railway stations might help at the margins. But let’s remember that Sydney’s rail and bus system is already facing crush-loads after a decade-plus of rampant population growth (immigration), so this plan will just add to the overcrowding problem. The same goes for Sydney’s schools, which are also running well over capacity and are failing to keep up with the population deluge.

It would be nice if, for once, the NSW Government leveled with voters and admitted that Sydney’s housing woes are due, to a large extent, to the mass immigration program being run by the federal government, which is seeing 80,000-plus new residents piling into Sydney every year.

It would be nice, too, if the NSW Government finally admitted that it is incapable of providing the necessary infrastructure and public services required to keep up with this growth.

It would be nice if the NSW Government admitted that the federal government’s mass immigration program means Sydney’s suburbs face dramatic intensification and increased congestion as thousands of new residents are made to squeeze into the existing urban footprint.

And it would be nice if the NSW Government sought residents’ views on whether they actually support such strong population growth and for people to be concentrated in Hong Kong-style towers? Because under the federal government’s current immigration settings, Sydney’s population is projected to balloon by 87,000 people per year (1.74 million in total) over the next 20 years – equivalent to adding 4.5 Canberra’s:

ScreenHunter_16409 Nov. 30 15.56

Clearly, the best way for the NSW Government to address Sydney’s housing crisis, and to make the city more livable, is to tap the federal government on the shoulder and convince it to rein-in Australia’s mass immigration program.

Tinkering around the edges on supply pales into insignificance when 80,000-plus resident are piling into Sydney each and every year.

At a minimum, the NSW Government should demand a fixed sum per migrant that arrives into Sydney, to ensure that it can then fund the necessary public services and infrastructure. This might make the politicians in sparsely-populated Canberra think twice before crush-loading the big cities.

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    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      Glen might be going to sit on a few developers boards and is already working on Gladys ……This smells of typical Sydney developer driven planning .

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      Either Captain Glenn must have been advising on this while touring the US in which case he must have been on humungus penalty rates (LOL), or none of this “fairy story” has any of his finger prints over it in which Gladys B didn’t need him in the first place as Minister Roberts and she have come up with “utopia” all on their own.

      Simplistically, it’s just about stuffing lots more sardines in to a few more sardine cans, and making Sydney even more awful/unliveable than it already is.

    • People are hired based on talking skills. They are not required to do a 20 minute multiple choice test during the interview:

      “Shyam Acharya — whose whereabouts are unknown after being charged by health authorities — started work at Gosford Hospital on February 8, 2003, after he allegedly stole medical qualifications while living in India and used these and other fraudulent documents to falsely gain registration with the Medical Board of NSW.”

  1. The NSW government plan, like all previous ones is a property development scam. The new metro rail and light rail projects will result in reduced passenger capacity overall. Meanwhile those who have had their houses compulsorily acquired have been paid out at less than market value around previous infrastructure projects (though this is different when the acquirer is private and it s via rezoning, with no compulsion).

    But building support for bastardry by appealing to people’s greed seems to be an effective way to get them to sell out their neighbours who remain.

    • They are not being compulsorily acquired. Landcom will just act in a broker role.
      Makes a lot of sense to me.

  2. Similar in post-war Japan with the development of the JR network across the nation, whether it be urban or the hinterland. Many farmers were removed from their and and richly compensated for the rest of their natural lives.

    • Not so much in Sydney. If you live along the line you may face compulsory acquisition and get paid below market value for your house, you lose the lottery. If you live near a station it may be rezoned high rise and a developer may make you an offer, you win the lottery.

      Worth noting though that investors have been speculating on this for some time already so probably the main beneficiaries will be the smart money who had the inside scoop on the approval process.

      • Same old pattern. Rezone the land, give the current landholder/land banker a windfall.

        Developer pays top dollar for land => therefore completely impossible to develop affordable dwellings.

      • Yes, Japan Rail was a state-owned enterprise back then. Our public transport network will never, ever reach the scale and efficiency of Japan. The land was primarily owned by the state for rail-related infrastructure, not for housing.

  3. In the last 7days the median asking price for a Sydney house increased by $14,700 to an all time record high of $1,329,700

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      Yep. As Minister Roberts said: you too can be a property lottery winner if you pay the ever-increasing entry fee.

    • When you see or read the word property or housing , change that to “blue chip share of company XYZ ”

      Take away the heavily emotional and irrational investment people tend to connect to those 2 words….

      Now that will changes your whole perspective and will clearly highlight the biggest property bubbles out there !

      Definitely a buy market ….

  4. I honestly don’t understand why people are subjecting themselves to this? Do people have to spend $900k to live in Mt Druitt? There are endless options around Australia and around the world as alternatives to this tripe.

    • Given the incredibly consistent NIM outflow from NSW to other states since at least the year 2000, people are certainly aware that there are better places to live in Australia, if not elsewhere. But I suspect the notion of there being better places to live elsewhere in the world will catch on if house prices in other states catch up.

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      Agree – much better opportunities around the world for early and mid career people (and it shows in the explosion of people leaving, which is keeping net migration to the insane level it is already at) and for retirees, you’d have to be mad not to leave Sydney (and Melbourne) – whether you own a house or not. I know people have family links etc but if you’re retired and you cash out to live somewhere cheaper, that’s going to pay for a hell of a lot of $100 air tickets from a range of smaller cities and regional centres.

      • Yeah the way I view the family links issue is this: my parents chose Sydney to raise their family and during that era it was a pretty decent place. However, I now need to choose where to raise my family and it can’t be in any way influenced by a decision my parents made in the early 70s.

  5. There must be something in the system that forbids politicians to mention the immigration rate except in the most positive of terms. We get the occasional rogue ones popping up but they are largely ignored by other pollies in the hope that they’ll go away.

    The “lottery win” idea is a great distraction; a masterstroke while continuing to cram more and more people in.

    Good on you, UE for continuing to bang the drum about this blindingly obvious problem we have with a blindingly obvious solution that both sides of governments have a silent agreement to disregard.

  6. This is why you have ordinary houses selling for $5m in Chatswood. It is a punt that a developer will offer twice the price for it somewhere down the line. It is disgraceful behaviour from a govt that no longer gives a toss about Australian families.

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      The way I see it is that my shitbox is worth $150k but RE agents recon 1.5M–1.7M which means when someone puts down the deposit ,they have already paid for it outright. Then they spend the rest of their lives paying for nothing to the banksters.

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      Even Steven, and me, well I’m just an old guy happy to have no debt after having lost everything in the last crash.

  7. mild colonialMEMBER

    When did railway stations become rail stations? another indication of sociopathy for sure!

  8. i wonder if we can sue the government for irresponsible / negligent policy.
    Housing is a necessity and comparing it to winning the lottery shows just how out of touch these career politicians are.
    wheres the accountability !

  9. LabrynthMEMBER

    It doesn’t matter, the government can zone as much as they want, it is up to the banks if they want to fund it.

    Look at Wolli Creek, most banks have a large funding freeze, the only developers operating still are the large ASX companies and Chinese companies paying in cash.

    There isn’t enough Chinese developers to build all this re-zoned stock because local developers are only buying things that are low prices.

  10. ”And it would be nice if the NSW Government sought residents’ views”

    The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote.

  11. Seems like a scheme scam to move even more money from the poor to the rich and specufestors. Who came up with this idea? The NSW Developer lobby group?

    • Jumping jack flash

      It has taken years to refine the scheme to what it is today:
      Basically the most efficient mechanism to get insanely rich the fastest way possible.

      What is faster than to have some rube take on a debt mountain, hand it all over to you in one big lump, and then spend the next 30 years paying it off, while you enjoy the pile of debt money?

      protip: There isn’t anything faster.

      The beauty in this scheme is if you manage to convince a rube to give you a pile of debt money for your ramshackle slum-shack, the one next door increases in price too, and they get to do the same thing!
      Because of this, the scheme is also self-healing. Say a bank over extends and lends a bit too much to a dodgy borrower for a house that clearly isn’t “worth” that much. Well, that’s only a temporary problem. When the place next door sells for more than it is “worth” too, the first house’s price increases and then the bank looks awesome instead of shaky.

      Remember, the first thing a RE agent does when you ask them how much a place is worth is checks to see what the house next door sold for and then adds a couple of percent. And that is before they even look at the place.

      Add in the whole backup plan of foreign investors, the tax incentives, the bonuses and subsidies, the bank guarantees, the RBA, CPI, and interest rates. You name it, it has been tweaked to hone this scheme.

      It is a diabolical system. It has taken years to perfect it to what it is now.

  12. Ross ElliottMEMBER

    Shared equity – another message brought to you from the loon pond. Once fervently promoted by a certain Jay Weatherall when housing minister in SA, and now promoted as an option by a Liberal Govt in NSW. Just like the song… “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…”

  13. Great. Now watch them bulldoze heritage and conservation areas of established homes close to the CDB just because they are near train lines already jam packed like sardines. There is uproar in Sydney on the Bankstown line being upgraded to metro where all areas from Marrickville to Campsie are being planned as highrise cluster fucks next to train stations for the sake of the developers.

    • What else do you suggest the NSW government do in this situation? They are faced with a reality imposed on them by the Commonwealth. They have to make the most of a bad situation.

      Would you rather they do nothing and leave low density housing close to the CBD during a housing crisis situation?

      • Yep bulldoze the fuck out of them!

        Will help the rich inner-suburb greenies understand what voting for big Australia parties gets them. The public needs to be helped to find its voice.

    • Almost everyone votes for mass immigration then cracks the shits when we start turning into Hong Kong. I have no respect for these people’s opinions. When is the Australian voter going to take some responsibility?

  14. NSW can tax them foreigners themselves. Charge every kid of every 457 visa steep fees for studying in NSW schools.

    Charge foreign “students” and 457 visa staff $35/day for a train ticket. Charge the same people $10k/year for car registration.

    • Charge every employer who uses 457 visa holders payroll tax at 15 x the normal rate and restrict the exemption threshold to only those employers who employ 457s in less than1% of roles (by headcount not FTE)

      • I forgot about payroll tax!

        The states could indeed charge foreigners $50k/year payroll tax. But given that firms lie about complying with the superannuation laws, they may lie about complying with the payroll tax laws too.

        Maybe put a massive tax on house rent and exempt those with an Aussie passport.

  15. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    Wait, what sort of lottery requires you to go back in time and buy a ticket that takes 30 years to pay off?

    • The sort of lottery that the earlier you bought, the cheaper the ticket, and the greater the winnings.

  16. How about Roberts require proof of FIRB compliant residency status/approval to register the transfer of title of existing NSW dwellings

  17. “I want everyone to be winners in this..”
    So having a f**ing house near transport is considered winning the lottery in this country?
    How stupid have we become.. no one is talking about the opportunity cost of this madness..

    • Forget opportunity cost – the lure of the lottery win is far too great, and the chances of winning are higher than winning the real lottery.

  18. “win the housing lottery”

    If ever there was a sickening sales pitch… This place really is stuffed.