Accepted paper:

Morality and marketplace in the Auckland housing market


Jane Horan (University of Auckland)

Paper short abstract:

The Auckland housing market is superheated, and the house auctions are the market place of a specific neoliberal version of morality articulated through value, values, and valuables.

Paper long abstract:

The Auckland housing market is superheated. The distillation of value as price that takes place in the intensity and drama of housing auctions, and the discursive affective space that this marketing is part of in terms of the creation of value that is happening in the Auckland housing market, speaks to an explicitly neoliberal version of morality as per 'late capitalism' that is evolving in New Zealand. The New Zealand housing market is considered to be one of the most expensive in the world. House sales in Auckland constitute more than three quarters of this market and the monetary value of houses in the region is escalating at almost three times the rate of the rest of the country. The commentary about the Auckland housing market, depending on to whom or which organisation you listen to, tells a story of the triumphant prosperity of the New Zealand economy at one extreme, or is a case in point of rampant and growing inequalities in New Zealand at the other. Standard economic analysis looks at the increase in value as a question of capital in supply-and-demand and either negates or ignores what Guyer calls "the socio-political dynamics that frame both the spectrum of monetary values and the transactional practices [in superheated housing markets - like Auckland]" (2015: 498). Such transactional practices and the spectra of that neoliberal morality are exemplified in the context of house auctions which are the focus of this paper and a particular version of 'morality and marketplace'.

panel Dwe03
Material moralities of homes and housing