75. Property and Life Choices

How does own­ing (or not own­ing) real estate, and mort­gage debt, influ­ence the behav­iour of indi­vid­u­als in their wider lives? What are the con­se­quences of these pat­terns for whole nations?

Thor May
Bris­bane, 2014


Pref­ace: This is a dis­cus­sion paper, not a researched aca­d­e­mic doc­u­ment. The read­ing list at the end is mostly a col­lec­tion of con­tem­po­rary links from the Inter­net and pretty acci­den­tal, not edited for qual­ity. Where a topic is of broad gen­eral inter­est comes up with friends, I have adopted the prac­tice of post­ing dis­cus­sion starters like the present one on Academia.edu in the hope that oth­ers might also find them worth think­ing about. In spite of the caveats, this par­tic­u­lar topic has been impor­tant to my work­ing life, so the obser­va­tions to fol­low are not merely casual.



  1. Prop­erty is theft  (ahem..)


In 1840 the French anar­chist, Pierre-Joseph Proud­hon coined the phrase  prop­erty is theft! (La pro­priété, c’est le vol !). Although he later crit­i­cized it him­self, and Karl Marx Property3.jpgcon­sid­ered it self-con­tra­dic­tory, this slo­gan became a pro­pa­ganda under­pin­ning for the total expro­pri­a­tion of pri­vate prop­erty by the war­dens of so-called Com­mu­nist states act­ing on behalf of  the masses . The out­come of course was a defacto real­lo­ca­tion of land hold­ing from very large num­bers of indi­vid­u­als to a small clique of those who had seized polit­i­cal power. Much later in coun­tries such as Rus­sia (when the USSR col­lapsed) and China (with gen­er­a­tional devo­lu­tion to a  red elite ) those power cliques also gained de jure con­trol of the stolen assets. The con­se­quences are still work­ing through those soci­eties.

  1. Rural to urban migra­tions, and beyond


Com­mu­nist-fueled rad­i­cal changes in land hold­ing dur­ing the 19th and 20th Cen­turies were not unique, either phys­i­cally or in their polit­i­cal effects. For exam­ple the many Eng­lish Enclo­sure Acts, which reached a cul­mi­na­tion in the early 19th Cen­tury but had been pro­ceed­ing for sev­eral cen­turies, drove vast num­bers of peas­ants off their tra­di­tional land­hold­ings with­out com­pen­sa­tion, forc­ing them into cities as a new poor, and fuelled the labour pool for an indus­trial rev­o­lu­tion (McEl­roy 2012). The new own­ers of seized lands were a rul­ing elite who cre­ated a com­plex legal code to but­tress their own secu­rity.

These large inter­nal pop­u­la­tion move­ments also led to forced and vol­un­tary migra­tion to  new lands in the Amer­i­cas and Aus­tralasia. Rural to urban migra­tion has become a fea­ture of emerg­ing mar­ket economies every­where. Land tenure and hous­ing have played and con­tinue to play a cen­tral role in the process world­wide. At the moment China is in the midst of the largest rural to urban migra­tion in human his­tory.


  1. The power of an urban work­ing class


Ulti­mately, new urban classes acquire a kind of coer­cive power them­selves by force of num­bers, so the con­trollers of land and cap­i­tal fnd it nec­es­sary to enter into a loose social con­tract for the exchange of labour as an input to indus­try. From the mid 19th Cen­tury this social con­tract drove a polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion in the form of expand­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy. To this day, the under­stand­ing of the demo­c­ra­tic con­tract divides between those (typ­i­cally the priv­i­leged) who essen­tially see it as a tool for social con­trol by con­sent, and the bulk of the pop­u­la­tion who see democ­racy as an egal­i­tar­ian tool for the fair dis­tri­b­u­tion of power and resources.


  1. Prop­erty own­er­ship as a paci­fy­ing tool


It is well under­stood by most gov­ern­ments today, what­ever their nom­i­nal ide­ol­ogy, that encour­ag­ing the pri­vate own­er­ship of res­i­den­tial prop­erty is one of the most effec­tive ways of ensur­ing social sta­bil­ity. A sim­ple Aus­tralian exam­ple would be that after World War II, very large num­bers of foot­loose demo­bi­lized sol­diers could have been a dis­tinct threat to the estab­lished order. It made very good polit­i­cal sense to direct them as soon as pos­si­ble into sta­ble employ­ment, and into house­hold own­er­ship. My father, for exam­ple, who had min­i­mal for­mal edu­ca­tion, as an ex-sol­dier was offered both free trade train­ing and loans for home house pur­chase on a very low gov­ern­ment sup­ported mort­gage rate of about 2%. Of course, the gov­ern­ments of the day (mostly con­ser­v­a­tive) pre­sented these oppor­tu­ni­ties as a big thank you to the brave men who had saved the nation.

Amongst the first acts of states which give up the lunacy of total cen­trally planned eco­nomic con­trol is to move rapidly to cre­ate a res­i­den­tial own­ing mid­dle class. As Rus­sia for­mally aban­doned com­mu­nism in the early 1990s it did just that, allow­ing cit­i­zens to pur­chase their accom­mo­da­tion at very low cost. After Mao Zedong s death in 1976, China moved in exactly the same direc­tion, even while main­tain­ing a façade of com­mu­nist ide­ol­ogy. The com­mu­nist state of Viet­nam has acted in exactly the same way. When you have a home and a mort­gage, you are prob­a­bly reluc­tant to start a rev­o­lu­tion, and the polit­i­cal elites have a sig­nif­i­cant hold on your behav­iour.


  1. Prop­erty own­er­ship as a met­ric of life suc­cess


Almost since its British foun­da­tion as a prison camp in 1788,  suc­cess in the colonies and then the nation of Aus­tralia has been pred­i­cated upon the pos­ses­sion of land, whether it was gifted, inherited, seized, or pur­chased. The con­ti­nent of Aus­tralia is a very large chunk of dirt, much of it unsuit­able for human habi­ta­tion, but still with more thou­sands of square kilo­me­ters of empti­ness than any Eng­lish­man might dream of. Nev­er­the­less, the vast bulk of Aus­tralia s 23 mil­lion peo­ple con­tinue to crowd into a hand­ful of cities around the coast. Much of their life inter­est is obsessed with bid­ding up the price of real estate in these spe­cial urban loca­tions. In crit­i­cal ways the pol­i­tics and eco­nomic activ­ity of Aus­tralia con­tin­ues to revolve around land. The sys­tems of tax­a­tion in Aus­tralia are rid­dled with pro­vi­sions relat­ing to land hold­ing and the pos­ses­sion of build­ings. The finances of the many lev­els of gov­ern­ment would become unsus­tain­able, at least in their present inten­tions, with­out recourse to prop­erty tax­a­tion and the many activ­i­ties which depend upon build­ing con­struc­tion. It has been esti­mated that 44% of the cost of new hous­ing is sunk in tax­a­tion imposts of var­i­ous kinds (Hur­ley 2012).


  1. Cul­tural influ­ences on home own­er­ship


The value placed on home own­er­ship is largely deter­mined by cul­ture. For exam­ple, in China today a prime qual­i­fi­ca­tion required to be an eli­gi­ble bach­e­lor is own­ing an apart­ment. Since men sig­nif­i­cantly out­num­ber women in many parts of China, while the cap­i­tal require­ments for hous­ing pur­chase are beyond the reach of tens of mil­lions, this is a seri­ous source of social dis­con­tent. Mak­ing this dis­con­tent more bit­ter is that China now has tens of mil­lions of unsold lux­ury apart­ments, indeed whole “empty cities” built by spec­u­la­tors in cor­rupt col­lu­sion with local gov­ern­ment offi­cials and wasted invest­ment funds (and, inci­den­tally, built with Aus­tralian steel).

Anglo-Saxon major­ity cul­tures, such as the Aus­tralian one, have noth­ing approach­ing China s cul­tur­ally man­dated mat­ri­mo­nial pres­sure on home own­er­ship. The prob­lem in Aus­tralia is sim­ply that home own­er­ship itself appears to be one of the main met­rics for judg­ing life suc­cess. My own birth fam­ily for exam­ple tends to con­sider me a  fail­ure since I have shown lit­tle attach­ment to the prop­erty mantra. Some very pros­per­ous nations have a very dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on home own­er­ship. For exam­ple, Ger­many:

Europe’s biggest econ­omy has not had a sin­gle hous­ing boom in the post-war period …

That record comes cour­tesy of a cul­tural dis­in­ter­est in home own­er­ship, pro­gres­sive social hous­ing pro­grams, con­ser­v­a­tive bank­ing poli­cies and gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion that pro­tects and encour­ages long-term renters.

Over the last decade, the ratio of house prices ver­sus house­hold incomes has been falling in Ger­many, and despite a slight pickup over recent years, it was still almost 17 per cent below its long-run aver­age at the end of last year.

By con­trast, Aus­tralia has the third-high­est house price to income ratio in the world, at 4.3 times the aver­age annual income accord­ing to the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics  [Bagshaw 2014].


  1. Implicit dis­in­cen­tives for home own­er­ship


The tenor of the dis­cus­sion so far here has been that home own­er­ship tends to sta­bi­lize the lives of most peo­ple because of the finan­cial oblig­a­tions and forced sav­ings which mort­gages impose, and because the act of pos­sess­ing such a major asset in itself dis­in­cli­nes indi­vid­u­als to risky behav­iour. Home own­er­ship encour­ages peo­ple to remain in steady employ­ment, and it can be a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in per­son­nel deci­sions about whether to hire when can­di­dates seem equally matched. It is noted that own­ing prop­erty can be a major influ­ence on mat­ri­mo­nial choice, espe­cially for women, and espe­cially where the rais­ing of chil­dren is antic­i­pated. We com­mented above that with the excep­tion of the early  Com­mu­nist aber­ra­tion, gov­ern­ments world­wide have usu­ally seen the value of hav­ing cit­i­zens who are set­tled with the high­est pos­si­ble level of home own­er­ship. This pro­vides a kind of secu­rity not just to the indi­vid­u­als directly involved, but reas­sures rul­ing elites that less priv­i­leged parts of the pop­u­la­tion will not take to the streets and for­ment rev­o­lu­tion if they have some­thing sig­nif­i­cant to lose.

In the light of the pre­ced­ing para­graph it is inter­est­ing and a bit dis­turbing that in the last few decades there have been impor­tant forces mov­ing to under­mine the prospect of home own­er­ship for young peo­ple. These forces are often unin­tended side effects of other deci­sions, and impact unevenly in par­tic­u­lar cul­tures. A strong exam­ple would be the huge growth of ter­tiary stu­dent debt in the United States of Amer­ica. It is grad­u­ally becom­ing appar­ent that this kind of stu­dent debt impacts neg­a­tively upon life choices for home own­er­ship, employ­ment, and even mar­riage (Korkki 2014, Kon­czal 2014, Brown 2013, Taieb 2013).


  1. The effect of employ­ment prac­tices on home own­er­ship


Another major influ­enc­ing fac­tor for insta­bil­ity would be changes in per­son­nel prac­tices and com­pany man­age­ment where most employ­ees can no longer look for­ward to a life­time engage­ment with one or even a few employ­ers, and many are restricted to part-time jobs or out­sourced work. With man­age­ment tak­ing a preda­tory short-term approach, and evad­ing respon­si­bil­ity for in-house train­ing and men­tor­ing, it is not sur­pris­ing that many younger work­ers adopt a frankly oppor­tunis­tic out­look to com­pany employ­ment and become some­what wary of tak­ing on long term debt. In many coun­tries, post-GFC prospects for employ­ment or a career by younger work­ers have become an impos­si­ble dream. Buy­ing a house is the last thing they can con­tem­plate. Their best hope lies in mobil­ity, some­times inter­na­tional mobil­ity.


  1. Con­sumer debt as a dis­in­cen­tive for prop­erty debt


A third fac­tor influ­enc­ing long term com­mit­ment has been an ever spi­ral­ing accel­er­a­tion of con­sumer con­sump­tion, heav­ily pro­moted by busi­ness itself, which has inevitably led to a large part of the pop­u­la­tion car­ry­ing unsus­tain­able con­sumer debt and sur­ren­der­ing to a men­tal­ity of  live for the day .  The  greed is good creed  amongst cap­tains of indus­try and their polit­i­cal ser­vants is even­tu­ally bound to have a psy­cho­log­i­cal blow­back amongst the com­mon peo­ple who must buy the prod­ucts of indus­try for it to profit, yet find that they have become unsure of how to pay the bills next month, let alone on a 20 year mort­gage com­mit­ment.


  1. The con­tra­dic­tory effects of prop­erty own­er­ship and debt on life choices


This topic could be sum­ma­rized by the propo­si­tion that prop­erty own­er­ship, and espe­cially the debt that often goes with it, has mul­ti­ple and some­times con­tra­dic­tory effects on indi­vid­ual behav­iour. In the Aus­tralian con­text, the ratio of income to hous­ing pur­chase costs looks ratio­nally unsus­tain­able. That ratio is one of the high­est in the world, and his­tor­i­cally else­where this kind of imbal­ance has led to prop­erty price crashes. How­ever the Aus­tralian sit­u­a­tion has con­tin­ued to defy grav­ity for quite a long time, per­haps buoyed by immi­gra­tion and a min­ing boom (which is now tail­ing off).


  1. The not-so-hid­den influ­ence of tax­a­tion on prop­erty own­er­ship


I think that hous­ing prices in Aus­tralia – and prob­a­bly in other coun­tries too – are only indi­rectly a pro­duct of the very pop­u­lar use of prop­erty as everyman’s invest­ment vehi­cle. The whole deal is made pos­si­ble in Aus­tralia by the tax­a­tion sys­tem (neg­a­tive gear­ing on lever­aged prop­erty espe­cially, plus the absence of a cap­i­tal gains tax) and the tax­a­tion sys­tem is dri­ven in com­pli­cated ways by the polit­i­cal sys­tem. Both major par­ties have a tax­a­tion tiger by the tail and they don’t know how to let go of it. Other par­a­digms are pos­si­ble, such as the Ger­man exam­ple given ear­lier, but nobody knows how to get from here to there (and of course Ger­many has its own flavour of prob­lems). Major change in Aus­tralia may come as an unin­tended con­se­quence of other things (e.g. a col­lapse of the China trad­ing rela­tion­ship), but is unlikely to be pleas­ant and won t be vol­un­tary. One pos­si­ble solu­tion to the tax­a­tion dilemma, and hence indi­rectly to the hous­ing tax prob­lem, would be to find a way to force cor­po­ra­tions to make the kind of real tax con­tri­bu­tion to the soci­ety which was nor­mal in the 1950s. This is a transna­tional issue. The fol­low­ing exam­ple (Ritholtz 2011) from the United States illus­trates a world­wide pat­tern:


Cor­po­rate Taxes as a Per­cent­age of Fed­eral Rev­enue
1955 … 27.3%
2010 … 8.9%

Cor­po­rate Taxes as a Per­cent­age of GDP
1955 … 4.3%
2010 … 1.3%

Indi­vid­ual Income/Payrolls as a Per­cent­age of Fed­eral Rev­enue
1955 … 58.0%
2010 … 81.5%



Read­ing list (note that the writ­ers in these links are express­ing their own views. I don’t nec­es­sar­ily share them.


AFP (Octo­ber 25, 2011) “Obama bypasses Con­gress with mort­gage plan”. Bris­bane Times online @ http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/breaking-news-world/obama-bypasses-congress-with-mortgage-plan-20111025-1mgtm.html

APM (17 August 2014) “Prop­erty Research Report for Nun­dah 4012”. Aus­tralian Prop­erty Mon­i­tor, Domain web­site @ https://www.homepriceguide.com.au/Research/?LocationType=Suburb&State=qld&SuburbId=28644

Bad­kar, Mamta (June 10 2014) “China’s Most Famous Ghost City Got Even Worse In The Last 4 Years”. Busi­ness Insider web­site, online @ http://www.businessinsider.com.au/chinas-ghost-cities-in-2014–2014-6

Bagshaw, Eryk (June 27, 2014) “Tell ’em they’re dream­ing – Aus­tralian hous­ing obses­sion is hold­ing us back”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/business/tell-em-theyre-dreaming–australian-housing-obsession-is-holding-us-back-20140627-zsodc.html#ixzz35oscrqAL

Boone, Mary (Feb 15 2013) “8 Tax Breaks Every Home­owner Should Know About”. Busi­nessin­sider web­site, online @ http://www.businessinsider.com.au/8-tax-breaks-for-homeowners-2013–2

Bosque Homs, Daniel (Feb­ru­ary 23, 2013) “Fire­fight­ers refuse to help evict fam­i­lies”. [Spain] Bris­bane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/firefighters-refuse-to-help-evict-families-20130222-2ewyh.html

Boyd, Car­olyn (July 3, 2012) “Homes don’t buy hap­pi­ness”. Bris­bane Times online @ http://brisbanetimes.domain.com.au/blogs/talking-property/homes-dont-buy-happiness-20120703-21ern.html

Brown, Meta and Syd­nee Cald­well (April 17, 2013) “Young Stu­dent Loan Bor­row­ers Retreat from Hous­ing and Auto Mar­kets”.  Lib­erty Street Eco­nom­ics web­site, online @ http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2013/04/young-student-loan-borrowers-retreat-from-housing-and-auto-markets.html#.U_bxj5IjlKh

Brown, Rob­bie (July 30, 2012) “Older Amer­i­cans lose homes as great reces­sion takes toll”. Bris­bane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/older-americans-lose-homes-as-great-recession-takes-toll-20120729-236a3.html#ixzz223yAaAIh

Cen­tre for Inter­na­tional Eco­nom­ics (Sep­tem­ber 2011)  Tax­a­tion of the Hous­ing Sec­tor . Cen­tre for Inter­na­tional Eco­nom­ics web­site, report online @ http://hia.com.au/~/media/HIA%20Website/Files/Media%20Centre/policy%20developments/CIE%20Tax%20Report.ashx

Chirico, Kristin (Oct. 16, 2013) “23 Sur­pris­ingly Gor­geous Homes Made From Ship­ping Con­tain­ers”. Buz­zfeed website,online @ http://www.buzzfeed.com/kristinchirico/surprisingly-gorgeous-homes-made-from-shipping-containers

D’Arcy, Jayne (April 27, 2014) “Airbnb: Spare room rev­o­lu­tion”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/travel/airbnb-spare-room-revolution-20140424-376jq.html#ixzz303Rvmj4R

Dod­son, Jago and Neil Sipe (2008) “Unset­tling Sub­ur­bia: The New Land­scape of Oil and Mort­gage Vul­ner­a­bil­ity in Aus­tralian Cities”. [some reveal­ing urban maps] Urban Research Pro­gram, Research Paper 17, Grif­fith Uni­ver­sity, online @ http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/88851/urp-rp17-dodson-sipe-2008.pdf

Dowall, David E. (Jan­u­ary 1999) “Glob­al­iza­tion, Struc­tural Change and Urban Land Man­age­ment”. Land Lines: Jan­u­ary 1999, Vol­ume 11, Num­ber 1. Lin­coln Insti­tute of Land Pol­icy; web­site online @ http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/378_Globalization–Structural-Change-and-Urban-Land-Management–

Drake Homes (2014) “Types Of Homes Moved and Recy­cled in Aus­tralia”. Drake Homes online @ http://www.drakehomes.com.au/buying-a-house/types-of-homes-moved-and-recycled-in-australia/

Dumas, Daisy (August 9, 2014) “Enter the tiny house, the McMan­sion anti­dote on wheels”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald online @ http://smh.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/sydney-real-estate-enter-the-tiny-house-the-mcmansion-antidote-on-wheels-20140731-zsf9c.html

Dun­can Hughes, Dun­can (July 18, 2014) “Warn­ings sound on DIY-super prop­erty”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, online @  http://www.smh.com.au/business/warnings-sound-on-diysuper-property-20140718-zui4d.html#ixzz37yOLibs4

Feeney, Kather­ine (Decem­ber 21, 2012) “Brisbane’s pop­u­la­tion loss is Gold Coast’s gain”. Bris­bane Times online @  http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbanes-population-loss-is-gold-coasts-gain-20121220-2bpab.html#ixzz2FdhtWdBf

Fer­gu­son, Adele (August 16, 2014) “Macquarie’s bomb­shell a call to arms”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/business/macquaries-bombshell-a-call-to-arms-20140815-104mxz.html#ixzz3AYPRi9is

Fer­gu­son, Adele and Ben But­ler (August 16, 2014) “Cheat­ing rife in finan­cial plan­ning”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, online @  http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/cheating-rife-in-financial-planning-20140815-104gkn.html#ixzz3AYOfXWKn

Gib­son, Anne (July 13, 2013) “Owner walks away from $2.1m home”. New Zealand Her­ald, online @  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10897573

Git­tins, Ross (August 18, 2014) “Stop wast­ing our money on infra­struc­ture”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/ct-editorial/stop-wasting-our-money-on-infrastructure-20140817-104tpp.html

Global Prop­erty Guide (2014) “Coun­try invest­ment rat­ings”. Global Prop­erty Guide web­site, online @ http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/investment-rating

Global Prop­erty Guide (June 11, 2014) “Q1 2014: Global house price boom con­tin­ues”. Global Prop­erty Guide web­site, online @ http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/investment-analysis/Q1-2014-Global-house-price-boom-continues

Goldin, Melissa (24 April 2014) “Chi­nese Com­pany Builds Houses Quickly With 3D Print­ing”. Mash­able web­site, online @ http://mashable.com/2014/04/28/3d-printing-houses-china/

Good­boy, Dave (Oct 28, 2011) “Tax Ben­e­fits For Home­own­ers”. Investo­pe­dia web­site, online @ https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/3-Tax-Benefits-For-Homeowners-investopedia-4101688073.html

Guil­ford, Gwynn (Sep 19 2013) “The Con­nec­tion Between China’s One-Child Pol­icy and Its Hous­ing Bub­ble – The fierce com­pe­ti­tion among bach­e­lors to pur­chase homes has dis­torted a mar­ket in a way that could threaten the econ­omy as a whole”. The Atlantic, online @ http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/09/the-connection-between-chinas-one-child-policy-and-its-housing-bubble/279830/

Hall, Craig (9th Apr 2014) “Is prop­erty a good invest­ment?”. YourLife­Choices web­site, online @ http://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/news/is-property-a-good-investment?page=single

Han Fei (Feb­ru­ary 19, 2013) “Chi­nese Real Estate Records Pulled from Pub­lic Scrutiny”. Sound of Hope Radio online @ http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/china-news/chinese-real-estate-records-pulled-from-public-scrutiny-349547.html

He Dan and Huang Yim­ing (2012–02-13) “Hainan province mulls tax on vacant homes”. China Daily online @ http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012–02/13/content_14587197.htm

Har­ris, Cather­ine (22/12/2012) “Are lease­hold prop­er­ties a good buy?” [New Zealand] Stuff web­site, online @  http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8104072/Are-leasehold-properties-a-good-buy

Hur­ley, Ben (11 Apr 2012) “House prices up to 44pc tax: HIA report”. Aus­tralian Finan­cial Review, online @ http://www.afr.com/p/business/property/house_prices_up_to_pc_tax_hia_report_bZLnnp7yUn9qSQFSeJta3J

Inspi­ra­tionGreen (n.d.) “Earth Shel­tered Homes”. Inspi­ra­tionGreen web­site, online @ http://www.inspirationgreen.com/earth-sheltered-homes.html

Janda, Michael (15 Jan 2014) “Home buyer beware: the illu­sion of afford­abil­ity”. Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Com­mis­sion, online @ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014–01-15/janda-the-illusion-of-housing-affordability/5200

Janda, Michael (30 Jun 2014) “Spe­cial taxes con­sid­ered by par­lia­men­tary inquiry into for­eign real estate investors”. Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Orga­ni­za­tion, online @ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014–06-27/special-taxes-considered-by-parliamentary-inquiry-into-foreign-/5556246

Kim Jung-yoon (21 Jan­u­ary 201) “Sin­gle house­holds influ­ence grows”. Joong Ang Daily (South Korea), online @ http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2965793&cloc=joongangdaily|home|newslist1

John­stone, Toby (Jan­u­ary 28, 2014) “Plans for ver­ti­cal farms on unit blocks take off”. Bris­bane Times online @ http://brisbanetimes.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/plans-for-vertical-farms-on-unit-blocks-take-off-20140128-31kbz.html

Korkki, Phillis(24 May 2014) “The Rip­ple Effects of Ris­ing Stu­dent Debt”. New York Times online @ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/business/the-ripple-effects-of-rising-student-debt.html?_r=0

Kon­czal, Mike (June 24, 2014} “The Dev­as­tat­ing, Life­long Con­se­quences of Stu­dent Debt”. The New Repub­lic, online @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118354/brookings-study-student-debt-misses-lifelong-consequences

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Mar­riner, Cosima (June 8, 2014) “Strug­gling pen­sion­ers opt to leave Aus­tralia for a cheaper coun­try”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald online @ http://www.smh.com.au/national/struggling-pensioners-opt-to-leave-australia-for-a-cheaper-country-20140607-39pui.html#ixzz3B0m8JDva

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Moore, Tony (August 23, 2014) “Inside Brisbane’s bil­lion dol­lar inner-city land debate”. Bris­bane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/inside-brisbanes-billion-dollar-innercity-land-debate-20140822-107g21.html#ixzz3BAH7ol4A

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Pol­lard, Ruth (Decem­ber 4, 2012) “Israel faces rebuke over set­tle­ment plans”. Bris­bane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/israel-faces-rebuke-over-settlement-plans-20121203-2ar6b.html#ixzz2E2CEOAfN

Potts, David (August 20, 2014) “Can you afford it? Can you afford to ignore it?”. Bris­bane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/money/investing/can-you-afford-it-can-you-afford-to-ignore-it-20140815-1032kc.html#ixzz3AtwmNIcq

Nicholls, Stephen (July 18, 2014) “Chi­nese billionaire’s big plans for Syd­ney – The Chi­nese devel­oper behind the city’s tallest res­i­den­tial tower says this is just the begin­ning”. Bris­bane Times, online @  http://brisbanetimes.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/chinese-billionaires-big-plans-for-sydney-20140718-zuly1.html

Nicholls, Stephen (June 2, 2014) “Prop­erty prices head south”. Bris­bane Times, online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/domain/real-estate-news/property-prices-head-south-20140602-39d2z.html

Nicholls, Stephen (June 30, 2014) “Con­fu­sion reigns: RP Data says home val­ues rise”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, online @ http://smh.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/confusion-reigns-rp-data-says-home-values-rise-20140701-zsrfn.html

Num­beo (2014) “Prop­erty Prices Index 2014”. Num­beo com­par­ison web­site, online @ http://www.numbeo.com/property-investment/rankings.jsp

Pas­coe, Michael (July 28, 2014) “Mort­gage fears unfounded as the yield chase gal­lops on”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/mortgage-fears-unfounded-as-the-yield-chase-gallops-on-20140728-zxjon.html#ixzz38lYMtpnJ

Pil­ger, John (2013) “Australia’s nasty Utopia”. Asia Times online @ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01–061113.html

Pol­lard, Ruth (Novem­ber 26, 2011) “Egypt’s poor await their true rev­o­lu­tion – City of the Dead”. Bris­bane Times online @  http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/egypts-poor-await-their-true-revolution-20111125-1nz5m.html#ixzz1elYnYOrw

Potts, David (August 20, 2014) “Can you afford it? Can you afford to ignore it?”. Bris­bane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/money/investing/can-you-afford-it-can-you-afford-to-ignore-it-20140815-1032kc.html#ixzz3AtwmNIcq

Prince, Rosa (July 23, 2014) “Man­hat­tan apart­ment block’s door for poor”. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/world/manhattan-apartment-blocks-door-for-poor-20140723-zvwf3.html#ixzz38LFts048

Real Estate Inves­tar (Feb­ru­ary 2, 2010) “Aus­tralia s Top Rental Yield Sub­urbs and Prop­erty”. Real Estate Inves­tar web­site @ http://www.australian-real-estate.net.au/investing/2010/02/02/australias-top-50-rental-yield-suburbs/

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Wikipedia (2014) “Ship­ping con­tainer archi­tec­ture”. Wikipedia online @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipping_container_architecture

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Wikipedia (2014)  Das Kap­i­tal, Kri­tik der poli­tis­chen Ökonomie by Karl Marx . Wikipedia online @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Kapital

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Zhou, Christina (June 19, 2014) “Liv­ing in a box: homes made from ship­ping con­tain­ers”. Bris­bane Times, online @ http://brisbanetimes.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/living-in-a-box-homes-made-from-shipping-containers-20140619-zsebx.html




Source of this essay

mee­tup group: Bris­bane Active Think­ing Mee­tup http://www.meetup.com/Brisbane-Active-Thinking-Meetup/

top­ics already dis­cussed: http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/DiscussionIndex.htm

com­ments: Thor May – thormay@yahoo.com



Pro­fes­sional bio: Thor May has a core pro­fes­sional inter­est in cog­ni­tive lin­guis­tics, at which he has rarely suc­ceeded in mak­ing a liv­ing. He has also, per­haps fatally in a career sense, cul­ti­vated an inter­est in how things work  peo­ple, brains, sys­tems, coun­tries, machi­nes, what­ever& In the world of daily employ­ment he has mostly taught Eng­lish as a for­eign lan­guage, a stim­u­lat­ing activ­ity though rarely regarded as a pro­fes­sion by the world at large. His PhD dis­ser­ta­tion, Lan­guage Tan­gle, dealt with lan­guage teach­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity. Thor has been teach­ing Eng­lish to non-native speak­ers, train­ing teach­ers and lec­tur­ing lin­guis­tics, since 1976. This work has taken him to seven coun­tries in Ocea­nia and East Asia, mostly with ter­tiary stu­dents, but with a cou­ple of detours to teach sec­ondary stu­dents and young chil­dren. He has trained teach­ers in Aus­tralia, Fiji and South Korea. In an ear­lier life, prior to becom­ing a teacher, he had a decade of find­ing his way out of work­ing class ori­gins, through unskilled jobs in Aus­tralia, New Zealand and finally Eng­land (after back­pack­ing across Asia in 1972).

con­tact: http://thormay.net thormay@yahoo.com

aca­d­e­mic repos­i­tory: Academia.edu at http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay

dis­cus­sion: Thor’s Unwise Ideas at http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/unwisendx.html

per­sonal site: http://thormay.net

Prop­erty and life choices © Thor May 2014


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