Gavin - you turn head over heals to cling onto the social housing sector benefiting from subsidised rents but then ignore your own contributions categorically confirming that in the past year rent income exceeded subsidy grant - negative subsidy.
Jono - a more skilled side step refusal to accept or deny the fact that rental income exceeded social subsidy, but forgivable in that the points introduced, persistently, attempt to guide the discussion away from that you do not wish to be true to that which you believe.
Of course I support investment in housing. We differ in the area that I wish to see the State, on behalf of the taxpayer, to retain asset worth for the investment and not just a handout of taxpayer cash to increase profits that then benefit the minority. The State must achieve value for money, and part of the measure is that the worth is to the majority not the few. And before you get excited, yes I do extend that thinking to social benefits, which I would see totally abolished and replaced with a single universal payment, linked to lowest quartile wages and funded through flat rate taxation of income, both individual and commercial (but that is another sector debate).
Coming back to your point. As you state, the market will punish over supply. Thus your concept, as this government's, artificially limits supply and thus increases cost and decreases affordability. This is not in the majority interest and it is wasteful to use taxpayer money to perpetuate it. The better model would be one that removes artificial limits, decreases cost and increases affordability. We have seen this model before, it involves the investment in housing for social rent. Whether Councils, Housing Assoications of Eskimos build such housing is irrelevant, what is relevant is that the asset remains tied to the funding that built it, and that the rent levels remain affordable to the average and low paid. This financial freedom and security fo rthe lowest paid is a proven asset to private business, as well as a strength in society. That sounds a winning combination, even if it does not permit short term profit maximisation.