Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: House-buying patterns in Auckland

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  • Katharine Moody, in reply to ,

    I’d expected the police to have been involved in the data theft.

    It would be an interesting case - as I think the data eventually becomes public once the title transfers are registered by LINZ? Not sure what bearing, if any, that has on it - but would be interesting to see how the courts interpret it.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to ,

    Civil matter, surely? Someone broke their confidentiality agreement or something like it? Hardly a police matter. This is an insider...they didn't have to hack anything to get the data, presumably.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    The name on titles is public data? Then why was a leak even needed? Surely it could have been purchased from QV or scraped off a website or something like that?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to ,

    Probably summary dismissal and being slagged off around the entire industry and getting no reference is a severe enough punishment already. Must have been someone that felt passionately about the issue to risk that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to BenWilson,

    The name on titles is public data? Then why was a leak even needed? Surely it could have been purchased from QV or scraped off a website or something like that?

    Sure it is – QV sell access to the LINZ database – $5.95 for the Certificate of Title on any property – which gives you ownership details (names), references and interests (whether there is a registered mortgage against it and with whom).

    https://www.qv.co.nz/property-info/property-reports

    But the public cannot specify/customize their own query on the database, to my knowledge. So for example, if you wanted a query of say, all title transfers within a specific timeframe for all of the Auckland Council area – I don’t think that type of search option is available to the public directly with LINZ. And then many titles are in the ownership of trusts, giving no indication of country-of-origin of the beneficiaries of the trust. Also, ownership does not necessarily determine purchaser (I could buy anyone I want to a property and have the title registered in their name).

    Hence the need for a register/recording of country-of-origin at point of sale (as opposed to point of title transfer) if you want to understand country-of-origin for all foreign direct investment of capital in our residential housing market.

    At least that’s my understanding.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to BenWilson,

    According to the LINZ website you get:

    Property title records show a property's proprietors, legal description and the rights and restrictions registered against the property title - for example, a mortgage, easement or covenant.

    So the owner's name would be there. Obviously if you want thousands of records doing this legitimately costs a lot.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    OK…which seems to contradict the point you made:

    I think the data eventually becomes public once the title transfers are registered by LINZ

    You’re pretty much saying the data isn’t all public, ever, and even what is public is at considerable (at least for a lot of data) cost, which you’re meant to pay to get it?

    Hence my point, it’s probably technically some kind of crime to just hand over the database the real estate agent had built up without permission. Not only does it probably contain some information that couldn’t be got any other way, but such public information as it does contain has still been compiled at their cost into a convenient database. The data may not belong to them, but the database does.

    Not that we know what Salmond got, and I don’t expect him to divulge it. I doubt pursuing the leaker legally is a good idea – that carries even more risks of reputation loss than letting it slide. Do they really want their customers to know just how unsafe those records on them were?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to BenWilson,

    You're right - that point was initially an over simplification.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    'sall good btw. I'm enjoying your contributions. It's on my to-do list to understand what the RB is going to do if property crashes out, since you indicated that there actually is some kind of plan.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Swan, in reply to BenWilson,

    When you own a house, or aim to own one, those are the same thing. The cost of owning a more expensive house is a larger mortgage. You’d have to be an economist not to realize this.

    If you own a house, changes in the prices of houses obviously dont make a difference to your cost of living. If you dont own a house you have the option of purchasing housing directly (renting) or "growing your own" housing (buying a house to live in). If the pricing of growing your own housing increases, this doesnt mean the cost of housing increases, even if you want to grow your own housing. The cost of transportation is in a city is not affected by the sale price of helipads in the CBD, no matter how much you want to fly a helicopter to work.

    Furthermore, if you buy a larger asset, it’s usually on the expectation of larger future gains, so asset prices do fundamentally have an effect on rents too.

    You have got causation wrong. Expectations of future rent increases affect house prices (at least in certain models of market behaviour), but that doesnt mean house prices cause rent rises. That makes as much sense as saying expectations of rent rises cause rent rises. And even if that were true, house prices would be a sympton of the underlying cause that is driving expectations.

    Birkenhead • Since Feb 2011 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I only just saw the break-down of sales by "name ethnic origin". The bit I found particularly depressing was the percentage of sales to "Pacific" names. It's true that plenty of Pacific people have "European" names, but still. 11% of the census population, but under 2% of sales speaks volumes about inequity, income disparity, and access to capital and/or tenure security. I know the Pacific population is relatively young, but I don't think the difference in age distribution comes anywhere close to explaining the difference in property purchases.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Swan,

    If you own a house, changes in the prices of houses obviously dont make a difference to your cost of living.

    It made a difference to me when the change in house prices meant my equity got bigger and I didn't have to pay "low equity insurance" anymore. It also made a difference when I wanted to make minor improvements. I didn't have to wait years to save up the money, doing without it in the meantime. It was, quite literally, like having more money, and it still is. Until a crash of the magnitude you suggest, that is. Then it will be, quite literally, like having no money. Because I won't be able to go to an ATM and withdraw those paper things that I pay people to do things with any more.

    You have got causation wrong

    I'm not sure what this argument is about any more, this is a response to a response to a quibble or something. I was saying that modeling property prices involves a lot of factors and that it's babyish to present only a couple of them and try to boil the whole argument down to which one it is. I simply gave an example of two factors that could be so babyishly disputed. I don't intend to then get into a babyish dispute over which one is more important because that would defeat the purpose of my whole point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    It’s true that plenty of Pacific people have “European” names, but still.

    It is. But, as with the ethnic Asian population in the study, that doesn't really matter much. The method of estimating the proportion of people in the data who are, in fact, Pacific people, is quite sound, when used in the aggregate like this. If 2% of people with the name Smith are PI, then in a sample with 1000 people called Smith, 20 PIs is a very good guess. When you're building their total number using all the different names, you're going to get a number that is very accurate in the end, so long as a person's surname is independent of their propensity to buy property (which is a reasonable assumption). Amongst PIs we don't have any real reason to think that Smiths are more likely to buy than Mataeles.

    So yeah, it's depressing all right. And it's also predictable. PIs are poorer, on the whole, than most other groups. We'd pretty much expect to see this.

    It's because these inferences also pop out of the data that I find it hard to say the study is racist by design. Yes, there was really only one stand out point, that the Ethnic Asians have this very different proportion. And that really only stands out because people keep disputing it. The idea that Pacific people get a shitty deal on owning property isn't really controversial.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer, in reply to BenWilson,

    You’re pretty much saying the data isn’t all public, ever, and even what is public is at considerable (at least for a lot of data) cost, which you’re meant to pay to get it?

    Property title data, including owners, is public and freely available. The LINZ data service is excellent. To figure out transfers you'd need to compare two snapshots, I think.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    I find it hard to say the study is racist by design

    only in presentation

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    This story replicates my experience dealing with foreign owners who are non-resident as a tenant. No interest. No recourse. http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/70288726/Flood-victim-picks-up-pieces-after-hard-night

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 371 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Andre,

    dealing with foreign owners who are non-resident

    It seems that the landlord is too cheap to engage a letting agent, who once upon a time would have been a tenant's first avenue of recourse. While it may be of little comfort to tenants, a high profile neglected property sometimes engages the interest of the media. If this ongoing mess is any indication, it then becomes a race (no pun intended) to claim the moral high ground by accusing your opponents of racism.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    So my understanding is if the landlord won't fix shit, you can get relief from the Tenancy Tribunal. Landlords are obliged to keep a place in a reasonable state of repair. The flipside of an overseas landlord not being around to do shit to help you is they can't hurt you as easily either. You may get relief in the form of deducting repair costs from rent.

    Having said that, NZ is awash in advice for the landlord class, not so much for the poor old tenant, and we socialise tenants to accept what they're given, and a vindictive landlord will find a reason to kick you out. Landlords almost always have better resources to draw on than tenants.

    One of the things that shits me about housing debate in NZ is its laser focus on owning when we could improve people's lives so much with better security of tenure and minimum standards for housing. Bleargh.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    One of the things that shits me about housing debate in NZ is its laser focus on owning when we could improve people's lives so much with better security of tenure and minimum standards for housing.

    Yes. Let's see more parties than the Greens promoting that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "Yes. Let’s see more parties than the Greens promoting that."

    The latter at least is also Labour policy. Not sure about security of tenure. But it's not just the Greens.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    yep. I meant more the security of tenure. But anyone valuing the postion of renters rather than owners is great Coalition fodder.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    One of the things that shits me about housing debate in NZ is its laser focus on owning when we could improve people’s lives so much with better security of tenure and minimum standards for housing. Bleargh.

    Unfortunately, such meaningful reform is up against a property-owning class that’s more powerful than the House of Lords. Call them if you will the House of Lords of Houses.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Unfortunately, such meaningful reform is up against a property-owning class that’s more powerful than the House of Lords. Call them if you will the House of Lords of Houses.

    And the members are on both sides of the Aisle.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Michael Homer,

    Property title data, including owners, is public and freely available. The LINZ data service is excellent. To figure out transfers you’d need to compare two snapshots, I think.

    Yeah, nah. The Property Titles layer "provides title information (excluding ownership) where there is a data link to one or more primary parcels."

    You can request access to the Closed Access Group, but there's a hoop or two to jump through first, and a licencing agreement to accept. Still free, as far as I can see, but not immediately available. I know a few people who do have full access and they're usually in the land business (like surveyors, valuers etc). Was quite handy when we were fighting NZTA about the Kapiti Expressway.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

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