Editorial to the Letterer

That didn’t take long. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix, apparently acting as communications support to the city of Saskatoon, didn’t take too kindly to my letter against the city’s home loan program. In today’s editorial, the reason for opposition is not because of the poorly thought out plan to arbitrarily reward some private individuals with some low-cost credit on the backs of taxpayers, but rather because it wasn’t communicated properly. Wow.

Just, wow.

Here’s my hasted response to their response, sent this morning:

So the StarPhoenix, in the Feb. 12 editorial, doesn’t believe that the city’s new home loan program will not distort the market: “Saskatoon’s real estate market averages sales in the thousands each year. It stretches all credibility to suggest that adding 50 buyers will distort a market of that size.

“The impact is likely to be even less than it would have been a couple of years ago, considering that home-builders are suggesting the market for the top-end homes has levelled off in the Saskatoon area and there is greater demand for homes that cost between $220,000 and $280,000.”

One quick look at MLS will show that the number of homes currently available on the market in that asking price range is just over 100, which gives you an idea of how many homes will be available throughout the year to those in the city’s program. Does the SP still believe that 50 new home buyers — and 250 in five years — will not distort that market?

Perhaps the editorial board ought to spend less time parroting the city’s simple-minded approach to the complex problem of affordable accommodation, and instead spend more time reading some economics textbooks.

Rob Huck
Saskatoon, SK

They should start with this one.

Look, I understand the desire to own one’s own home. I get it. But just because it makes good financial sense for some people to own their homes doesn’t mean that everyone should. Trying to encourage universal home ownership is a classic example of “stage one” thinking. This is not about discrimination; this is about economic fundamentals. If we keep on distorting markets because of fucked up programs, we keep having to develop new markets to correct the old schemes. It’s a nasty cycle in which are elected leaders are willing participants.

(For a good primer on economic thinking, take a few minutes and be schooled by Thomas Sowell.)

The lack of critical analysis by this paper on the happenings in city hall just blows me away. No wonder they’re going broke.

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