We can find a house for The Block 2017, but not for anyone else

Angus Kidman 19 December 2016

GatwickHotel

Real estate reality TV is looking less realistic than ever.

Weekend news item #1: So it's increasingly looking like the rumours were true, and that the 2017 season of The Block will take place at the Gatwick Private Hotel at 34 Fitzroy St, St Kilda. Following the initial reports of that location from the experts at TV Tonight, over the weekend newspaper reports indicated that Nine is in "serious negotiations" to purchase the site.

The sticking point remains the $11 million price tag, which, as we pointed out when the rumours first surfaced, would make it almost impossible to turn a notional profit on the site. But with The Block being one of Nine's most important show for ratings - indeed, probably the most important apart from nightly news - it's possible that no price is really too high.

Weekend news item #2: A Senate inquiry into housing affordability ended after 20 months, and made no recommendations whatsoever on changes that could improve affordability. Housing affordability is regularly acknowledged as a major challenge for first home buyers, but getting any kind of political agreement on how to deal with it seems impossible.

The lesson we learn when we mix these two stories? Reality TV is, clearly, a long way from reality. There's nothing very entertaining about debating the pros and cons of negative gearing, and if you want to create shiny looking houses to show on TV, you're going to spend a lot of money. But still, $11 million to buy five houses to renovate is a dream that's going to be really hard for anyone other than a network to achieve.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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