Friday, June 08, 2007

Housing Shortage

This morning's "Thought for the Day" on BBC Radio 4 was made by the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks.

He made reference to the fact that some people will need to borrow up to 10 times their salary in order to purchase their first property. The problem - a desperate shortage of affordable housing stock.

The Centenary of Hampstead Garden Suburb was mentioned. In 1907, when Dame Henrietta Barnett, the founder, would have been proud of her growing development of properties which were designed for ordinary people. Nowadays, some of the cottages are on the market for £500,000.

What should be done to help those trying to get on the property ladder?


Crushed said...

I don't see what can be done, Jeremy.
Not the market the way it is.

Even if I could afford to buy, I wouldn't. The crash has to come some time.
I think many people are living in this Limbo.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

We certainly are but I don't see how a crash can come about given the current circumstances.

You'll no doubt enlighten me.

Shades said...

Why are houses so expensive? Well the rebuilding costs for my £150k house are about £50k because the land is worth so much. The reason it is worth so much is because there isn't enough of it, or so we are told. The reality, of course, for anyone who has flown a UK domestic flight, is that there ain't no shortage of land at all, just a shortage of planning permission.

From a Libertarian perspective, repealing all of the planning laws since World War Two would be a good start. The successful cities all pre-dated that and were built with a combination of private enterprise and charity. Practically all new towns have been an unmitigated disaster (think Coventry, Welwyn Garden City, Harlow, mixed reactions for Milton Keynes). Why? because people don't want to live in places that Town planners design because they can't second guess market forces.

The slum clearance programs of the 60s were also a big flop- people tire of Socialist Utopias because they are soulless.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Slightly off topic. I've just got back from a well known North London suburb. Within the space of a couple of hundred yards, there's one new complex with flats and shops. Almost adjacent there's another block of flats that look nothing like the other one. Then there's various period buildings. What a total mess!

Typical of the minimalist views of our town planners/architects. Don't they understand the "big picture".

BTW, that suburb - Edgware.

Crushed said...

I have no idea, as yet Jeremy, but there are a number of possible scenerio's.

The price is kept high by the unavailability of fresh stock, due to the lack of available land.

It only takes a little more pressure and what's left of manufacturing will be destroyed.

Hence lot's more brownfield sites available.

That's only one possible scenario, but something's got to give.

Shades said...

Jeremy, why do you want them to all look the same? Sounds like suburban Paris to me.

They should look like what the owner wants it to look like.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

I thought you might say that!

Our culture of "every Englishman's home is his castle" is good but it does lead to a hotch-potch of property styles. Hence many of our towns look a bit unelegant.

I quite like northern towns like Harrogate, Halifax and Accrington. The uniform slate grey stone gives character. Many buildings in Scotland are similar.

Anonymous said...

Establish a secondary sustainable local housing market.