Lately, I just haven’t felt inspired by blogging. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s the midwinter blues. Perhaps I’ve just been working too hard (full time thesis, preparing for next semester, doing consulting work, looking after baby, blogging…all too much?)
Or perhaps it’s finding out that we have to move again when our lease ends in November. I am sad. I love the place we are presently living in. It’s close to Mum and Dad, it’s spacious, it’s not too far from either of my or my husband’s workplaces.
I am really “over” renting. The way in which renting operates in Australia means that you don’t have any sense of permanency or security. Typically, leases are short (6 months to a year) and tenants don’t have any rights even to hang pictures on the wall. But I don’t see how we could afford to buy a place right now. I am still “on contract”, and uni will only confirm that it is renewing my contract at the end of the year. And what if we want to have another child?
I’ve heard a few politicians say things about housing affordability lately. Kevin Rudd, for one, said that the housing affordability crisis had to be alleviated. That’s welcome news. But I’m a bit worried about the practicalities, and as far as I can see, Rudd didn’t get into the nitty gritty detail. As Andrew Bartlett pointed out recently, it is a complex problem and not one that will be easily fixable. For example, my sister has recently bought a place – if prices suddenly fall, her place will be worth less than she paid for it. And what of people who have invested in property with a mind to retirement? As Bartlett also argues, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t at least try to do something! I commend him for addressing the issue, and having a look at some of the complexities rather than just producing nice shiny sound bites.
Then I heard the Victorian government banging on about its 2030 plan, which means promoting high density living in “urban centres”. I am afraid I won’t be buying an apartment any time soon. For one thing, a “family sized” apartment is likely to cost nearly as much as a house anyway, so if I’m going to be indebted for life, I’d rather get a house. And the main thing which turns me off apartment living is noise and privacy issues. I worry that people might complain about our little girl if she cries or shouts. On the other hand, I also worry that people might party all night, like those Colombian exchange students two units down from us at our last place – they had regular weeknight parties which went until at least 3am in the morning, and the common living areas were trashed afterwards. These places had solid brick walls (unlike many modern apartments) and the noise still carried. I don’t think new places are built solidly enough (those plasterboard walls are hopeless).
I don’t know what the answer is. And I don’t know what we’ll do. I’m sure it will all work out in the end. As Mum says, I tend to fall on my feet, one way or another.
Anyway, that’s just an explanation of why I don’t think my blogs have been as sharp as normal, and why I haven’t been commenting as often.