House prices and new homes

Yes, you are right. Controlling the numbers of people coming to the UK to live and work is an important part of restoring balance to our housing market. The Prime Minister has promised to do that.

Now I have got that out of the way, I want to talk about the supply of homes, and effective demand from people already legally settled here. The most recent house price figures show prices going up by 4.6% a year, down from the 11.8% annual rate recorded last June. They show people having much more difficulty in raising a mortgage than prior to the crash, thanks mainly to much tougher regulation today over eligibility and suitability for a loan. The most recent figures show mortgage approvals up by 10% (April compared to March) but still running at little more than half the levels reached just prior to the crash of 2007-8.

The government’s Stamp duty reforms have smoothed the market by removing the unhelpful steps in duty at the points on the scale where higher rates kicked in. The missing areas in the price ranges can now reappear without the slab tax. Homes under £925,000 now attract a bit less Stamp duty than before. Stamp Duty remains, however, a substantial cost which does add to the difficulty of buying your first home, and can deter people from moving to a better home. At present duty rates the buyer of the £250,000 property pays £2,500 in tax, of the £500,000 property £15,000 in tax, and the £750,000 one incurs a £27,500 charge. Lower and smoother Stamp duty is a modest assistance to home buyers.

More new homes are being built than during the crash. The construction of private sector new homes is now 75% above the low point reached in the third quarter of 2009, though still below past peak levels.It is likely the build rate will rise from here, with more land now available for construction and a reasonably healthy housebuilding industry enjoying the profits of recent growth. There are still substantial imbalances between different parts of the country. Success with the Northern Powerhouse could help reduce some of the pressures on London and the South east, and release more money for improvement and extension of the substantial Northern residential estate, just as the London stock has undergone transformation in recent years.

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107 Comments

  1. Mick
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Of topic I’ve just read this “Benefits for migrants: Euro court advice risks sinking Tory plan to cut handouts
    DAVID Cameron’s plan to block EU migrants from drawing benefits in Britain has suffered a blow at the hands of European lawyers.”
    Also I think the discussion is going to be abit one sided for a IN campaign when you think all party’s want to stay in the EU plus all MSM & TV wanting to stay in, the OUT campaign need a bigger voice or we are going to be con to stay in

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      But Cameron’s plan to block EU migrants from drawing benefits only addresses a secondary issue anyway, and he has no plan to address the primary issue that while we are in the EU (or even the EEA) our national Parliament cannot control the number of EU immigrants, even if it wished to do so. So the body which is supposed to be the representative of the British people has for the time being relinquished the power to control the number of foreigners coming from the EU to share our country according to our wishes. As far as I am concerned I am opposed to mass immigration into my country but as a democrat I would bear it with good grace and try to make the best of it if I believed that it was what the majority of my fellow citizens wanted; however it is perfectly clear that it is not what the great majority of my fellow citizens want, it is only a small minority who are imposing their wishes on the rest of us.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. Benefits for migrants is a tiny issue compared to the main one which is: are we a self governing democracy in a free & co-operating EU trade area or are we a undemocratic region under the command of the unelected, proven incompetent, socialist, EU bureaucrats?

        Cameron clearly seems to want the latter.

        I would cut benefits for all who are fit to work. They are unlikely to learn how to work and get a decent job while encouraged (by others taxes) to sit at home watching daytime TV after all.

    • Hope
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      It was reported Cameron set out his plans in detail to Merkel, that is good but how about us his boos a he claimed! When are we to be told of his lame plans once the ground has been set for staying in?

      JR, your dismissive first paragraph is the root of the problem. It is skewing the market and the building of social housing. Why should help to buy and social housing be at the taxpayers’ expense? Why should poor EU people be parachuted in and get priority for housing over UK citizens. You need to explain this to us as it is in your manifesto to give discounted social housing. You stood for it and voted for it. Please explain why EU people get priority over schools, GP surgeries and hospitals over UK citizens as a consequence of your party’s housing policy, both locally and nationally? Why should people apply for mortgages ,struggle to pay for them for 25-30 years to live next door to EU people who are given the same style house for nothing? Later on they can either buy it at a discounted rate or go on to live int he same care home while their neighbour has to sell the house to pay to live int he same care home as their neighbour! Your government policy!

      Reply I support a large reduction in inward migration and want a new relationship with the EU so we control our own borders

      • Hope
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        You cannot deliver what you want, it is up to the EU not the UK government! Cameron stated it was. To in the national interest to hold referendum and ordered a three line whip to prevent it. This was before the EU election results, here and across the continent, and a surge of support for UKIP, this was the real pressure to get Cameron to hold a rerndum, not Tory backbenchers who kow towed into submission to vote against a referendum.

        Have you read Tim Akers MEP article in the DT today? I think it would be fair for you to respond and explain why you are alleged to have said at the Bruge Group meeting that you trust Cameron. Very surprising against his rather appalling record on all matters EU and the infamous no ifs or buts nonsense about immigration- central to any housing discussion.

      • Timaction
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Mr Redwood, how many times do the legacy parties have to be told you cannot control immigration whilst we are in the EU that none of us voted for? The Tory’s under Major signed us up to free movement and the Labour Party added the Lisbon Treachery. If you lot want more EU then close Westminster and let us get on with our revolution as the information age is here. Despite your best efforts to hide it most people are waking up to the misery of the EU dictatorship. Westminster just rubber stamps EU law and directives whilst you lot pretend to be in charge. They even brazenly put down your leader within days of meeting him as they truly know they can run rings around someone who pretends renegotiating whilst hiding his fig leaf intentions, something UKIP predicted all along. There is no meaningful renegotiation on the table for the return of our sovereign democracy so come clean and tell the people so they can make a choice.
        Similar to the immigration figures only last year for Bulgaria and Romania. Who was right? Farage or the Legacies?
        Do you agree with remarks attributed to you in Tim Akers article in the Telegraph today or is he wrong?

        Reply I spend most of my time revealing what is wrong with the EU, so why don’t you work with me as we run up to a crucial referendum? No I do mnot agree with Mr Akers, but I did not respond to his criticisms or criticise him when I shared a platform with him at the Bruges Group recently, as I wish to win this renegotiation/referendum and that requires attacking the pro EU side, not each other.

        Mr Aker came third in Thurrock in the GE – fortunately Conservatives managed to beat Labour so we do have the Thurrock MP vote for the referendum which we would have lost if Labour had picked up the seat. You may care to look at the following election results of Conservative Eurosceptics compared to UKIP former Conservative Eurosceptics

        Bill Cash 2010 50.6% of vote 2015 54.7%
        Peter Bone 2010 48.3% 2015 52.1%
        Douglas Carswell 2010 (Cons) 53.1% 2015 (Ukip) 44.4%
        Mark Reckless 2010 (Cons) 49.2% 2015 (Ukip) 30.5% (not elected)

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 6, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          Heath, not Major. Right back to the 1957 Treaty of Rome.

          • Hope
            Posted June 6, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            JR, no predicted the result of the election, least of all you and your party. It was the fear of SNP and nationalism that won the day, your stats are immaterial. The European elections last year and across the continent won the Eau referendum in the UK. Left to Cameron he would not have done anything. Look at his inaction over the fiscal pact for nothing in return, look at his inaction as a participant of the IMF to save the Euro and the EU project over causing a catastrophic consequences in Greece and the knock on effect to our country by mass immigration. The list is endless for his support of everything EU.

        • Timaction
          Posted June 6, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Mr Redwood my local Branch of UKIP will work with anyone to remove us from the EU dictatorship. Our local MP, Mr Rees Mogg, claims Europhile status so we shall see. The problem we have is knowing who are genuine Europhiles in the Tory party and who are not. If you were serious about getting out of the EU you and other genuine Europhiles would try and remove your leader who is the greatest threat to our sovereign democracy ever!
          If I went to buy a car in a local showroom do you think it would be wise to tell the salesman that regardless of our discussions, to gain most benefits for me, I will be buying the car anyway? That is your leaders approach to EU renegotiations which is why he cannot be taken seriously and is totally disingenuous. He has no intention of a fair campaign and referendum and everything about him is simple spin and misinformation.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted June 6, 2015 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          We are now talking about EU referendum not general election. Votes in latter cover wide range of issues. You always try and belittle the only party which is committed to leaving EU instead of criticising those who want to keep us in EU regardless, which seems to include over 270 of your MPs.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        I too support a large reduction in inward migration (while selecting the best as needed) and want a new relationship with the EU so we control our own borders.

        Cameron and half the Tory party seem not to want this at all though. All the talk is of trivia and benefit changes.

      • Hope
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        No, this does answer the point. UK citizens should get priority for housing above EU immigrants. Why should taxpayers brunt the cost of housing EU citizens and providing public services before their own citizens? Cameron has been told there is no prospect of changing the right of freedom of movement. There is no proper way of counting people in or out the country, the numbers are estimated. This also raises the issue of security of our country and citizens.

        How is the country going to generate enough electricity for the ever increasing demand for new housing?

        As pointed out today, it does make sense for our armed service cuts when the UK overseas aid is going to countries where their defence spending is being increased (Howarth?).

      • Dennis
        Posted June 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Your reply to Hope:-
        Reply I support a large reduction in inward migration and want a new relationship with the EU so we control our own borders

        Do you seriously call that a reply or a response to Hope’s post?

    • Bob
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      @Mick

      “…all MSM & TV wanting to stay in…”

      Of course, there are numerous examples of the way the media is controlled by vested interests, including the situation that resulted in the resignation of Peter Oborne from the Telegraph and the taxpayer funded largesse on the part of the govt in the run up to the last election when there was a glut of public service “adverts” placed with commercial radio channels, presumably in exchange for the unfavourable coverage metered out to ukip because of their anti-establishment stance.

      If public service broadcasts can be placed through commercial channels, then what is the point of the BBC?

      The referendum will be a stitch-up, just like the one in 1975, make no mistake.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Bob,
        “The referendum will be a stitch-up, just like the one in 1975, make no mistake.”
        Couldn’t agree more.

    • Peter Stroud
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      You might be correct, but remember the Scots referendum, almost all MSM outlets, and the combined effort of politicians from all but one party campaigned for Scotland to stay in the UK. But the final result was a pretty close run thing, and could have easily gone the other way. It was probably the disgraceful granting of new powers that did it.

  2. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    I reject the notion, promoted by most in the media debate, that the only response to a shortage of houses is to build more houses. Essential factors being ignored are the impact on infrastructure and services of en ever increasing population. A valid response to a housing shortage is to reduce demand.

    I reject “The Norther Power House” concept. As a Government initiative it is a bribe to the few and ignores the many. The Government is supposed to be governing for the whole country. If they have a good idea that will rebalance home-counties dominance and prosperity, then it should be available to the whole of the rest of the country at the same time. What is already a mish-mash of local authority responsibility and authority is being made worse.

    London, by its very nature of being the Capital, is at an inherent advantage to everywhere else. Government has to work to counteract this advantage, lest everywhere else is always second best. Scottish nationalism didn’t just happen, it was provoked. And the mood is not limited to Scotland.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Older people are not competing with the young for houses in order to rent them out. They have been incentivised to do so because:

      A – they are able to take their poor performing pension money in order to invest

      B – they are confident that the population will continue to increase at a fast rate and the government will do nothing about it *

      C – that the Government will do everything to prevent house prices adjusting to levels commensurate with real earnings

      * It isn’t simply a matter of telling us that we are right that immigration is contributing to house price inflation (out of kilter with wage rises) and then saying that the topic has been dealt with. It hasn’t.

      The prospect of an immediate and rapidly rising population is a key motivation of older cash buyers deciding to buy second and third homes and driving the prices out of the reach of young British workers.

      This time next year none of us will be surprised if we are presented with record levels of immigration again.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        Now

        Not ‘not’

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      I agree about the so-called “Northern Powerhouse” – who came up with that name, some PR merchant? – but I don’t understand the logic of what seems to be your idea that enhanced incentives to development should be made available in areas of the country which are already ahead in development rather than just in the lagging areas. However maybe I have misunderstood your meaning.

      • Hope
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        It is noted that Cameron has got rid of the Constitution and Parliamentary Reform select committee. Presumably to avoid awkward questions about what he is doing this parliament. Especially if one considers EU referendum, dissolution of England, more powersand money to Scotland, more pay for MPs and still no substantive action to clean up Westminster despite scandals six weeks into the last parliament and to two weeks before the end, another broken promise made 6 years ago! Bearing in mind the Tory manifesto it should be one of the most important select committees to hold the government to account.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted June 6, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Dennis, if we assume that behind the name tag “Northern Powerhouse” there is a good idea, then why should that idea only be available to one particular “lagging” part of the country?

        If a key feature of the good idea is devolved power then why should any part of the country that can make a sound case not be allowed to benefit. It is likely the details of how the devolved power will be used will vary from area to area, but that is no bad thing as those making the case in the area can tune what they do with the devolved power to their needs.

        Alternatively, when are those not in the Northern Powerhouse going to get their fair shares? Do they have to wait for the government to get round to making their case for them. Is it going to be like the roads programme: your by-pass gets on the list, but implementation is always a way away.

        But the elephant in the room is the long-standing problem for central government in that in general elections voters are very poor at differentiating between what is the responsibility of central government and that of local authorities. This is hardly surprising as it always has been, and still is, very difficult to know which authority does what, and seems to me it is getting worse, much worse.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 7, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          But you don’t help laggards to catch up by speeding everybody up, do you? If the country is divided because some parts have raced ahead of others then you have to give preferential treatment just to speed up those which are trailing.

    • Hope
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      It is an immigration crisis not housing crisis. JR’s first paragraph highlights Cameron’s promise to reduce it, Cameron did that five years ago and the immigration is running at 318,000, a population the size of Nottingham! These are estimated figures not accurate by counting people in and out. Even Clegg had the notion to do this. The last paragraph appears to be setting the devolution mantra in people’s minds of a Northern power house, next we will be conditioned that HS2 is a good thing, yet the minister would disclose the report of its benefits/ detriments.

      Announcement of early spending cuts, the amount could be reduced by many times if it was overseas aid to be cut. Perhaps the benefits of spending and cuts could include how it would alter or improve the UK standing in the world? If Cameron did not pay the extra £1.7 billion last year to the EU, for nothing in return, presumably military and criminal justice cuts could have been avoided?

      There was a report yesterday that Cameron had a meeting with BBC executives in 2008, anyone know what the meeting was about?

    • Iain Moore
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      “A valid response to a housing shortage is to reduce demand.”

      Not just valid , but the most immediate effect on the housing shortage. Calling a halt to immigration driven population expansion is a faster way to confront our housing shortage than it is to build our way out of it.

      And I too reject Osborne’s Northern Power house , if Labour created a dogs breakfast of the British state’s constitution, then Osborne is making a canine mess of English local Government. After Osborne has finished playing around with it you will have to be a Clerk of the House of Commons to understand who is wielding what power and where. And where you can’t figure out where accountability lies, then you don’t have democracy , which is the same problem we will have with Cameron’s Heath Robinson response to the West Lothian Question.

    • Gary
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      there is no house shortage, there is a credit bubble. Look at a chart of long term yields over 30 years.

      I am tired of this nonsense. Has nobody read history? Japanese property, on an island the size of Britain but with twice the population, had a credit bubble so large that when it burst property lost up to 90% of its value. Same in Hong Kong, where you would think supply is worse. Supply is always blamed in a credit bubble, no surprise there, but they will never tell you the other side of the equation. The govt is recklessly chucking our money at property, rates are manipulated lower by central banks. There is no market operating here, there is only central planning.

      Don’t listen to the banker barkers and their lackeys, read history. This is going to end in abject misery.

    • yosarion
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      The Northern Power House is just a ruse to build HS2, so the Regions MEPs north of London can Jump on a train and be in Brussels within three hours using the Westminster avoiding line.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    The Prime Minister has promised to control number – well yes but was it a “no if no buts” or a “cast iron” promise? Or was it one like his ECHR or £1m IHT promises or perhaps his reducing the deficit mainly by cutting government spending or his claiming to be a low tax conservative at heart?

    I see that Nigel Lawson had it right on Newsnight. Cameron renegotiation concessions will be totally insignificant, but he will return dishonestly presenting them as a huge triumph before the referendum.

    Stamp duty (an absurdly damaging turnover tax) at up to 12% is an outrage and hugely damaging. It makes renting more attractive than buying for short periods of less than perhaps up to 10 years.

    In the year of a move may people can end up paying well of 100% of their income for the year in tax.

    Relax planning build more houses or introduce more selective immigration that is the choice. Relax the OTT greencrap building regulations and over the top tree protection religion too.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Interesting to hear a representative of the power industry this morning saying they do not want subsidies for wind but need them to kick start the industry. He is confusing roll out of duff technology with sensible R&D.

      You get it working with R&D economically then roll it out. Rolling out things that are uneconomic with tax payer grants is economically moronic for the country.

      He also said he expects the cost to reduce cost and thus no need the grants. Why? Is he expecting the laws of physics to change soon?

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic, interesting comments and I see you dismiss the comments by the energy companies as rubbish the same as I do.

        What are they on about when they say they need the funding to kick start the industry?? The wind industry has been around for years now. It is hardly a new innovation. I would rather think they fear their vast profits might fall as they reap in millions in the way of subsidies for basically doing naff all! The situation in Scotland is dire with all reliable forms of energy shutting down because of the inability to make a decent profit now due to the fact that wind takes first place on the grid. Trouble is, wind is not reliable enough to power a modern nation and so the whole of the UK is being put at risk. Scotland is moaning yet again about decisions made in Westminster. They cannot see the predicament they are creating for themselves and the rest of the UK. On the housing front – I wish house prices would show some signs of rising in S W Scotland. Everything in our area is either not selling at all or being reduced by vast amounts. Might have something to do with the SNP being in government here and the fact that vast areas are being swamped with wind farms!! A double whammy!!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 5, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          Indeed it is supply and demand how many people (with money and jobs) and how many houses to go round.

      • stred
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Can we have another off topic please. I watched the HoC committee questioning the bankers chosen by Dr Cable to sell off the Post Office at a price way below the opening market value. The terribly competent banker answered that to sell to the large number of ordinary citizens who had applied for shares, and had not got them, would have produced the sort of portfolio that they thought unsuitable- or something similar. So they sold to city investors at a discount in big lumps. Suitability all round. Could you explain why this is advantageous to the taxpayer? It was reported today that Mr Osborne is planning to sell to institutional investors at a discount again.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      I see Cameron described the MPs 11% pay rise at ‘Simply unacceptable’ – well he is in control we shall see if he accepts it suspect he will?

      Needless to say the 11% will give them a huge boost to their gold plated pension pot too. Other people’s pensions are now limited to pots of £1M (reduced by Osborne again) but state sector types ones have more generous rules – needless to say.

      Perhaps 25% of them at best are worth it.

      Reply Pension entitlements and other expenses have been reduced so the total cost stays the same

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        Still we are all in it together as they say.

        • Hope
          Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          LL, you need to remember this is a part- time job only! Where are other public service part- time jobs that could attract such high numeration, exempting the BBC of course. iPSA need to explain why a part-time job attracts such pay and conditions that others who work very long hours could only dream about.

          If this is the standard then it should be across the board for all public servants. Perhaps this is the only way to focus the greedy MPs minds.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      I see that Cameron’s insane choice of Energy & Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne has been resurrected to talk complete drivel about the Libdems on This Week yesterday.

      Clearly the satirically named LibDems are truly desperate.

      Cameron foolishly followed him with Ed Davey and now Amber Rudd (he and they are clearly not a very quick learners). They all seem to know nothing of science, engineering or economics or even politics.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Turned on, saw Huhne, turned off.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Odd that the BBC would think that someone with a conviction for perjury is suitable to comment on anything at all. His former wife still gets invited on too. In any other business they’d be rightly ignored.

      • turbo terrier
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        LL

        My goodness you catch on quick.

        Very well said. Will CMD listen?

        Apart from our host and a few supporters we are being well and truely shafted.

    • Bob
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic

      “Cameron renegotiation concessions will be totally insignificant…”

      After talks with Mr Cameron at Chequers last week Mr Juncker said: ‘Brexit is a question that does not arise, it is not what the British are seeking. Cameron wants to dock his country permanently to Europe.’

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Junker is surely telling the truth here. Perhaps sink would be better than dock.

    • Vanessa
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic – well said in your first post. Regarding housing, I see hundreds of old houses – supposedly unfit for habitation being demolished. Surely, these would be better brought UP to standard rather than demolishing, then a family could move in as one house is finished and then another as each house is improved. To demolish them is a lazy way of using the earth’s resources etc. when these old streets and communities used to be happy, friendly places. I am sure it must be cheaper to upgrade these houses rather than raze them to the ground and start all over again.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Indeed just sell them off and let the new buyers fix them up, and relax building controls which are absurdly over the top.

      • Mick Anderson
        Posted June 6, 2015 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        Yes, it’s cheaper to upgrade them. You are assuming that the basic layout of the property can be adapted to modern requirements. For example, a house with a large garden can be much more profitable if knocked down and several houses built instead.

        Also, if you knock it down and rebuild you can claim back all the VAT. Refurbish, and VAT has to be paid (on materials and labour). Once VAT has been applied to something, EU rules won’t allow it to be rescinded.

        For any refurbishment, you have to deal with unexpected problems that turn up in that sort of job. Knocking a building down means that you start with a clean sheet.

    • acorn
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      According to the OBR, Mr Osborne is planning to increase his cash tax receipts by about 4.4% a year over this parliament. Strangely, he is planning to increase his take of CGT by 16% a year; IHT by 12% a year and Stamp Duty Land Tax by 12% a year.

      As these three taxes are strongly connected to property transactions, I am wondering what Osbo’ is expecting to happen to land prices; construction material costs and availability; and, particularly, skilled labour costs and availability. Particularly as Osbo’s 2010/13 austerity plan decimated nearly half of the UKs registered housebuilders.

      Savills World Research says “by measuring the 3-year average of [planning authority] consented residential units against the 3-year average of housing starts for each local authority, we can assess whether there is enough land coming forward for residential development, and highlight pressure points where there are insufficient sites to maintain the current state of building.

      These pressure points include: Babergh, South Bucks and Worthing, where the 3-year average of new homes starts is almost five times higher than the 3-year average of units consented. In Merton, the rate of new build starts outstrips consents by 4:1, and in Elmbridge and Watford by 3:1.”

      Reply All the forecasts including house and share prices are published in the Red Book on p 109 in 2015 one. House prices rise 4-6% per annum for the next 5 years in this forecast

  4. Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Clearly the biggest long-term challenge for the UK. And one to which no party has a valid response for fear of offending the green lobby on the one hand and the “we’re swamped with immigrants” brigade on the other.

    There are only three solutions to this crisis: build, build, build.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Patryk

      “Build, Build, Build”

      The simplest method of control is to get out of the EU, then at least we are in charge of the number of people who can come here.
      Then perhaps we can plan new build, new infrastructure, and the like, with some rather better known and realistic figures, at the moment we do not have a clue what our population may be in 10 years time.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Build or have sensible selective immigration.

      • Hope
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Building does not provide the infrastructure! When is everyone going to recognise that infrastructure costs need to match the number of houses built. Local authorities for a long time have calculated formulas for the number of schools and public services required etc. My local authority recognise it cannot provide the infrastructure but keep building!

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      An archaic planning system and ill conceived standards and regulation make it more expensive to develop land than it should be .

      Still , measures need to be taken to encourage use , and better use of land .

      With interest rates and returns on investment being so low there is virtually no cost attached to sitting on building land indefinitely .

      This is a monopoly situation and needs to be smashed – it stops others developing it and others from having a roof over their head .

      Similarly there are no penalties for leaving a house vacant .

      If house prices are rising faster than inflation and interest payments , why build now when it will be more lucrative to build later ?

      A cost needs to be attached to inconveniencing society by taking land out of use or using it inefficiently .

      Drastically reduce taxes on employment and replace them with taxes on land .

      Move tax from buildings and other improvements to the land itself .

      Far better to have an annual charge for “exclusive use of the commons” paid by every land owner (not a mansion tax paid for only by others) than dumb transaction taxes like stamp duty and CGT which make an illiquid asset class even more illiquid .

      • turbo terrier
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        measures need to be taken to encourage use , and better use of land .

        Well said but will that stop land being used to grow wind turbines, solar panels, bio mass, golf ballsor forestry?

        Not a hope in hell. There is too much money in it for all the land owners. Will our George apply taxes to stop all this?

        Comon have a bit of faith!!!!!!!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Well clearly it would not be just or humane, let alone feasible, to simply deport all of the 2.8 million legal immigrants who arrived here under the auspices of the last government, presided over by a Prime Minister who had said that if he failed to meet his net immigration target we should kick him out, even though doing so would release a lot of the 1 million homes which allegedly England will need to house “its” people. Let alone the much greater numbers admitted in previous years, firstly under the Major government and then even more so, and quite deliberately, under the Blair and Brown governments.

      I recall a Daily Telegraph editorial some years back which made a telling reference to an old landowners’ adage that by far the most profitable crop was rows of houses, and no doubt some such people will be among the small minority of the population, about 6%, who want completely unrestricted immigration so that they can “build, build, build” and massively profit thereby.

      • stred
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        A Mr Peter Sutherland, an Irish politician was on RT recently explaining how the migrants arriving in thousands across the Med should be dealt with. He explained that migration is a good thing for the EU, owing to demographic changes. Looking him up, he has been chairman of GATT, Goldman Sachs, BP and the European Administration Institute. Thank goodness we have such wise men to tell us what we should think.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Patryk

      The problem we have, is that we need to keep importing young working age immigrants here to fund the Giant Ponzi scheme of our pensions, benefits and tax system.

      That manifests a further crisis itself in future years, because then they are all old enough to claim themselves and need others to pay for them.

      Until a Government gets a real grip and curtails its ever increasing spending and welfare plans, we will need more and more people to pay for it until we really are either full up, or it becomes such a desperate place to live, that no one wants to come here any more.

      Problem is, no one in power sees this as a problem.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Just as we can never build enough road space to meet demand, so to can we never out build the housing demands of mass immigration.

      • bigneil
        Posted June 5, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        The more free houses we keep building to house illegal immigrants, the more will come. If they pay a trafficker £5k to get here, then the economics from their side is fantastic. A free house (no repair costs), free money in uncontributed-to benefits, free healthcare and free schooling. The population growing at an uncontrolled rate with the tax take coming from an ever smaller %age of that same population. Unsustainable madness – -so why is CMD allowing it to carry on?

  5. David Cockburn
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    If only new build housing was not so ugly, minimalist and intrusive there would be less resistance from the NIMBY brigade.
    One of the more interesting policies in the Queen’s speech was a promise to support self-build. In France 25% of new houses are self build and this has supported much more agreeable new estates than in England.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Let us hope that the rather more sensible mortgage lending policy remains, and puts a brake on house price inflation.

    The demand will continue as the population outgrows the number of houses built.

    The argument should be:

    What is the best solution for increased housing.
    Expand existing towns outwards or upwards with ever larger estates.
    Build new towns, villages with new infrastructure.

  7. Pete
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately the Prime Ministers promises to control immigration are meaningless. The current EU rules prevent him doing so. The EU will not change the rules. So unless he changes his position of being in favour of continued membership he is promising something that can’t happen.

  8. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    And what does an increased supply of houses do on this finite sceptred isle apart from encouraging young persons to engage in a usually ill-timed and precarious business relationship, indebtedness, beyond their wildest dreams with the same or opposite gender?
    It ties them to a specific location and thwarts any idea of the mobility of labour, here. It renders them almost totally vulnerable to an employer (s) who,if he were subject to the laws of the free marketing of labour would probably be bankrupted on his own ineptitude as a manager and entrepreneur. Bad for the general economy that lame ducks such as he are allowed to transgress the law of the survival of the fittest.
    Does the increased supply of houses actually satisfy demand or increase it? It is like asking which sensible person would desire a second kitchen. We human beings have an insatiable appetite for more. Obesity, alcoholism, with consequent diabetes result.
    Feeding the inexperienced and those blinded by love who now have a stomach for life-long debt serves the lender very well but does not serve the victims right.

    We have a land with a square area set in stone. Avoidance of long-term housing and tuition fee debt will allow the young and aspirational perhaps to head for Canada, Australia and America where the Yes, yes yes of increasing numbers, of demand, as opposed to supply can be written somewhat more easily out of a balanced equation.

  9. Ian wragg
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Paragraph one, just when does this start? 2020, 2030 please tell us. 600,000 entered at the last count
    Presumably all healthy educated individuals with their own resources to live on and buy or rent property.
    Reductions in defence spending again whilst wasting billions on aid
    I bet there are many regretting voting for you now.
    It was interesting to read Merkels musings. Some people will be slower than others within the EU but the final destination remains the same.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    JR: “The Prime Minister has promised to do that.”
    Just as he did five years ago and failed abysmally! Not just failed, actually presided over a deteriorating situation. You cannot possibly believe that anything tangible will happen on immigration whilst we remain in the EU.
    Your devotion to your leader is touching. In fact, I am quite prepared to hear you tell us that you are supporting his advice for us to stay in the EU after he completes his Wilsonian ‘renegotiation’ achieves next to nothing of substance but pretends otherwise. Forty years ago today the British people were deceived in the referendum and the next stage of that deception is well under way.

    Reply Why do you specialise in making fatuous predictions? Do you wish to come across as always wrong?

    • Hope
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Similarly you need to look in the mirror and ask why you made the statement that Cameron made a promise as if it has any significance? He has made many promises and he has failed to keep the vast majority. Why discredit your judgement, which is unusually so intelligent, by its inclusion?

      Reply Because I wished to discuss housing, not migration on this occasion. We have often discussed immigration, and we all agree we need to leave the EU or change our relationship with it to control our own bo0rders. We do not need to debate that every day, and I do need to talk about other things that matter to a wide range of other people who read this site and support me.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      You are always right, I presume?
      Disagreeing with you doesn’t mean I am always wrong.
      Lord Lawson agrees with my prediction about the conduct and outcome of the referendum. As to your final position – who can tell?

  11. botogol
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Stamp duty is a also a big disincentive to older people who might otherwise trade down to a smaller house : the total transaction fees of buying/selling are large. So people don’t move, and hoard house-space – stamp duty has the opposite effect of the bedrroom tax.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Indeed turnover taxes are economically very damaging.

  12. turbo terrier
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    It is a vicious circle.

    The country needs more homes that cannot be denied. Problem is who is going to build them? More and more construction sites and companies have foreign tradesmen as we are not producing enough of our own.

    We need to start training our youngsters within the education system giving them some life skills that may encourage some to seek a career in the construction industry.

    Sore point but back in the halcyon days when we had nationlised industries investing heavily in technical college block release type courses to meet the demands of their year on year intake of apprentices it enable parallel courses to be run for the smaller trade, engineering companies utilising lecturers for the night classes.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 6, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      turbo terrier

      It was not just the nationalised industries which took on apprentices and sent them on day or block release to tech .

      A huge number of apprentices were taken on by private companies each year as well in order to guarantee a skilled workforce for the future.

      I was one of them, and my Company took on 12 apprentices each year, indeed most of the apprentices who were at my Tech were from private industry.

  13. turbo terrier
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    The country had better start really getting its act into gear as it was made clear by a member of the EU yesterday on R4 that the Uk and its wanting to change the system is not at all on the high priority list. Greece is by far the most important matter within the EU at present.

    Too true, if Greece goes down so will Euro land.

    So with that mindset in place all the Uk can expect is the immigrants to keep on coming adding even more pressure on housing and the infrastructure to support it.

  14. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Lawson has it spot on

  15. javelin
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    300,000 people come into the UK and then you worry about building 300,000 (ish) new homes. Plus more other infrastructure. This all takes away from the existing voters.

    I don’t think you are taking this problem seriously.

  16. DBC Reed
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    All of these tax reductions and subsidies put up house prices long term (and short term) and will always do so while no attempt is made to control land price inflation.Attempts by politicians to shut their eyes to the basic economic problem identified at the beginning of the era of Economics or Political Economy whereby commercial Progress increases money in circulation, then increases rents and property prices resulting in the return of Poverty (but much worse ) is a sign of insanity.Or the delusionary behaviour exhibited in the programme about the Great Randi on the telly last night where various charlatan psychics were exposed by him, only for the public to revert to following the charlatans unable to believe that such wonderful people as themselves could ever be wrong.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    An average capital gain of 4.6% on domestic property over the past year would seem a bit excessive, given that CPI inflation has been close to zero, GDP has increased by 2.4% and average earnings have risen by something similar to that.

    But then I read elsewhere that while Nationwide is saying that house prices have risen by 4.6% over the past year Halifax is saying 8.6%.

  18. turbo terrier
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    On the side.

    New houses need energy as does new business and industry that is a fact.

    In the Scottish Herald and the Scotsman today Fergus Ewing MSP Energy Minister is demanding that Westminster must talk to Scotland before removing subsidies. Why?

    For too long Scotland has forged ahead with renewables as a devolved power with no consideration to the real impact on society, landscape and communities basically because it was all funded via subsidies through Westminster.

    Unless CMD stops the subsidies for all renewable projects with a clearly defined deadline then all that will happen it will create a Klondyk rush to get projects through the planning system.

    Westminster has to announce that all renewable projects that are not fully installed, operational and fully integrated onto the grid system by December 31st 2015 will not be eligible for any subsidy, future constraint payments or whatever other name they want to call, a state handout.

    What a legacy the previous Energy Minister has left the country.

    The first thing that usually happens when companies get into trouble is to hold a cost audit to identify the magnitude of the problem. I would suggest that the DECC has not got a clue to the total number of all types of wind turbines installed, number in planning, and areas where scoping is taking place. Solar and Bio Mass will almost certainly be in a similar position. The Climate Change Act has got to be repealed and a new more common sense approach taken how we get and use energy. All these new house that are being talked about all should be incorporating all the advances being made in reducing energy requirements.
    We tend to design and build houses on the sole basis of cost and profit to the developer and not the efficiency of the property constructed. Yes they will be more expensive but nowhere near the real cost for all the green crap we have been showered with.

    Ministers and all politicians have got to understand and sad as it may be accept the present situation the country is in regarding the true impact of the housing and energy debacle. Far too many energy projects have been passed and erected with no consideration on how that energy will be transmitted and the impact to the communities most effected and the population in general.

    Millions in fuel debt and poverty, thousands needing food banks and a national debt in trillions.

    Can we please before we destroy ourselves trying to save the world sort out the real problems to this country that are not going to go away but just keep increasing.

    Those politicians that cannot or will not put this country and its people first wether it be over Europe, energy, housing, health and realistic welfare should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask the question “Am I really up for all of this?”

  19. Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    John Redwood is just tinkering with the problem. The elephant in the room is that REAL house prices (i.e. prices adjusted for inflation) have DOUBLED over the last 20 years or so. See the Economist House Price Index. That is a scandal.

    The main reason for that is the combination of increased population, as JR rightly points out, combined with a refusal by local authorities to release enough land for development: the average price of land with planning permission is about HUNDRED TIMES that of agricultural land (roughly a million pounds an acre).

    The price of land with planning permission accounts for about a third of the price of houses. So: release a lot more land, and the cost of houses would come down by approaching a third.

    Of course that would mean a significant part of England’s green and pleasant land being covered in concrete. But the main political parties have been advocating mass immigration for the last 20 years, so all you folk who voted for one of the three main parties are getting what you voted for: high house prices and square miles of concrete.

    Personally I’ve supported those wicked “far right” anti-immigration parties for a long time.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      So have I and with Cameron’s track record of not abiding by his manifesto I will continue to support the far right because they are the only serious party intent on doing something about these problems

  20. David
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    @”Lower and smoother Stamp duty is a modest assistance to home buyers. ”
    Why not get rid of it and replace with an increase in council tax.
    I don’t mind pay more tax than x because I earn more than him/her or have a bigger home or drink more alcohol.
    I fail to see why if I need to move house more I should pay more taxes.
    It would also make the downsizing more attractive.

  21. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    If there is a shortage of housing then why isn’t the free market correcting it ? Why aren’t construction companies building more houses – especially as they can borrow money to do so at historically low rates ? I assume it might be something to do with red tape and planning permission and the endless “consultations” (actually nothing of the sort) needed. Sweep all those delays away. Also maybe it isn’t profitable enough – so reduce corporation tax on housebuilders (and wait for the squeals of outrage from Labour and half the Tory party).

  22. Atlas
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I worry about this Northern Powerhouse fettish that has so engulfed George Osborne of late. The reason why the North was significant was because of Coal, Iron, Wool and Cotton. These resource facts-of-life had little to do with government. Those drivers have now gone, hence the state of the North. Building a few railway lines is not going to improve things.

    Just consider that the building of the Great Western Railway did not save Bristol as a port – even though that was claimed aim of the project, and that was with private money as well. We seem to be playing the game of the government trying to pick winners yet again.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Interesting, I didn’t know that was the stated aim of the GWR, although I can see it made sense at the time. But what was Brunel doing, building a railway to link to a port which wouldn’t be able to take the giant ships he was building? 🙂

      • Atlas
        Posted June 6, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        Denis, briefly put: Brunel had this vision of end-to-end travel to the USA, hence his concern with designing the Great Western ship, SS Great Britain and finally the Great Eastern. As you rightly point out, the port of Bristol wasn’t up to the job, so I’m not sure why Brunel thought so either.

        I mentioned the GWR (as an exemplar) because it seems that private investors can be just as fallible as Governments when it comes to picking winners.

        Reply Brunel was a great engineer – I am not sure we can help him now by pointing out alleged mistakes

    • Hope
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      It is about wooing voters to the Tories and fulfilling the regionalisation of our country for the EU.

    • miami.mode
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Thoroughly agree with you Atlas and I get the feeling that the Northern Powerhouse is almost purely to justify HS2.

      George Osborne may represent a northern constituency but in my experience the cities he talks about are as disparate as Germany, Italy and the UK are in the EU. Or does he see himself as some sort of Juncker?

      As you rightly suggest, the north was built on certain industries over many decades and they were virtually written off almost overnight in terms of their length of existence. Rarely can you build a powerhouse quickly unless you have real innovation such as the internet.

  23. Bill
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Has anyone worked out the theoretical optimum level of housing stock in the country? I know that people are either marrying or cohabiting later than they were 30 years ago and that people are living longer. I know also that immigration continues apace. But has anyone done the sums to see at what point the number of properties or apartments will equal or roughly equal the population that requires them?

    If I were in charge of housing I would want the civil service to make the calculation even if we know accuracy is impossible. The market is a wonderful thing but it is surely always slightly behind actual human need.

    • Mark
      Posted June 6, 2015 at 1:53 am | Permalink

      The simple calculation is that we have average occupancy of 2.3 people per dwelling (28 million homes and about 65 million people). I’d argue that the Labour Party has been in favour of trying to atomise society, with people living alone in retirement or as single parents or just single incentivised by the benefits system, while at least some Conservatives are more in favour of a family life where older generations can care for the youngest and be cared for, and families have more tendency to stick together. These are matters of social preference that can make a big difference to how you divide up the available housing (e.g. conversion to flats and bedsits in place of family homes – or vice versa).

      If you look at the ONS data on population by age, you will see there is a big bulge of people in their 20s, caused by the recent high levels of immigration. However, there is a big fall off at lower ages until you get to children under 10, where numbers have been growing rapidly due to rising births to immigrant mothers. Therefore, over the next 25 years the only way in which new household formation by young adults will be maintained will be if we continue with very high levels of immigration of students and others. Meanwhile, as the post war generation starts to die in greater numbers, more homes will become available than has been the case recently (there were few elderly because of low birth rates in the 1930s and early 1940s).

      In the next few years,previous student immigrants will start to look for individual homes for themselves and family, rather than shared student accommodation, so we may get a temporary tightening of the market. Reducing the numbers of foreign students we accept would only release relatively few homes in the short run, but it would take the pressure off later on.

    • Mark
      Posted June 6, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I have tried to answer your question referring to ONS data on the age structure of population, but for some reason it has yet to be approved.

  24. mick
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Sorry for this Mr Redwood but off topic again, who do you think should be the figure head to lead a OUT campaign, i know UKIPPER`S will plump for Mr Farage but i don`t think most of the UK gel to him,

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Good question? I like Farage but it should not be him but who else?

    • DaveM
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      Do you think we could persuade William, Harry and Kate to lead the OUT campaign?!!

      • Posted June 6, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        I thought it was already being led. `JR springs to mind, or was that the American fictional character?

  25. Mark
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    There is no housing shortage – at least for now. In general, house prices show no significant relationship with the number of new homes built. This should not really be a surprise, since houses are long lived assets, and we only build a small proportion of new ones relative to the total number of homes which is about 28 million, giving us about 2.3 as the average occupancy, or even the number of house sales which is typically 5-10 times higher.

    Average house prices are determined by the average amount that lenders are prepared to fund. The relationship is very close, such that no other explanatory factors are needed. It works whether prices are rising or falling, and regardless of the total being lent, which simply determines the number of sales, given the average mortgage granted. Prices for cash buyers are also largely determined this way: they simply need to outbid a mortgage funded buyer by a small margin.

    The one exception is the London market, which is dominated by foreign purchasers and cash from overseas. As we know, the majority of new properties in London have been sold off plan to overseas buyers in recent years. This is a speculative bubble market all on its own.

    I discussed yesterday why in general new homes are not desirable purchases for owner occupiers – which is presumably why they are being sold on a subsidised basis under Help to Buy and the starter homes scheme. Taxpayers are on risk when these homes are re-sold, if not before.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 6, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      “Average house prices are determined by the average amount that lenders are prepared to fund.” – but won’t the lenders take into account their expectations for how prices will move in the future, as the property is the security for the loan and in the event that they have to foreclose they wouldn’t want the value of the house to be insufficient to recover their money because prices had dropped?

      • Mark
        Posted June 6, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        It is a fact that the financial models for asset backed securities (mortgage bonds) assumed that house prices never fall in the aggregate across a portfolio (only temporary, local falls). That helped to make them mathematically more tractable, even if it ignores reality. I think an analogy is with crossing the event horizon of a very large black hole: you do not realise you have crossed until it is too late, and your fate is sealed.

  26. Iain Gill
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    We need to build more houses of the type people want to live in. Primarily family houses with drives.
    We need to roll back a whole lot of government manipulation, tying your precise address to which school your children can go to, tying your precise address to which NHS services you can use, help to buy, planning distortions, and so on.
    We need to allow the housing in areas with no modern jobs market to fail, and allow the people to move to where the jobs are. So empower much more decision making with the individual and empower workforce mobility.
    We need to fix the planning system, and stop the cross subsidisation of social housing on the price of new homes.
    And we need to fix the constant house price hypes. Prices are far too high. It’s a con. Average house price as a multiple of average earnings is way out of line with competitor nations and our own historic trends.
    Governement support should be targeted at needy people, not those lucky enough to find themselves in certain circumstance for historic reasons. We need to allow people to keep their assets safe from means testing in other forms than houses.
    We need to much more radically cut government spending, starting with foreign aid, and cut taxes.
    And yes immigration is broken, but no Cameron is playing smoke and mirrors and has no real intent to fix it – its just empty promises.

  27. Posted June 5, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “Now I have got that out of the way”

    Sorry, JR it isn’t “out of the way”

    We are all pleased that you agree that net inward immigration is a major cause of the housing shortfall but the PM has done little or nothing about it and he has no credible plan to do so.

    There are two distinct problems :

    1. Immigration from outside the EU.

    DC has had five years to do something about this but the numbers have been going up, not down. There was no proposal in the Conservative-only Queen’s Speech to reduce to this half of the overall problem to “Fives of Thousands.” A points system similar to Australia would have been a good starting point.

    2. Immigration from within the EU.

    Without an end to Freedom of Movement this problem cannot possibly be solved.
    Playing about with benefits is just tinkering the problem. DC has to end full FOM otherwise the huge net influx will continue unabated.

    He isn’t even asking for an end to FOM because he knows it’s unachievable.

    Clearly, unless we persuade voters to leave the EU, we will remain open to at least 150,000 net new migrants a year from within the EU.

    • Jagman84
      Posted June 5, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, #1 is also unachievable, due to the situation where other member states hand out EU passports like confetti, knowing full well where the recipients will finally end up. They become somebody else’s ‘problem’. The rescued Mediterranean migrants are a prime example.

  28. Posted June 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Resolving the housing crisis will be what I will judge the Conservative party on in 2020 when it comes to choosing who to vote for.

  29. scottspeig
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    First paragraph – We all know that EU freedom of movement is not on the table for negotiating and therefore any plans to curb migration from EU nations is impossible. Now I have that out of the way, I will continue:

    Stamp Duty is a ridiculous tax which makes buying a house more expensive than it already is (why buying and selling a house requires more effort than buying a car is beyond me). It is a tax that should be scrapped completely (Or get a refund when you sell your house, after all, if I sell & buy, surely I ought to only pay the difference).

    Why is it that the government doesn’t just purchase a load of houses where they want them and sub-contract out the builders? Why can’t the state become the client? This would be a more effective way of building the actual houses, would stop housebuilders sitting on development sites and would give instant social housing if required. (Of course it wouldn’t be as cost effective, but the issue is supply, not cost at present)?

  30. Stuart B
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Find a way to channel money to all the ‘missing’ community hubs – small retail outlets, primary health services, leisure facilities, transport point. The housing will arise like magic around these.
    The money needs to be ‘primer’ – permission-smoothing, free advocacy, deferred or abated community charges, loans tied to purpose; it also needs to be whatever is needed to allow those services to survive, with claw-back once the ‘sustainability’ (horrid jargon) has been independently verified.
    Fairy rings arise organically – they don’t get planned, they occupy any appropriate ecological niche that arises. Provide the niches and the residential capacity will follow, in some form or other. It might be trailers, it might be semi’s, it might be – well anything. That’s the interest really. Look at how housing follows ring roads & bypasses, even with all the ironies and inconveniences – a more balanced ’tilth’ would be even better, and encourage better balanced communities..

  31. Aatif Ahmad
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Since most people who vote are house owners, the majority of the electorate would like house prices to keep going up, so there is a clear inflationary bias built into the housing market. Even those who don’t yet own a house want the market to keep going up, because they know they WILL be buying a house at some point and therefore would like the market to keep going up after their purchase.
    For buy to let investors, it makes sense to leverage as much as possible and then let inflation erode the value of the debt (the authorities are committed to ensuring 2% inflation). The Government is also relying on inflation to erode the 400% debt to GDP ratio and bring it down to sensible levels.
    So given these facts, who would actually want house prices to stay stagnant or decline?

  32. forthurst
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    “It is likely the build rate will rise from here, with more land now available for construction”

    No. The amount of land is still finite; what is effectively infinite is the number of people who might wish to come to live here and which the present government shows no competance in attenuating; in fact the government has been trying its hardest to encourage large parts of Africa and the ME to ‘migrate here’ (immigrate) by the simple expedient of aerial bombardment and ‘regime change’.

    There needs to be an end to the sale of prime agricultural land for any purpose other than agriculture; this would therefore preclude the planting of windmills and photovoltaic cells as well as dwelling boxes; an increasing population needs more food not less and the first duty of government is to protect the nation from preventable future catastrophe.

    All new development should be on land which has no agricultural or scenic or recreational use. The emphasis should be on a very much higher standard of architectural design and urban planning and development; furthermore, it would mean that preserving useless industrial dross such as old power stations etc by responding to the whims of sentimental fools or architectural ‘experts’ for whom any old building is ‘important’ or ‘iconic’ would need to cease. (Winding up the ‘listings’ industry would be start.)

    There are many housing estates around me. What they all have in common is the lack of the sorts of facilities that many people want from modern life: shops, restaurants, watering holes, places of work etc etc. These places are dormitories from which travelling by bus or car is essential for access; that is why those places which have access by walking command a significant premium. Therefore the only sensible way to build is up; this saves space and also means that residents should have much better access to facilities. In many crowded locations abroad, flats are the norm; because of the saving in land and construction methods employable, the size and quality of the accommodation can be far higher for the same cost as boxes on isolated estates.

  33. turbo terrier
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    John

    Over the inputs put in by your regular readers there does seem to be an underlying theme. We ain’t very happy with the leader. How long must we bounce along the bottom before we get ministers with the bottle to really stand and fight their corner for this country? You especially and a lot of your like minded collegues are totally wasted on the back benches

  34. Jon
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Will those development spaces in the Northern areas John be developed without better transport links from the South?

    The South of England is a beautiful country, I don’t want to see it all concreted over. We can run Javelin trains on the existing lines to the north and have near HS2 times. Better connectivity investment.

  35. DaveM
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Simple solution – close the borders. Build new towns with cash which would otherwise be spent on EU membership and overseas aid. Lots of jobs, lots of opportunity for new investment if we employ our diplomats correctly. My suggestion for new town locations is Scotland – the SNP always say how much they like immigration. They could welcome tens of thousands of immigrants if they had a new town or two.

  36. Posted June 5, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Rarely have I seen the regulars here so united on a topic than this one and the effect of immigration on our housing shortage.

    Surely it warrants a letter to the PM asking how he proposes to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands, a policy he has recently said he remains committed to. ?

    It would be helpful if our kind host posted Mr Cameron’s reply here for us all to see.

  37. Ken Moore
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    JR Yes, you are right. Controlling the numbers of people coming to the UK to live and work is an important part of restoring balance to our housing market. The Prime Minister has promised to do that.

    A master of understatement is John Redwood!

    I urge Dr Redwood to reflect upon his choice of words – I suspect many here would take exception to a need to house 300,000 extra people every year, being described as merely ‘an important part’ of the debate.
    It is VITAL and without change we will become a third world country of garden shed shanty towns if your party does not get a grip and find the backbone needed to restore sanity to border control.
    Of course paying teenagers to set up fatherless single parent families and stopping incentives for having large numbers of children would help…

    Sorry JR – you sound like the rest of the establishment – in denial though to a lesser extent than most.

  38. Richard
    Posted June 6, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    “Yes, you are right. Controlling the numbers of people coming to the UK to live and work is an important part of restoring balance to our housing market. The Prime Minister has promised to do that.”

    I think not.

    There appears to be no real action against non-EU immigration, particularly illegal immigration where everyone who arrives can apply for asylum meaning that they are highly unlikely to ever be returned back to their country of either origin or embarkation.

    Our government continues to allow the myth to exist that these illegal immigrants are victims of people traffickers when they are in fact criminals themselves having paid the “traffickers” large sums to provide them with the means to get into the UK.

    In the case of EU migration Mr. Cameron appears to be only considering tinkering with benefits having realised, quite correctly, that he would be unable to stop EU freedom of movement rules even if this is what he wanted.

    Continued EU membership will lead to ever increasing immigration as Conservative Party policies of extending the EU to include Turkey and all the countries of eastern Europe to the Urals take effect.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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