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Mignaccas add to our housing future fears

HOUSING WOES: Successive governments have driven up house prices through negative gearing, which Jenna Price says is just another unnecessary tax minimisation scheme.When you are the parent of three millennials, you spend a lot of time worrying about money.Your money. Their money. Where they will live. And I swear to god the Mignaccas, whose one year old daughter owns a unit,have just made that a lot worse.
Nanjing Night Net

My kids have all had jobs since they legally could, working in the local supermarket, stacking shelves, working the cash register. Now they don’t ask for handouts; and they don’t ask for hand-ups.

But I fear their housing future. What worries me is the way the jobs of my children – and the jobs of their friends – are put together.

I’ve only had three jobs in nearly 40 years in the workforce. They have already had that many each. I’ve always had sick pay, holiday pay and superannuation. They often have super but depending on the job at the time, not sick pay, not holiday pay. They often work on sessional contracts as do the majority of their friends.

Which is why I am very disappointed in myself now that I have read about the Mignacca family who are negatively gearing a unit for their daughter. Their one year old daughter. It never occurred to me to buy property on behalf of my kids.

For years, I assumed that the three of them would inherit the house they grew up in, sell it and have enough money to buy something small but perfectly formed, through their jobs and various personal alliances.

Since meeting the Mignacca family, I now think I should sell my house, give any profits to my kids and then rent from them as property owners.

Negative gearing is strange to me. The way I understand it is that the taxpayer funds some of my investment, part of the interest cost on my loan. I decide to buy a house or unit with a loan from a bank and I can then structure my investment so that the interest on the loan exceeds the rent on the property and that reduces the tax I pay.

Matt Grudnoff is working in his garden on Anzac Day. But I drag him away to ask him to explain the impact that negative gearing has on millennials.

“There are real world consequences if you overinvest in the housing market,” says Grudnoff, senior economist with the Australia Institute.

“The government encourages everyone (through negative gearing)who has spare money to invest in the property market and that drives up the prices. People on lower incomes will be excluded.If you exclude people from the housing market, that has huge economic and social implications.”

The labour market has been subjected to forces of casualisation and contractualisation, turned from a place where we all had fulltime jobs with the appropriate safety nets such as sick leave, to one where a greater proportion of full-timers are now casual and their jobs are less secure; and they may find themselves working for franchises and for labour hire firms, where work is never secure.

Security is where banks look first when they are lending money for homes. And job insecurity doesn’t wash.

At the same time as this shift in employment, we have allowed successive governments to drive up house prices through negative gearing, which is just another unnecessary tax minimisation scheme.

Low levels of wellbeing have a lot to do with housing stress, particularly for older Australians. Now we are consigning our children and their children to a life of worry.

– Jenna Price is a Fairfax Media columnistThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.