THE HOUSING CRISIS IS HURTING WOMEN
In many countries throughout the world, the cost of living has skyrocketed. House prices are now astronomical in Australia, in particular Sydney, but also in California, British Columbia and New Zealand. In Sydney the Medium house price in June 2017, was over 1.2 Million and units were averaging $760,000. Bankwest’s First Time Buyer Report, found that it takes first time buyers in NSW an average of 6 years to save a 20% deposit. Prices are so high that only 8.1% of the states residents are able to get into the market!
So how and why does this crisis effect women in particular?
Women continue to be paid less than men, doing the same or equivalent work, for example compare the earnings of a tradesman or even a labourer to a hairdresser or childcare worker. They are also more highly aggregated in lower paying careers such as retail, hospitality, cleaning, office management, child care, elderly care , nursing and teaching. There is a much higher proportion of women participating in job sharing positions compared to men; in order to be able to juggle the requirements of working, but also having and parenting children, running a household and contributing daily to our children’s development and wellbeing. This is all meant to be achieved on a lower or halved (if divorced) income!
Then consider the higher rate of divorce today, and hence more single women supporting children (even for half of the time), on lower wages, alone, and often without the help of child support from their ex spouses. Don’t think that this only happens occasionally. Most women I speak to, have ex’s who do not pay the proper amount of child support, and my own ex who I split with 19 years ago, was only made in the past two years to pay $48 per fortnight for 3 children, and who still owes me $93,000 in unpaid child support! Child support laws in Australia has may loopholes which allow this to happen.
Under these difficult and demanding constraints, how then would it be possible for a woman to ever contemplate buying her own property; unless she was one of the minority of women earning a comparably high wage like men? This has nothing to do with intelligence, ability, qualifications or experience. It is however, a result of being a woman and not a man, in a world where being a man affords you privileges and opportunities. It would take a highly evolved man, willing to lose these benefits, to want to stand up and right this wrong. As long as the majority of positions of power in government and industry are filled by men, it is unlikely that this will ever change.
With house costs up by 70% in March 2017 and wages only up 13%, it would be all but impossible for a woman to afford the deposit of $240,000, to buy an average priced house in Sydney. So what does this mean for women….TROUBLE.
Single women will therefore become the new lower class in the battle to own and house their families. However, the problem is further exacerbated by the fact that rent, which is traditionally a percentage of the property value, has also skyrocketed. It is not uncommon for someone in Sydney’s outer North West, some 30km's from the CBD; to be paying between $600 -$800 per week for a single level 4 bedroom house, on a tiny block of land! How much would that leave the average single woman to live on and pay the bills? Not much!
Don’t forget to consider when getting your head around the enormity of this problem, to include petrol prices which have been hugely over-inflated in Australia for the past few years, despite record low world oil prices. A further cost to us comes from the privatisation of all newly build by-pass roads to access the CBD.These are a necessary evil, to try and ease horrendous traffic on roads filled to capacity, as the population continues to grow from ever increasing immigration. People have been forced to move out so far, in order to purchase a home they can afford, and then are have to pay the toll roads just to be able to get to work. It is not uncommon for a person wanting to use a system of toll roads, to have to pay between $30 a day in road tolls alone!
This is why many Australian households are struggling to eat regularly, with recent data showing "1.5 million parents have skipped a meal in order to feed their children first.” In the past year a Foodbank study found that 652,000 Australians are receiving food assistance every month! Roquyah Chamseddine’s 2017, (’ Housing crisis: Record Number of Australians now skipping meals to pay their mortgage’).
Capitalism is clearly only working for the wealthy big business owners, who continue to make more and more money, exacerbated by the shareholder's demand for higher profits every year! For example the 2017 full year profits for 'The 4 Big Banks' were: Commonwealth Bank 9.93 Billion; Westpac 8 Billion; NAB 6.6 Billion and ANZ making 5.9 Billion! I think that the government should bring in a law that caps a yearly profit for all companies on the stock exchange, to a fixed percentage. Any amount over that cap, should be taken by the government as tax and put into hospitals, schooling, infrastructure, developing cheaper green energy and policing. This would mean that the pressure would be off companies (and the consumers and workers who often loose their jobs in this quest), to have to constantly find new ways to make more profits from an already profitable business.
Much of the astronomical house price increases that Sydney, British Columbia, California and NZ have seen, is a direct result of foreigners buyers. The largest group being the Chinese, who somehow went from being Communist, and yet all of a sudden are behaving like Capitalist. How did that happen? The Communist belief that everyone is equal has apparently disappeared. We now have ‘wealthy’ Chinese buyers, (although this would have been an impossibility in the China I grew up watching) stealthily infiltrating the worlds property markets. We have seen Auctions regularly on the news showing rooms predominantly full of Chinese buyers, snapping up prime real estate, by outbidding local buyers/investors and pushing up the prices.
We have seen on our news, where our politicians have organised for thousands of Chinese buyers to come on buying tours to Australia, to invest in apartments off the plan. Many these developments are also owned by wealthy Chinese businessmen, so what possible benefit is there for Australia, when our country becomes owned by foreigners and they take their profits back to China? They clearly see the importance of a world food supply, where a world population continues to grow; so as well as houses they are also buying up huge agricultural farms in Australia and New Zealand. Where and how have these people, got so much money to spend on real estate, (as well as designer products while holidaying and studying all over the world), when they originate from a communist country, where every person is meant to be equal?
Why would our politicians shamelessly allow the selling off of our country to foreign owners? This has resulted in the crazy price hikes in real estate, where everyday Australians have been left to compete against unrelenting cashed up Chinese buyers, driving up the prices of our homes. I wonder if we went to China, would we even be allowed to purchase land there? I think not!
The only people happy about these dramatic property price rises, are multinational conglomerate property developers, existing property owners and the government collecting exorbitant stamp duty payments. If you think this sounds dramatic, then consider this: the estimated costs of repayments on $1,100,000 (remember the average price in Sydney was 1.2 Million) is $4,363 / month with a mandatory 15% deposit of $174,978 ! This is calculated on a loan of $937,430 at 3.79% interest over 30 years; and the Government Stamp Duty would be a staggering $44,685!
As women being left behind in this world, we need to be aware of this, to actively discuss these topics and unite to ask not only why is this happening, but when are our politicians ever going to actually represent, protect and empower us, the voting public?