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Shamubeel Eaqub to talk about Housing and Inequality

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub will be in Hastings district to talk about Housing and Inequality on Tuesday 6 March, 12 noon at the Havelock North Function Centre.

The New Zealand rental market is broken. The failing housing market is leading to stark inequality between the old and young and the rich and the poor. This inequality is harming both the financial and physical health of younger Kiwis and the country's productivity. Both rents and house prices have risen far faster than incomes.

The new Coalition Government tells us they have a plan to address the housing crisis but will it come in time? Many New Zealand families are struggling to find affordable housing now. Homelessness is increasing. A recent article in the Hawkes Bay Today declared that weekly rent on Hawke's Bay family houses is now between $300 and $495 depending on the area. The odds of getting into a new rental home could be as high as 40-1. Just over half of potential first home buyers across the country would have to spend more than 30 per cent of their income on servicing the mortgage of a modestly priced home, a rough barometer for housing unaffordability.

High house prices have stark distributional impacts: they transfer wealth from younger and less wealthy people to existing landowners, who are generally richer and older. The substantial increase in house prices over past decades appears to be the major cause of the increase in wealth inequality, and the ongoing effect is one of restricting access to opportunity for the young and less well off.

This has wider social impacts, including overcrowding and homelessness, health problems, poor education and less job opportunities. Individually our real estate has made some of us richer but as a nation it is impoverishing more than it is enriching.

Shamubeel Eaqub is an experienced economist who makes economics understandable. In his book Generation Rent, co-authored with partner Selena, he took on the economic, political and cultural forces pushing up house prices and leaving an entire generation with no choice other than to rent for the rest of their lives. In this talk he will look at how the housing market has become even more unpalatable and unrealistic for many.

Shamubeel Eaqub’s presentation is a fundraising event for the Friends of Hastings District Libraries. Tickets are $10.00 each and available from Hastings District Libraries and Eventfinda.

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