Feminism and Housing
We had a discussion (here) which essentially revolved around what contribution the DPB made to the current price of residential houses in New Zealand.
Whatever your views on the DPB, and regardless of the fact that there are some 100,000 DPB households spread across New Zealand I don’t consider that the DPB should be included in any explanation of the current high house-price situation we are experiencing. (That’s not to say, that the DPB should be excluded from arguments relating to housing or the cost of housing.)
Feminism has had a significant effect on housing in New Zealand but recognising this depends on where you hang your arguments.
Forty years ago a teenager leaving school would have looked first at getting a job, (which was relatively easy back then) marriage (the social norm), home ownership and a family. Life was fairly stable, most households were visibly Mum, Dad, and the kids and the quarter-acre section was still the Kiwi dream. Home ownership was high, desirable and encouraged.
Recently an overpriced housing market and election year have bought some debate around housing, in particular the rate of home-ownership which is now under 50% and declining.
We could look at this strictly from the current socio-economic thinking as some have and suggest;
But the question I want to ask, is how through the past forty years did we get from an encouraged high-level of home ownership to the seemingly irrelevant lowering level of home ownership?
There has been a focus in Government agencies during this period, on legislation and policy that has resulted in a transfer of property ownership to women, and the DPB does factor in this.
The process as I see it has revolved around relationship separations, where women have acquired ownership of the home. We know there are women who have made a lifestyle of attaching themselves to men solely for the purpose of obtaining ‘the relationship real estate’ or a share of it that they didn’t previously own.
In other cases some men who have been earning well enough to fund the purchase of a house, through separation, have left one, two, sometimes more women as individual property owners (themselves eventually not a property owner). While these properties may have housed children for a period of time they have generally been a liability in terms of maintenance and funding and many will have been on-sold to avoid this.
(I remember a while back a feminist based article that appeared in a British paper determining that a man should be regarded as worth up to thirty-three thousand pound a year when it came to reducing on-going household costs.)
There is no doubt that the number of houses in individual female ownership will have spiralled upwards over the last 40 years. It would be interesting to see the percentage ratio of male to female ownership of the current forty-odd per cent left in the declining number of privately owned houses.
I would also suggest that separation has increased the rate at which properties have appeared on the market, meaning that they would not have been available for sale had we not had the same level of relationship failure and manipulation. This coupled with housing being seen as a market (and becoming increasingly overpriced since the late 1980’s) has fuelled a transfer of houses to market oriented owners rather than being on sold to younger couples.
Those houses not being immediately sold and leading to another common situation we see; the little old lady in the broken down house who can’t afford the rates – that and deceased estates also accommodate the same market forces.
These things considered we should not expect any turn around in the declining rate of privately owned homes, without a change in social behaviour or market intervention.
Beyond this there is also the trust factor. Does a man want to be in joint ownership of a property with a woman, when there is so little security around his share of the investment. Men have been, and continue to be the butt of feminist legal property-decisions when it comes to splitting relationship property. You are not only exposed to the wants of your ex but also the aggression of the state pursuing child support.
The recent Sally Ridge trouncing whilst a hopeless case, was a good example of the blind female aggression, that would otherwise have succeeded in the Family Court.
Now that we have been through forty years of this feminist assault on property ownership I would suggest it has played a major part in the decrease of private ownership of houses.
So what advice does a father give his teenage son as he leaves school and heads out into the world as it is in the New Zealand today?