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No right to housing in the USA - Americans start to revolt

(Illustration a fragment from Wreck of the Hope by Caspar Friedrich)
This article is based on a Report from France2 News 25-5-08, translated to give Anglophones a different perspective on the anglophone land and housing system.

"In the United States the housing loan situation is producing more and more homelessness, but now an increasing number of bank victims are trashing their houses to make them uninhabitable before they leave them."

(Ask yourself, how long before the Australian situation gets this bad and are we going to put up with the government letting the banks do it to us?)

With amazement in his voice, the French newsreader announces the gruesome details of homelessness in the United States: "During the US election campaign the number of evictions continues to rise, even to double, as the credit crisis affects more and more people. In the American way, unfeelingly, the bailiffs arrive, put the furniture on the footpath, and the only thing left for the evicted families is their eyes to weep with."

A woman interviewee says, "When I telephoned the credit society, they said, "Well, if you can no longer pay, just leave the keys for us and go outside."

But finally people are beginning to revolt against these insane impositions by their mere fellows in a financial system which is no longer serving the community!

Although so many more people are returning their keys, they are first "meticulously vandalising" the houses they are forced to leave. "Systematic destruction of walls, toilets, electrical wiring, decorations - they destroy everything, with rage in their hearts to avenge themselves."

A bailiff describes his experience: "We have found toilets destroyed by sledge-hammers. People have disemboweled pipes to make them leak; they have cut the wires to the air-conditioners and pulled wiring out of the light fittings."

And it's working: these vandalised properties become unsaleable, even at half-price. Of course this means that cancelling mortgages is costing the banks a lot of money. So now they have begun to pay people bonds if they leave their houses in good condition.

Commentary from newsreader: "Yet the simple solution of renegotiating credit simply doesn't seem to occur to anyone!"

Report based on "Etats-Unis : la crise des subprimes poussent les Américains à quitter leur maison et parfois à la saccager" 20h15m32s, from France2 News 25-5-08, 20h15m32s

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Comments

I'm surprised that it hasn't come to this already.

The Fourth annual international Demographia survey on housing affordability for the third quarter of 2007 says..
"The housing affordability crisis is most pervasive in Australia and New Zealand, each with an
overall Median Multiple of 6.3. Affordability is only somewhat better in the United Kingdom
(5.5) and Ireland (4.7), however is still far worse than historical norms. On the other hand,
the national Median Multiple in Canada is 3.1, indicating that housing is less than one-half as
expensive relative to incomes as in New Zealand or Australia. The national Median Multiple in the
United States is 3.6."

Median multiples over 6 are defined as "severely unaffordable". While some areas of the US are as unaffordable as Sydney (for example) overall the situation in the US is not as dire as in NZ and Oz.

Meanwhile the spin from the Real Estate Industry just goes on and on. Rightly concerned about a 'generational decline in housing affordability in Australia', the Property Council of Australia has set up a new website. The Affordablehome website propagates all the usual supply side myths so loved by the industry, along with a bit of whining about planning regulation. It's basically the same old drivel, tarted up in a webpage vaguely similar to the one used by St George bank.

Nothing there about record population growth pushing up demand. Nothing about tax laws that encouarge the speculative purchase of property through negative gearing. Nothing about innovative design and construction methods that might reduce the cost of constructing a house. No.

Australians must now conclude that as serious as the housing affordability problem is, it comes a distant second to maintaining the profitability of the industries that feed the real estate and construction sectors. At least in the minds of the Real Estate lobbyists.

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