Feelin’ blue about blogging

By Legal Eagle

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.


  1. Posted July 20, 2007 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Poor LE. I can sympathise, having to find somewhere new and go through the hassle of moving can’t be much fun – and your current house is so nice!

  2. Posted July 20, 2007 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Hope you find the right place. I have had noisy neighbours here at times, but mostly it is OK. That’s 15 years of high density Surry Hills living too…

  3. blacktygrrrr
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Given that your blogging from Australia, your blog already is better than that of 50% of the ones in America (at least the leftist ones), and anything from Iran or Syria. I know it does not help, but if you can mail it in, so can I. 🙂

    I am contacting POLITICAL bloggers around the country since I am one as well. I hope this email is not an intrusion.

    Anyway, I would like it very much if you would go to http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/21020
    and vote for me for best political blog and best overall blog as well, IF AND ONLY IF you feel my blog is of a high quality. I really think I have a legitimate shot at winning. If you are open to spreading the word, that would be cool as well.

    Thank you.

    eric aka http://www.blacktygrrrr.wordpress.com

    P.S. If you are open to doing a link exchange, I get some pretty decent traffic.

  4. Posted July 20, 2007 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Moving. It’s a shocker. I’m in the process of changing countries, and while I’ve still got my house here in Australia, I’m having to leave nearly everything behind. Apart from obvious things (partner, dog), there’s all my books as well. I’m travelling ‘light’, which keeps costs down but isn’t exactly fun to go through. So I can sympathize, although wish the two of you could buy yourselves a house somewhere. Mind you, it took me until I was 34 before I got into my own place (or, to be more correct, went halves with the bank).

  5. Posted July 20, 2007 at 6:46 pm | Permalink


    Apparently the Cubans had/have a system where you put your name down for a unit, and when you get near the top of a queue, each weekend you get on a bus, go to a building site and build your own block of flats with everyone else who’ll be living in the same block as you. State provides things like materials, tools, foremen, etc. You provide the unskilled labor bit. I don’t know if they provide dencorub for the muscle soreness afterwards.

    And when you move in, you already know your neighbors, you know the place was built by somebody who wanted it built right – but when renovating you can’t blame the builders.

    I don’t know whether they provide a creche when you are up to your armpits in wheelbarrows and bricks.

    (Here however, the unions, although nominally socialist, would probably hate the idea)

  6. pmott
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Part of the answer is ending tenure discrimination and improving tenancy rights. Security of tenure is a huge issue for tenants, alongside affordability. Making it harder to evict tenants & regulating the frequency and amount of rent increases should provide tenants and investors with greater certainty.

  7. Posted July 20, 2007 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you guys. I feel better about it all than I did this morning. I think I go in swings and roundabouts.

    Dunno that I’d trust a house built by me. There’s a reason why I’m a lawyer…!

  8. Posted July 20, 2007 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Well, if you dare consider moving to Perth, my parents will have three houses up for sale in six months.

  9. Posted July 20, 2007 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Alas, too far for me, LDU – I want to be close to my family. Although Perthites tell me the weather is nicer there than in Melbourne.

    If you can believe it, I’ve never been to Perth – my record with Australian travel is really quite hopeless, I must get around to visiting more places than Sydney one day.

  10. Posted July 21, 2007 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    If it makes you feel any better, i’ve never been out of WA. Really makes you feel left out when you know so many people who’ve been to real cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

  11. marcellous
    Posted July 21, 2007 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Home ownership – what a depressing non-prospect.
    I know how you feel because, owing to my many bouts of study and presently highly uncertain income prospects, I, too, still rent. And conditions are definitely tightening just now: I just got the second rental increase notice this year (6 months after the last). I will pay it, because moving would be much, much worse. I doubt if I would find anything cheaper or better to rent. I certainly couldn’t afford to buy anything of comparable size and distance from the city. Anything I could afford to buy would cost me at least twice as much on an ongoing basis, and deprive me of the buffer against variations in my income which my potential deposit presently serves as.
    And then there is my own extreme risk-aversion born of too many trips up to the possession list…

  12. Posted July 21, 2007 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Marcellous….SNAP! Bouts of study, bouts of trying out different jobs, and too much time in banking litigation repossessing houses… Yes, we also have a small amount of savings/deposit, but again, it buffers me against income insecurity…

    Oh well, I’ve found out I’m not alone! 🙂

  13. Posted July 22, 2007 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    *Waving g’day from another part of the blogosphere*

    Today we roamed around with my nicely collected list of rentals from the internet, and we only managed to look at one place (uggggghhhhhh real estate agents, I need a shower) and the rest were either not available to view (despite being ‘available’ on the net) or already let etc.

    The only good thing about it, is you get to play ‘house’ and imagine how you will look in a new place.

    Whereabouts are you looking? We’re in the south-eastern ‘burbs.

  14. pete m
    Posted July 23, 2007 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Kevin likes to identify the issue – it reads like a grocery list of polling people for their concerns.

    Still waiting for a policy on most of these things. It seems he just has to announce his concern for it and everyone thanks he is wonderful. When he runs the joint, we’ll see how much his words translate on the ground. He has bad timing though – we are about to come out of a sustained period of growth and things will start going pear shaped. The usual 7 year cycle made it to 14, but these things do turn and we’ll all be bit!

    As a landlord twice selling myself, and my wife selling as well, it was an extremely hard move. We’d much rather have kept the properties, but starting our own family and my wife not working required us to sacrifice our investments for raising our child ourselves, and not in child care. Even then we’d have had to sell some property. It sucked turfing out a great tenant and letting go of what we thought was part of a retirement nest egg. Now to build another one!

    good luck on the move.

  15. Posted July 23, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Pete, I can’t help feeling cynical about Rudd’s statement that he’s going to fix the problem. A case of say nice things and maybe people will vote for you…

    Our landlord needs to move back into our place for practical reasons – I don’t bear her any grudge at all – her reasons are understandable, and she’s been decent and given us fair warning of her intentions. I just wish I didn’t feel so up in the air and uncertain.

    We also used up our “nest egg” when we had our little girl. It’s an expensive business, having a child! But better for me to spend as much time as I can with her than to be financially well off and never see her at all…

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