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Home & Building, Volume 12 Number 6 (June-July 1950)

the case for home ownership

page 17

the case for home ownership

In these times of much slick talking and shallow thinking, of economic difficulties and frustration, it is wise to re-examine and re-state the policy of individual home owenrship. Traditionally, one of the main objects in life of the average family was to own their own home. This still is the object of very many people. We believe that it is a worthy object—one which deserves sympathetic co-operation from government and people, from local bodies, building industry, employers and financial institutions.

Admittedly, there will always be a need for rental houses and flats. Young or single people, old people and those whose calling involves frequent transfer of location will require state or private rental homes. Perhaps also there must always be those who, with the best will in the world, cannot purchase their own homes. Possibly they should be catered for by state housing schemes (although Home & Building pointed out in a recent editorial that the N.Z. state housing programme had largely failed to cater for this section).

However, the great majority of the community —the artisan in steady employment, the skilled tradesman, the business or professional man, is really under no greater disability in owning his home than in renting it. High building costs must affect renting as much as buying. The accepted proportion of income allowable for rent is 20%, or one day's pay per week. This means that the executive on £1,000 a year should obtain a suitable house for £4 a week. Can he do so? It means also that the man on £9 or £10 a week (the vast majority) should rent a house for 36/-to £2 a week. Can he? It will generally cost more today to rent, as it will to buy, but the old argument still holds that after twenty-five or thirty years one family owns the house, less depreciation and plus probably appreciation, the other owns only a rent book.

Apart from economics, there are other vitally important considerations. Individual ownership of home, farm or business has always been the strongest guarantee of a stable and enterprising community. From the days when her peasant proprietors were the strength of Rome, to those when British settlers defeated hordes of Hessian merceraries or when the "poor farm boys" chased Fascists and Nazis from the Nile to the Alps, this principle has held. The tyrannous and repressive forces which attack society always attack ownership of property. The ideal of "a stake in the country," of a "property-owning democracy," with all the personal and community responsibilities which it entails, is one of the surest safeguards of our civilisation. In a very real sense, today our frontier lies in every privately-owned home.

It's Home & Building's policy to promote individual ownership of homes and to help to ensure that the homes will be the best procurable in design and structure, expressive of their owners' personality and conducive to their individual fulfillment.

page 18