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新西兰的公屋:定义“可负担的”住房

更新时间:2019/2/11 21:03:22 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Who should be able to afford 'affordable' housing?
新西兰的公屋:定义“可负担的”住房

After several attempts to buy his first home, Jason Cooper had given up. He’d put down what he thought were “reasonable” offers on modest houses in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, only to be outbid by what he said were shocking margins.

库柏(Jason Cooper)欲首次置业为自己安一个家,几次尝试失败后最终放弃。他放弃了在新西兰首都惠灵顿以他认为合理的价格买一套普通住宅的念头,原因是房价高得不合理。

He took a job in Auckland, but then found himself in the centre of the country’s most bloated property market, where the average house price is more than one million New Zealand dollars ($678,000). Cooper consigned himself to a life of renting.

他在奥克兰找到了一份工作,但是不久便发现自己身处全国房价飙升得最高的房地产市场,这里平均每一套房价格超过100万新西兰元(约67.8万美元)。不得已库柏只好租房。

“I am still shocked that, at the age of 33, in a professional job as a lawyer, I can't afford a house,” he says.

他说,“我仍然感到震惊,我已33岁,身为执业律师,却负担不起一套房子。”

It is a common refrain in New Zealand, where only a quarter of people aged 40 and below own their own homes – compared to half in 1991. The decline of millennial homeownership is a global trend, and commentators have been quick to blame millennials’ different financial priorities – such as frivolous spending on avocado toast – for their lower rates of property ownership.

在新西兰,大家都说,四十岁以下的人只有大约四分之一有他们自己的房子,但在1991年,这个年龄段的人约一半有房产。千禧一代住宅拥有率的下降是一个全球趋势,评论家将千禧一代拥有物业比例较低归咎于这些年轻人理财考量不当,例如在高价早餐鳄梨烤面包上的无谓支出。

But the reality is more complicated, including in New Zealand, where a chronic undersupply of homes has driven housing unaffordability to rank among the highest in the developed world.

但是现实状况更复杂,包括新西兰在内,应该是长期房屋供应不足导致了房价高涨,年轻人难以负担,现在的新西兰房价之高已进入发达国家中房价最高之列。

If you build it, they will buy

你建了房,他们就会买

This month a group of excited first-time home-buyers moved into 18 new houses in Auckland. Unlike Cooper, they had been able to secure properties for purchase – but had done so on the back of a government scheme.

2018年11月,一群兴奋的首次购房者搬进了奥克兰的18所新房。不同于库柏,他们有能力购买自己的房产,但他们购房也得到政府计划的支持。

The programme, KiwiBuild, gave them the chance to buy property for a fixed sum, and shut out investors who drive up prices out of reach. Until they had heard their names pulled from a ballot of hopefuls, many of these young professionals had abandoned hope of footing it in the million-dollar property market of New Zealand’s largest city.

“新西兰建设”这个项目让他们能够以较合理的定价购买房产,那些会炒高房价的投资者则被拒之门外。这些年轻的专业人士从众多申请者中有幸被抽中,如果不这样,他们当中的许多人恐怕也不得不放弃在新西兰最大城市拥有自己房产的梦想。

KiwiBuild has sparked a debate, however, which has resonated globally. Leaders of some of the world’s least affordable cities, including Sydney, Hong Kong and London, have wrestled with the meaning of ‘affordable’ housing, and what a government’s housing priorities should be: finding homes for its poorest citizens, or catering to low-middle income earners who can afford to rent – but not to buy.

“新西兰建设”项目引起了一场争议,但在全球引起了共鸣。在悉尼、香港和伦敦这些房价高昂的城市,政府正为如何定义“可以负担的”住房,以及政府的住房优先级别应该是什么而头痛,即应该是给最贫穷的公民提供住处,还是迎合只能负担租金却买不起房的中低收入者。

Facing high rates of homelessness, unaffordable rents and long waiting lists for public housing, New Zealand’s centre-left government has, in the year since it took office, set out an ambitious agenda to tackle all of the country’s housing woes nearly simultaneously.

面对高比例的无家可归人口,以及无法负担租金而等待住进公共住房的一长串候补名单,新西兰的中左翼政府从执政起,就急切地设立了一个雄心勃勃的议程来处理国家的房屋灾难。

The tall order is partly why the KiwiBuild scheme – which has included a government pledge for 100,000 affordable new homes for first-time buyers in the next decade – has already proved controversial. The government’s political opponents, and critical pundits balked when the first recipients of the fixed-price, unsubsidised homes revealed themselves to be a soon-to-graduate medical student and a marketing manager. Critics argued that the houses, and the wide range of incomes allowed to apply for them, showed KiwiBuild was little more than middle-class welfare.

“新西兰建设”计划确实雄心勃勃,其中包括政府承诺未来十年为首次购房者提供十万套经济实惠的新房,难度之高是这个计划有争议的原因之一。当第一批定价房的购买者表示他们是即将毕业的医学院学生和一个营销经理时,政府的政治反对派和批评家们对计划立即提出了批评。批评者认为,房屋的价格以及对购房申请者收入的上限太松,说明“新西兰建设”只不过是中产阶级的福利。

Fixed or broken?

定价还是任其浮动?

State interventions to put first-time home ownership within the reach of low-to-middle income buyers are not unusual. Britain’s Help to Buy programme, for example, allows interest-free government loans to partly cover the cost of a property. In the United States, subsidy programmes for first-home buyers are also common.

国家干预将首次购房受助者置于中低收入买家的范畴并不是罕见之事。例如,英国的帮助置业计划提供免息政府贷款部分支付购房费用。在美国,给首次购房者的补贴计划也很普遍。

Subsidy programmes often face criticism, however, that they drive up prices and still only benefit those who can almost afford a home, although a report produced for this year’s budget about Help to Buy said it had been successful in generating new houses that would not have otherwise been built.

补贴计划经常面临批评,因为他们提高了房价,并且仍是使那些买得起房的人获益。不过一项关于帮助首次置业者购房计划2018年的预算报告指出,该计划成功推动新的地产开发计划,否则不会有新的房屋建成。

But New Zealand’s model for KiwiBuild is different because those buying the homes do not receive government subsidies to help them put down a deposit or service a mortgage. The government doesn’t pay for construction of the homes, either. It merely guarantees to developers that a certain number of properties will be purchased at a fixed price, giving them the security they need to proceed with construction projects.

“新西兰建设”的模式不同,不会向首次置业者提供政府补贴,以帮助购房者付首付或者还贷款。政府也不为房屋的建设买单。计划只是向开发商确保,将以固定价格购买一定数量的房产,为他们开展建筑项目给予所需的担保。

The fixed prices, which vary depending on location, are meant to prevent the bidding wars that have locked out so many buyers. In Auckland, for example, homes cost between NZ$500,000 ($338,000) for one bedroom and NZ$650,000 for three bedrooms.

政府先以定价购入一批预售楼房,再以同样价钱转售给获得申请的首次置业者,此举旨在阻止会炒高楼价的炒家进场。至于定价多少,则因地而异。例如在奥克兰,一个卧室的房子价格为50万新西兰元(33.8万美元),三个卧室的房子要65万新西兰元。

KiwiBuild homes can only be sold to those who make less than the specified income cap: NZ$120,000 NZD ($81,000) for sole buyers, and NZ$180,000 for couples. But these figures have also caused controversy. The median New Zealand income was $NZ41,200 last year, and the average household earned $NZ105,719. The average is lower for people in their 20s, who earned less than every other age group except teenagers and retirees.

“新西兰建设”的房屋只能出售给收入低于规定上限的人士:单身人士收入上限为12万新西兰元(8.1万美元),夫妇收入必须在18万新西兰元以下。但是这些数字也引起了争议。去年新西兰收入的中位数是4.12万新西兰元,每个家庭平均挣10.57万新西兰元。而20多岁青年的平均收入还要低,他们是除了青少年和退休人士以外收入最低的组别。

"In the current format, KiwiBuild doesn't actually do a great deal," says Shamubeel Eaqub, an Auckland-based housing economist. “The government goes to the market and buys houses that would have been built anyway, and then it gives them to people who qualify on a few criteria. You can't earn huge amounts of money, but you can earn a fair bit of money.”

奥克兰住房经济学家伊寇卜(Shamubeel Eaqub)说,“以这种形式,新西兰建设并没有什么了不起。政府购买本来就要建造的房屋,然后将这些房子卖给那些符合一定标准的人们。你(地产商)赚不到大钱,但是可以保证赚到一笔合理的钱。”

But Eaqub says simply reducing the income cap wouldn’t work, because the cost of building homes is currently so high in New Zealand that the government would then struggle to find enough buyers who could afford KiwiBuild properties. Although he has hopes about innovative future plans for KiwiBuild, which is scheduled to include components of urban regeneration beginning in 2020, Eaqub is sceptical about the project’s efficacy.

但是伊寇卜也表示,仅仅降低收入上限是行不通的,因为新西兰的建房成本如此之高以至于政府很难找到能负担得起“新西兰建设”房产的买主。

For now, he says, no one has “been able to describe, to my satisfaction, what KiwiBuild will actually do”.

A saviour?

救世主?

However controversial, KiwiBuild may rescue Jason Cooper from the purgatory of eternal rent. He earns less than the KiwiBuild income cap, and this week, he found out his name had been drawn from the ballot for an off-the-plan apartment to be built in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga.

无论有何争议,或许“新西兰建设”是唯一能拯救库柏并让他脱离永久租房炼狱的机会。他的收入低于设定的收入上限,有资格申请。几天前他发现自己的名字已被抽中,出现在奥克兰郊区奥尼洪加一个预售公寓的名单上。

But it is still not cheap.

但是也仍然不便宜。

If Cooper proceeds to the final stage of the sale, he will pay $NZ535,000 ($361,000) for the one-bedroom apartment, including a carpark – essentially market rate for the area. He will also have to front up the $NZ55,000 deposit, and service the mortgage, on his own.

如果库柏进入最终买卖阶段,他需要为一居室的公寓,包括停车场,支付约36.1万美元,基本上就是这个地区的市场价格。

As part of KiwiBuild programme guidelines, Cooper will also not be allowed to sell the property for three years – a rule intended to stop buyers from immediately flipping the houses for capital gains. These restrictions are causing some commentators to question why a first-home buyer would go for a KiwiBuild at all.

“新西兰建设”的项目指引之一指出,库柏在三年内不可以出售该物业,这项规定是为了阻止买家为了获利而即刻转手房产。这些限制造成了一些评论者质疑为什么首次购房者要去选择它。

For Cooper, however, the answer is simple: with a KiwiBuild home, he says, he could not be outbid by property investors as before, and he felt more comfortable trusting a developer when the government was responsible for doing due diligence on the project.

然而,对库柏来说,答案很简单:购买“新西兰建设”的房产,他不会再像从前一样被房产投资者抬价,而他也更愿意相信政府负责审查项目的发展商。

According to New Zealand’s housing minister, Phil Twyford, people like Cooper were exactly who the programme was meant to help.

新西兰住房部长特威福德(Phil Twyford)表示,库柏这样的人正是该计划想要帮助的人。

"We're not apologetic that young professional couples, who are locked out of the housing market, are going to get a chance with KiwiBuild," he says. Twyford says that the government needed to feel sure buyers could service their mortgage. "I know people were genuinely shocked that the income cap was set so high, but that's a sign of how out of whack the housing market has got.”

“我们不会因为给那些被天价房屋市场拒之门外的年轻职业夫妇提供机会而感到抱歉,”特威福德表示,政府需要确保买家可以偿还贷款。“我知道人们对于把收入上限设定得如此高表示不理解,但这正表明房屋市场已经失控了。”

‘ No one can kick me out of here’

“没有人能把我赶出去”

Twyford examined financial assistance programmes for housing, like those in the US. But one of the primary inspirations for KiwiBuild was the Million Programme, a Swedish initiative in the 1960s and 70s that enabled the government to turn a housing shortage into a surplus by simply building more dwellings (though presently, Sweden faces a housing shortage again). Any successful programme, he said, would need to stimulate construction and incentivise scale – otherwise there wouldn’t be enough properties to help young buyers into.

特威福德研究过美国等国家的国民住房财政支援计划,但"新西兰建设"主要受瑞典“百万计划”的启示。瑞典在二十世纪60和70年代的这一住房计划仅仅通过大量建造房屋,就能够将住房短缺变成住房过剩(尽管目前瑞典再次面临住房短缺的问题)。他说,任何成功的计划,都需要鼓励建设并刺激规模,否则就没有足够的资产来帮助年轻买家。

Some, however, say they would prefer financial help. Daniel Robson, an office worker in Wellington, says he was eager to buy his own place, but after 20 years of working, he was still priced out of the market. Even a KiwiBuild home would be too expensive.

然而,有人表示他们更喜欢政府经济上的资助。惠灵顿的一个白领工人罗布森(Daniel Robson)表示,他渴望买一个自己的家,但是经过20年的工作,他仍然被市场价排除在外,甚至连“新西兰建设”对他来说都太昂贵了。

“Building more houses is good, but it doesn’t help me get into a house when it costs the same as other properties in the area,” he says. Worried about supporting himself in his retirement if he did not own property, Robson says he is also tired of renting. “I live with three other people and I’m 38. At this age, I shouldn’t be living in a shared flatting situation.”

他说,“建造更多的房屋固然很好,但是如果房价与这个地区的其他房产价格相同,也无法帮助我买到自己的房子。” 罗布森担心没有自己的房产,退休后如何维生。罗布森也表示他已经厌倦了租房。“我和另外三个人住在一起,我38岁了,在这个年纪,我不应该还与他人合租。”

No promised assistance is on the way, though New Zealand’s government has also promised to strengthen rights for tenants. Unlike in some European countries, many renters cannot so much as hang picture hooks in their homes, and can be subject to annual rent increases.

虽然新西兰政府承诺加强租户的权利,但至今没有兑现。与欧洲一些国家不同,在新西兰很多租客在租来的房子中要受房东诸多限制,比如不可以在墙上安装挂钩,如要做就会被房东追加年租。

Cooper, the KiwiBuild hopeful, agreed that the risk of renting played a large part in his desire for his own home.

库柏表示,对租房风险的顾虑促使他想要一个自己的房子。

“No one can kick me out of here – I can paint the walls whatever colour I want, I can make it feng shui, I can raise my children and they can crayon the walls, and it doesn't matter,” he says. “It's not actually about having an asset. It's about knowing you have a space and somewhere to belong.”

他说,有了自己的房子,“没有人可以把我赶出去。我可以把墙壁涂成任何我想要的颜色,我可以按照风水来布置。我可以在自己家里养大孩子,他们用蜡笔在墙上涂鸦也没关系。这实际上不是仅止于有一套房产,而是知道有一个完全属于自己的空间,它就是我自己的。”

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