One theme running through the debate about how to address housing affordability, and the increasing and contrary concerns about an apartment market crunch, is the unwillingness of politicians to use their levers, while expecting the financial regulators to manipulate theirs so adeptly that any number of complex problems can be solved.

This doesn’t merely apply to the current situation of a government that professes to be concerned about housing affordability but which has relinquished the use of its legislative tools -- negative gearing and capital gains tax laws -- while encouraging regulators to use macro-prudential tools to crack down on property investor lending.