Thursday, May 12, 2022

It now takes more than a decade to save a home deposit

This is fairly theoretical. Most families are small these days -- with one or two children -- so young people looking to buy should mostly have parents able to assist with the purchase in various ways.

But in cases where parental help is not available for various reasons, one certainly has to feel sorry for the young people involved. In their case they would be best to buy a small home unit as soon as they can. Time will then be on their side and they should later be able to upgrade to something better.

Our present era of high inflation makes it particularly imperative to buy something as soon as you can. Inflation will give you more and more equity in your dwelling, which actually makes you rather rich. I benefited greatly from inflation in the Gough Whitlam era. Gough effectively wiped out a large part of my debts

The share of household income needed to either pay rent or pay off a mortgage has also risen, the report, which measures affordability to the end of March, said.

It’s a bleak picture for long-term residents of regional Australia, who are facing a steeper jump in the ratio of house prices to incomes and a sharper deterioration in rental affordability than their city counterparts.

Despite early forecasts that the pandemic would send unemployment soaring and push property prices down, effective stimulus and ultra-low interest rates sparked a property boom. The shift to remote working also prompted a spate of sea-changers, putting pressure on regional housing markets.

“There’s been a broad-based deterioration in housing affordability over the past couple of years,” ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said.

“The deterioration in affordability has been much more marked in regional areas on average because we’ve seen prices and rents go up there generally at a faster rate.

“With the push to flexible working, capital city workers have been able to move to the regions. Often these are knowledge workers that are relatively highly paid, and so they’re able to afford to pay higher prices for homes or pay more for their rent.”

Nationally, the median dwelling value is 8.5 times the median household income, a record high and up from 6.8 since the pandemic. But across regional Australia, the ratio is 7.9 times, up from 5.9 pre-pandemic.

For someone earning the median capital city income and looking to tree-change into the median regional home, the ratio is only six times, making the move an attractive option for higher-income workers.

The house price boom has outstripped wages growth, so it takes longer to save a deposit on average.

For someone who could save 15 per cent of their income, it would now take a record 11.4 years to save a 20 per cent deposit for the median home. That’s an increase of 2.2 years since March 2020, the fastest gain in this metric ever.

Once a buyer manages to save a deposit, they will need to set aside a higher share of income to pay off their mortgage, with the portion of household income needed to service new mortgage repayments rising to 41.4 per cent, well below record levels but above the decade average of 36.5 per cent, and the third consecutive increase.

Potential buyers trying to save a deposit are also facing higher rents, with the share of income needed to service rent on a new lease lifting to 30.6 per cent, higher than two years earlier.

She said many first-home buyers are getting help with their deposit from parents or grandparents, although hard data remains scant.

“It’s increasingly becoming the case that whether you’re able to buy a home and become a first-home owner increasingly depends on what sort of job your mum and dad had, and I suppose the question is – is that really, as a society, what we want?” she said.

She doubted housing affordability would improve much this year when rates rise, as mortgage repayments will be higher and property prices are not likely to fall enough to move the needle.

Damien Walker, mortgage broker at Atelier Wealth, said some first-home buyers are bridging the deposit gap by turning to lenders that offer loans with a low 15 per cent or 10 per cent deposit and no lenders’ mortgage insurance.

Others are getting help from parents in the form of cash gifts or guarantor loans, and some are using the federal government’s First Home Guarantee scheme.


Confusion about Anglican schools

In what sense is an Anglican school that rejects Anglican teaching in order to keep non-Anglican families happy still an Anglican school?

That’s the question Sydney Anglicans are wrestling with as opposition to Christian teaching on sexuality and gender grows.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the weekend that alumni and parents from Anglican schools had issued a letter complaining the Anglican church was ‘imposing its social conservatism on classrooms’.

In other words, they were worried that the Anglican church was instructing Anglican schools to be, well, Anglican.

Specifically, parents were upset about guidelines for schools on dealing with students struggling with gender identity.

The Anglican Diocese of Sydney has advised its schools to show compassion, reject bullying and abuse, and note that nobody was immune from ‘brokenness’, but to also tell students to ‘honour and preserve the maleness or femaleness of the body God has given you’.

All of which sounded a little too much like Anglicanism for Anglican school parents.

‘I feel awful for any student who has to endure this senseless attack on their identity,’ a transgender woman (who identified as an Anglican parishioner) told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Another parent told the Herald that most families at his daughter’s Anglican school were not religious, and that he worried ‘socially conservative’ forces were pushing the school ‘in a different direction’.

By ‘socially conservative’ he presumably meant Anglican. And by ‘different direction’ he evidently meant Christian.

If only those Anglicans wouldn’t be so Anglican, their Anglican school would be less Anglican so that non-Anglicans could enjoy it!

Judging by the reported comments of disaffected parents, it will likely come as a surprise for them to learn that Anglican leaders don’t take their cues from Libs of TikTok.

Church leaders base their doctrine on the teaching of Jesus who, among other things, told his followers: ‘Surely you have read in the Scriptures: When God made the world, He made them male and female.’

Jesus’ words align with science, but not with the new-fangled gender transformation fetish.

The Anglican Diocese has essentially reminded its Anglican schools – which include some of the most exclusive colleges in the country such as The Kings School and Abbotsleigh – that they are Anglican.

Sydney Archbishop Kanishka Raffel said the guidelines:

‘Emphasise care and compassion for those who experience gender dysphoria and give schools wide discretion to respond to individual situations while holding to a Christian view of the inherent goodness of our bodies, as each has been created by God.’

But parents are threatening to withhold fees if the guidelines – including that school principals and board members must endorse the Christian view of marriage – are not rescinded.

A gay parent whose daughter attends St Catherine’s asked: ‘How do you explain to a girl that the leader of your school is opposed to your way of being?’

Imagine his surprise when he discovers there are literally hundreds of state schools in Sydney that endorse LGBTQ+ ways of being. And his daughter can attend any of them for free!

Upset non-Anglican parents don’t want their children to go to non-Anglican schools. But nor do they want their children’s Anglican schools to be Anglican.

So they are determined to leave their children in Anglican schools where they will oppose Anglicanism until the Anglican school is Anglican in name only such that it becomes a non-Anglican Anglican school.

The angry parents have found some support among senior school staff.

One Anglican school principal was said to be ‘livid’ at being asked to endorse the Christian view of marriage.

Others said the requirement would reduce the already small pool of potential candidates for principals and compromise the quality of school leadership.

A ‘high achieving woman with a public profile’ reportedly withdrew from the board of an exclusive Anglican school rather than sign a statement of faith endorsing the biblical view of marriage.

The Herald reported this as a problem. I suspect the Sydney Anglican Diocese may view it differently. The statement of faith had the intended effect of weeding out a board member not committed to Anglican doctrine.

The woman told the Herald: ‘It’s going to limit new principals – you’ll end up with a whole set of socially engineered principals across Anglican schools in the Sydney diocese.’

If by ‘socially engineered principals’ she means Bible-believing Christians (can there be any other kind?) then she is right. And the Sydney Anglican Diocese, along with Anglican parents who sent their children to Anglican schools because they are Anglican, will be delighted.

The woman continued: ‘Restrictive ideas about sexuality should not be tied up in the statement of faith and the fact that they are speaks to something deeply concerning about the Sydney Anglican Church right now. To me, this is not Christ-like.’

I imagine Christ, who taught that marriage was between a man and a woman, would be greatly amused to hear that He is not Christ-like.

The Sydney Anglican Diocese is not laughing.

After all, what is an Anglican school if it is no longer Anglican? What value are grand sandstone buildings if they sit on nothing but cultural quicksand?


Motion on transgender woman playing sport splits Queensland Parliament

Queensland Parliament has voted down a motion from Katter's Australian Party (KAP) that called on MPs to agree that allowing transgender women to play in women's leagues would "erode" their integrity and women's rights.

KAP leader Robbie Katter opened the short and tense debate by saying he was well aware the motion would attract "a lot of ire and a lot of anger".

"I think this is important for parents — I'm a parent of some young girls who will be hopefully participating in some sport one day … to imagine them 15 or 17 years old, post-puberty, competing against the odd person who might want to transfer to being female, that doesn't sit well with me," he said.

"That's not to deny that person an opportunity to play sport — they're welcome to play sport, and they should enjoy a great life in sport — but there's a distinct advantage when you cross over."

Mr Katter said it was important to introduce the motion, because voters needed to know where people stand on social issues in the context of the federal election. No-one from the LNP spoke on the motion, but when it came time to vote, the party supported it.

Mr Katter said he was trying to approach the subject "with the utmost respect for the other side of the argument". "You try and be tolerant of other people's views," Mr Katter said.

"But it seems always curious to me that you're not always afforded that same level of tolerance and always invoke the word 'bigot' and 'hate speech'.

"This is nothing against anyone who falls in that category of transgender — God loves them all and welcomes them all."

Katter's Australian Party's motion read:

That this House supports women's rights by agreeing that:

1. allowing biological men to play in female sport will erode the integrity of female sport;

2. anyone who supports biological men playing in female sport, irrespective of age group, level or code, is complicit in eroding the integrity of female sport and therefore women's rights;

3. based on their insurmountable physical advantages, biological males participating in female sport pose an unfair competitive advantage against, and/or safety risk against female athletes

'Attempt to cause fear and division'
Queensland's Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the government rejected the premise of the motion and would not be supporting it.

"This is not a debate about sport or women's rights, it's an attempt to cause fear and division and is unnecessarily dragging an extreme right-wing trope into this parliament," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"I'm surprised the KAP are using their relatively rare private members' motion opportunities on this issue, rather than something more relevant to regional Queenslanders.

"It's not the role of the state to determine who can and cannot participate in sport based on any factor and gender identity is one of those.

KAP's Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto, said the party's motion was about protecting women's sport, and he welcomed codes like the National Rugby League Women being pushed into the limelight.

At one point, Labor's Member for Pumicestone Ali King called out: "Women don't want your protection, we didn't ask for your protection."

One Nation's single member in the state parliament, Steve Andrew, voted in support of the bill and told parliament it was not about politics but women's right to compete fairly.

Both Greens MPs spoke against the motion, with party leader Michael Berkman calling it "repugnant". "It is completely unnecessary to drag this kind of disgusting conservative dog-whistling politics in here," he said. "I think it is telling that we are hearing not a single word from the Opposition to speak against it."

The motion was easily defeated, 49 votes to 33.


A clean future or merely greenwashing? Critics claim Coalition's hydrogen plans are a 'fig leaf' for fossil fuels

Plans by the federal government to develop a "clean" hydrogen industry in Australia have been branded greenwashing by critics who say taxpayer money is being used to subsidise fossil fuel activities.

The government says every technology that could help decarbonise the economy should be available for use

The government has announced plans for a series of hydrogen hubs around the country as part of efforts to kickstart production of the fuel and decarbonise the economy.

About $500 million has been earmarked for hydrogen hubs for industrial centres in places including Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania.

But the spending has drawn fire amid claims much of the money would be invested in so-called blue hydrogen, which is made using natural gas rather than renewable energy.

The Australia Institute, a left-leaning think-tank, argued the funding defeated the purpose of building a hydrogen industry.

The institute's climate and energy program director, Richie Merzian, said clean hydrogen could "be one of two things".

"You can make it using renewable energy, which is a zero-emissions process," Mr Merzian said.

"Or you can make it using fossil fuels, which is a really dirty process." 'Might as well use the fossil fuels'

Climate Energy Finance director Tim Buckley backed the concept behind hydrogen hubs, which were aimed at putting producers of the fuel alongside big users such as industrial customers.

But Mr Buckley described as greenwashing the government's support for blue hydrogen, which he said was a "fig leaf" to hide the continuation of the natural gas industry.

The former investment banker said producing hydrogen from gas instead of renewable energy made no sense.

"At the end of the day, if you are going to make hydrogen from fossil fuels, you might as well just use the fossil fuels," Mr Buckley said.

"Why go through the extra processing steps, the extra cost, to use hydrogen?

"You might as well just use the gas, the coal, the electricity in the first place."




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