Campbell Live, House Prices and Humanitarian Crises

It isn’t too hard to figure out why news and current affairs rates so poorly. You can’t classify either One News or 3 news as either – they are full of nonsensical feel good rubbish like turtles playing with dogs in Florida and sob stories from all over the country.

Real news and current affairs is restricted to National Radio and key global newspapers. There is a second tier of information available via magazine sites and blogs written by informed individuals on a wide range of topics.

Take Top Gear – it is a show that could only have been produced on the BBC because otherwise the conflict with car manufacturers would have been impossible to bridge for the producers.

No one cares about humanitarian crises or the obscure reasons why the government thinks an NZDF deployment to Iraq is in any way, shape or form appropriate, but 1/3 of the country (Auckland!) is obsessed about house prices.

The idea that:

  • this time is different
  • New Zealand is “special” when it comes to housing
  • 92% of our household balance sheet allocated to housing
  • wealthy households typically have 10% or less allocated to property as an asset class

…all doesn’t bode well for middle class Aucklanders who think that residential properties are a credible investment class. They may have earned high real returns but past returns are no guarantee of future performance as any disclaimer will proclaim.

The “house horny” behaviour of young couples who haven’t any emergency capital reserves in case of job loss or recession trying to jump into highly leveraged debt contracts without thinking through the consequences shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with behavioural finance literature.

People are stupid, they don’t realise how stupid they are, and think that they are special, so they don’t follow the findings of the literature and maintain broadly diversified household portfolios of assets and instead succumb to the madness of crowds.

It would be comical if it wasn’t so sad – hardly any people draining their Kiwisaver to afford a deposit are keeping their contributions going! People turning 65 are spending their entire Kiwisaver balance on holidays and boats and cares! It’s all going on the mortgage and then once that’s done party time! Crazy!

No wonder no one wants to live in the real world and hear about stories of hardship in the rest of the country. There’s no market for sad sack stories – people want happy house price boosting feel good stuff. What are the odds that the 7pm show to replace Campbell Live will be housing related? That’s where the money is for now, at least.