Cuckoo Funds: Why YOU May Be Making Housing Unaffordable

A fairly nondescript brown bird nesting in a tree without leaves
cuckoo photo by Nick Goodrum is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The common cuckoo: an excellent investment manager

There’s a new term on the block, folks: Cuckoo Funds. Let’s begin to describe it using a more mature and widely known “ugliness” — Vulture Capitalism. Vulture Capitalists are those folks who swoop in any pick up any investment bargain that looks to make them a profit through a relatively quick buy-and sell. That includes housing.

The buy-and-sell swoop on one or many houses puts money in the Vulture Capitalist’s pocket and, as an unwanted by-product, drives up the cost of housing. Not that those ugly birds that prey on the dead and near dying care. They’re long gone.

And so we have standard, somewhat ugly, terms for the practice of reaping “ill-gotten?” gains off the backs of the common shelter-seeker, particularly those with low or no incomes.

So let’s move on to a rather smaller, fairly nondescript bird, the cuckoo. That bird is now being used to describe another form of preying upon basic shelter-seekers. The cuckoo is infamous for laying its eggs (think capital investment) in other bird’s nests. Newly hatched cuckoo chicks hoof the rightful chicks over the edge, get fed instead by their foster parents, and mature as a fine investment for their absentee parents.

Well, now that we’ve identified this enemy of housing prices, as described by the term “cuckoo funds,” just who are these nondescript and wicked little beasts? They may very well include YOU, should you be lucky enough to have a gold-plated pension, securing your old age at the expense of those who cannot afford housing.

Here’s a story from Ireland that puts the clash between cuckoo funds and affordable housing seekers in perspective. The article also takes a quick dive into the merits and failings of public housing, where rent was based on resident income and which was a mainstay in Ireland’s housing supply in the latter part of the 20th century. Read more in IrishCentral: Cuckoo funds and Irish property shambles are driving people nuts

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