Rental costs hit a record: Unsustainable exploitation

It is not necessary to study Hayek, Keynes, or even Piketty to understand that those who control the supply of goods control the price those goods can realise. 

Because it is so rare, californium, an element used to spark nuclear reactors, can cost up to €25m a gram. 

Even though plans for more than 8,400 south Dublin homes were approved yesterday, it is hard not to think that those frustrated, exploited souls trying to rent a home in the capital might have a better chance of buying a gram or two of californium at a farmers’ market than they have of finding affordable accommodation in a starved — deliberately, maybe? — market.

The appropriately named Daft.ie reported yesterday that the number of properties available to rent is at a record low, while rents hit a record high. 

These facts are, surprise, surprise, not unconnected. 

Equally, expecting those involved in what we call the property market to rearrange affairs so the supply-and-cost axis might be realigned, that the hamster wheel of cost-and-supply might be remade is, well, daft.

These truths prevail in capitalist societies, a reality once softened by the quaint old custom of direct government involvement in the provision of social housing or an arm’s length involvement in the private sector, using financial tools. 

Yesterday’s report is another indication that we are at a crossroads on this critical issue. 

Today’s arrangements are unsustainable; they must change or be changed.

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