Home ownership

Many more people want to own their own home than currently do so. Generation Rent tells us they want more opportunity to buy, but feel crowded out of the market by high prices and scarcity of homes.

I agree with the majority view that home ownership is usually the best answer for people.  It is good to have control of our property, so you can decide how to decorate it, how to arrange the internal space, and how to organise the services. Above all home ownership is a good lifestyle choice as you get older. Once the mortgage is repaid it is much cheaper living in a home you own than living in rented accommodation. Those who rent all their lives end up paying most for their property once retired, on a lower income than they had when working.  If you pay rent for 60 years rather than a mortgage for 25 years, you pay so much more. If you rent a property for £1000 a month that would be £720,000 over a lifetime, but of course it will be so much more as the rent is likely  go up a lot over the next 70 years. If you buy  the home instead for  £250,000 home on a mortgage you might end up paying £400,000 of interest and capital repayments over your lifetime.

None of these numbers requires house prices to go, though in the past they have done so. If they do then of course the home owner is better off again. In old age they can sell the property and move to a smaller place, releasing capital to spend if they wish. The person living in their own home also can pass it on to their heirs  or to a charity of their choice , whilst the person in rented accommodation just leaves the termination costs of the tenancy to their estate.

Many Conservative MPs and advisers think there is an urgent issue of how we can help more people to own. We want to empower a new generation of home owners. The last government put in place schemes to help purchasers. There is the Help to buy scheme to assist with raising the money for the deposit. There are various affordable homes for sale projects. The question is what more needs to be done.

Reducing the numbers of new migrants arriving and needing homes would help. This is something the government can do with its new border control scheme for when we leave the EU. Increasing the supply of new homes would help, which the government is working on.  Looking at ways to help finance homes and to make them more affordable is moving to the top of the agenda.

There can be more sales of public sector owned homes at a discount to tenants. There could be a rent to mortgages scheme, where good public sector tenants get credit for regular rent payments and build a stake in their home. There can be more shared ownership schemes, with easy ways of a person buying a   bigger share as they can afford it.

We need to make the case again for ownership. Doubtless we will be told that selling existing public sector homes reduces the supply and adds to the problem. This is the most absurd criticism of them all. If a tenant buys the home they are living in the supply of homes is totally unaffected, as the same family are living  in the same home after the transaction. The advantage is twofold. That family have something they want , and the state has money from the sale that it can spend  on building an additional home, thereby expanding the supply of property.

Yours thoughts on what we could do would be appreciated. I will return to this topic with more specific proposals in due course.


  1. Leslie Singleton
    June 24, 2017

    Dear John–Of course if interest rates were to return to something less insanely low, so that there could be a discussion whether money in the bank instead of invested in bricks was Way To Go, especially in retirement, it might be different–cannot for instance travel or go salmon fishing or pay grandchildren’s school fees by spending bricks.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      People investing in buy to let increases supply of properties and keeps rents lower that otherwise. It is too much demand and not enough supply that is the problem. All caused by large immigration combined with restrictive planning and government red tape. Landlords are not the problem they are part of the solution. Their investment is badly needed to fund the new building required.

      1. Mark
        June 24, 2017

        It is true that in recent times private landlords have bought over half of all newbuilds, with Housing Associations responsible for a further quarter. The building industry seems to have been geared to meeting this demand, presumably because these sectors are the only ones that can make much financial sense of buying a newbuild, but perhaps too because planning is less well disposed towards building other types of home.

        1. Lifelogic
          June 25, 2017

          The building industry will sell to any buyers landlords or owner occupiers as is the demand. The main thing needed is more homes if you attack buy to let investing you will certainly get fewer homes.

      2. getahead
        June 24, 2017

        Does what you say make sense LL? Buy to let must surely reduce the number of homes available for purchase. And increase property prices.
        Excessive immigration is clearly a real problem, especially in the ghettos.

        1. Lifelogic
          June 24, 2017

          Buy to let funds many new developments and houses or flats and creates demand for new units enabling them to go ahead. I myself have extended houses or flat to create many new houses & flats both for sale or to rent.

          What matter is the number of homes available relative to demand – be they for rent or for owner occupation. The rent or buy is clearly determined by demand – rental demand or demand from purchasers.

          1. Tom
            June 26, 2017

            ‘What matter is the number of homes available relative to demand – be they for rent or for owner occupation.’ No that’s wrong. What matters is that homes are owned because owners vote Conservative.

  2. Anonymous
    June 24, 2017

    Multiple home owning/landlording has to be disincentivised.

    It sounds unConservative but isn’t. BTL is driving the renter young to confiscators like Corbyn.

    For each landlord with a property portfolio and one Tory vote is created a portfolio of Labour voters.

    1. Anonymous
      June 24, 2017

      Help grannies to downsize and put family homes back on the market. Next door is a 90-year-old in a 4 bed. An area of shortages.

      1. Mike Stallard
        June 24, 2017

        As a Grandpa, I do not want to move. My wife does! I love my home it has all my memories in it and I know every nook and cranny. My Mum and Dad retired here too.
        From a middle aged person;s point of view, I am a bed blocker. From my own point of view, I am someone who is enjoying a well earned retirement!

        1. Lifelogic
          June 24, 2017

          People at that age are unlikely to move now unless they are forced to for medical reasons. Build some more houses there is space after massive amounts of land are used just for pigs and cows and agriculture after all. Is housing these animals more important than people?

          1. A.Sedgwick
            June 25, 2017

            I have a farmer friend who some years ago gave up his milking herd to concentrate on arable, converted the buildings to small commercial units and prospered more as a result. Personally I am a vegetarian and would love to see the end of rearing animals with homes replacing their sheds.

        2. Cheshire Girl
          June 24, 2017

          No, I dont want to move either. Husband and I worked extremely hard for years to afford our house. We have renovated and improved it, and got it the way we want it now.

          One day we may have to move as we get older and more infirm, but it has to be our choice. One of the biggest reasons why I am happy that we own our house, is that no one can turn us out! Our Son works in London and will never be able to buy a house there, due to the astronomical prices. He has a friend who had to move twice in one year, because the landlord wanted to sell the house. Owning your own house gives a sense of security that is without price.

        3. Hope
          June 24, 2017

          BTL a consequence of Tory party helping banks. No interest rate rise because govt providing money or them to loan. These are private companies and should sink or swim on performance not subsidised by taxpayers to allow bankers being paid millionaire salaries! Andy change since 2008/9?

        4. Anonymous
          June 24, 2017

          I said *help*. Many are too daunted to move. The upheavel and the cost.

          The 90 year-old I speak of’s sister is on her own in a large family house too.

          Young people would love to be able to have memories but there’s will be of cramped conditions and struggle. People unsupported by the state – the very people we should be encouraging to have children.

          The country is facing a crisis and it needs new measures and new thinking.

          And if the old don’t move reasonably enough then the young WILL vote in ever larger numbers for confiscators.

          With respect, I can understand the young feeling like this. Though I wish they’d also realise that immigration is making most of them poor too.

          1. Anonymous
            June 24, 2017


          2. sjb
            June 24, 2017

            ‘The larger proportion of earnings consumed by housing costs, the greater the benefit of under-housing [e.g. 10 living in a 2-bed flat] and the greater the price advantage of immigrant labour. It was not despite the high cost of housing that immigrants came to the house price hotpots in Britain [e.g. London] to make a living – it was because of them.’ –The Pinch by [ex-Tory MP] David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts, pp227-8

          3. A.Sedgwick
            June 25, 2017

            Corbyn and Glastonbury are well matched – both ghastly.

        5. APL
          June 24, 2017

          Mike Stallard: “From my own point of view, I am someone who is enjoying a well earned retirement!”

          And from any reasonable persons point of view ( non socialists ) you are entitled to the fruits of your own hard work until the day you don’t need it any more, at which point it should go to your heirs.

          It’s got to the ridiculous point that we are made to feel guilt about the relative success of our own society, and repeatedly told* to share the fruits of the labour of our ancestors with people who can’t produce a tolerable society in their own countries.

          *By Socialists who when given free reign in a country manage to create a hell hole, that nobody wants to live in.

          1. Anonymous
            June 24, 2017

            May could never do Glastonbury.

            Corbyn the Confiscator has serious charisma and cult status now.

            May tried confiscatory policies but ended up against the brick wall of Stallard.

          2. Anonymous
            June 24, 2017

            We are in a homes crisis.

            What aren’t you getting about that ?

            “Waaah !” “I’ve lived in my big house for thirty years and want to enjoy my memories – Waaaah !”

            ‘scuse me. I want to puke.

            You mean you’re not going to move on like your previous home owner did and allow another family to make their own memories ?

            OK. Well national and family disfunction is what you’re going to get. Along with confiscatory voting.

            Mum works nowadays not because she wants to but because she HAS to.

          3. APL
            June 25, 2017

            anon: “We are in a homes crisis.”

            Not correct.

            There are streets and streets vacant in Liverpool.

            The South East may have a homes shortage – but the solution to that is to stop importing refugees, asylum seekers, etc – and in fact start deporting them. Once Syria stabilizes without the interference of the US, UK, it will be safe for them to return home.

            Then, places like Grenfell tower can be used to house British citizens.

          4. Lifelogic
            June 25, 2017

            “May tried confiscatory policies but ended up against the brick wall of Stallard.”

            What is this I must have missed it?

      2. eeyore
        June 24, 2017

        This thread by Anonymous is full of sound political sense.The last time home ownership was tried as a policy it returned the happy government responsible again and again with splendid majorities.

        Few will need reminding that among Margaret Thatcher’s reasons for pursuing it was that it de-radicalised people by giving them a stake in their own country. No wonder that nearly 40 years on she remains a bogey to those who wish to do the opposite.

        Given the current alienation of the young and the alternative they are keen to embrace, the policy is not only wise but absolutely necessary.

        1. Lifelogic
          June 24, 2017

          Indeed start by getting rid of rip off stamp duty, get more flexible mortgages and the likes.

          1. Lifelogic
            June 24, 2017

            Social housing is of course unfair subsidised competition to the, usually far more, efficient private sector market too. Just as is the BBC, the NHS, state school and similar. It creates dire & inefficient state monopolies. Having properties at below market rents mean people never give them up and it is unfair to others who pay taxes and pick up this bill. Even when these subsidised tenants may well be richer than they are.

          2. hefner
            June 24, 2017

            LL, you are completely blinded in your beliefs that private=good, public=bad. Explain to me please how you prove the private sector market to be more efficient in housing people with low incomes, whether these are students, low-wage workers, or low-level pensioners. And I mean, proof with proper arguments, not your usual repetitive series of cliches (Do you know you could be a wonderful politician?)

          3. Lifelogic
            June 25, 2017

            @ Hefner it is not a “belief” it is provable fact. The private sector in housing not only gets no subsidy, it pays lots of tax and has to pay planning gain too in the form of social housing units too. It could not exist if it were not far more efficient.

            Nor would most of the NHS or state schools exist if they had to compete on a fair basis.

          4. hefner
            June 26, 2017

            Thanks a lot, LL. So if there is no state provision for NHS, schools, social lodging, would there be a need for any form of state or could we go with private police, private military, private justice, … ?

        2. Chris S
          June 24, 2017

          A substantial part of the reason that young people are not becoming home owners as their parents did is because of their very different lifestyles.

          They co-habit in transient relationships which are often not compatible with home ownership and they may wish to be free to move location for jobs or other reasons.

          The answer is for government to make it much easier to buy and sell property.

          My experience as an IFA is that the effort and cost to move are a massive barrier to mobility, especially for the young who want to be able to move easily and cheaply. This is why they rent rather than buy.

          We are already seeing a revolution in estate agency where online agents will undoubtedly come to dominate the business, slashing selling costs to a few hundreds of pounds.

          The government should take an axe to the legal profession and greatly simplify the buying process. It should not be necessary for it to take so long or cost so much to arrange a house sale.

          Finally, when a householder with a mortgage moves house, it should be simple to retain the existing mortgage and just add to it if necessary. Moves that involve no additional borrowing or a limited amount of, say, only 10% extra, should be automatically approved the same day without a full application process. Historical price data is already available though the Land Registry, avoiding the need for an expensive valuation and the customer has already demonstrated the ability to maintain mortgage payments.

          A move could then be made in a few days at a fraction of the cost – as long as the government also does something to reform stamp duty. But that’s a whole subject worthy of a thread here all on its own.

          1. Anonymous
            June 24, 2017

            You did not face 20x average salary for the average home (London.)

            I did not make this figure up.

            What is needed is:

            – People to move on when they no longer need the space

            – limit immigration seriously

            – Get property back from the hands of landlords.

            The Tories are doomed on these issues:

            – they pander to a democraphic which is on its way out

            – we immigrate a Labour client class apace

            – the landlord class offer a minority of votes, the renter class many

            As I saw it the Tories were never meant to stand up for greedy fat cats but for the independence and aspiration of the responsible class.

            The buy-to-let fetish is a distortion of capitalist conservatism.

            Pure greed and selfishness, which will ultimately lead to confiscation – soon, the way Corbyn is going.

            He is reaching Che Guevara status among the youth.

            HTF did that happen ?

            I’ll tell you.

            The Tories put a fake in number 10 to deliberately thwart Brexit whilst making out she was fighting for it.

            Now she looks like a gonk – because that’s what happens when you’re a fake. It’s not a matter of Corbyn’s brilliance but one of contrasts.

            And the fact that the Tories have completely forgotten who it is they are meant to be standing up for.

        3. Mark B
          June 24, 2017


          Simple sound Conservative principles.

          When people own something they tend to look after it. They invest to make it better and that provides jobs, both big and small.

          1. Anonymous
            June 24, 2017

            And then vote Conservative. Don’t forget the most important point.

          2. Mark B
            June 25, 2017

            Not for this lot

    2. stred
      June 24, 2017

      This government alreadyhas seen this opportunity and the takings in CGT when landlords sell up. BTL investors are now taxed on unearned income if they are in the 40% tax bracket and have a mortgage. When they sell there is no inflation allowance and the 29% CGT is surcharged another 8% (not checked) A landlords survey has shown that many are now deciding to pull out and others who cannot make the 4% to cover borrowing are not investing.

      The Treasury has killed the BTL alternative to a pension, having previously killed pensions. House prices may now fall, but not by nearly enough to make home ownership for the young possible, unless they want a very high mortgage with large payments and possible negative equity.

      So, with 800 extra people to house every day, where are they going to live if private lettings are going to become scarce? And why do the Germans not think private renting is bad and why do German tenants not all want to vote for Marxists?

      1. hefner
        June 24, 2017

        Because contrary to Britain, a young (or not so young) couple in Germany can start renting a property with an open-ended contract, which can last for life in some cases. Certainly not the British way (my experience some 35 years ago) when three successive landlords found their advantage to be changing tenants every six months. Add to that, German pensions not depending so much on the vagaries of the stock market, as these pensions usually are closely monitored by the trade-unions. And yes, German trade-unions being different from British ones.
        Yes, maybe Germany does things better than Britain.

        1. outsider
          June 24, 2017

          Dear Hefner, There are many reasons why the German housing market has been less hysterical than in England. Perhaps the most important is that Germany has never been economically centralised on the capital like England. One can still buy a really nice family home in the leafy suburbs of Northern and East Midland cities for the price of a one-bedroom flat in South East commuter towns – and a luxurious house in its own grounds for the price of a one-bed flat in central London.

          1. a-tracy
            June 25, 2017

            I agree Outsider, far too much emphasis has been put on Central London, but I feel this will be changing slowly, I’d be interested to know just what % of the half a million migrants this year alone settled in Central London then the % in the South East?

    3. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      Not really. Such BTL investment often increases the overall supply of properties. This by funding new builds, extensions and the likes. It is more properties overall that are needed – both for rent or to be owner occupied.

      People often rent their house out and then rent one elsewhere, as they have to be based elsewhere for work or other reasons. Flexibility and fiscal neutrality is the sensible way to go.

      1. Bob
        June 24, 2017


        “People often rent their house out and then rent one elsewhere, as they have to be based elsewhere for work or other reasons.”

        In this case the rental income on the home they own will be taxed without any right to offset against the home they rent as tenants.

    4. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      Multiple home owning/landlording has to be disincentivised.

      What of about all the social and LEA houses – does this apply here too or just to the private sector – if so why?

      We need more housing not less, which is what would happen with your proposal.

    5. Mark B
      June 24, 2017

      The reason people went into BTL was because Labour robbed the pension funds. People lost faith and with low house prices, low interest rates and the spectre of MASS immigration that is where the smart money went.

      What it does need is better regulation and licencing to insure that all rented accommodation is fit for habitation.

      1. Bob
        June 24, 2017

        @Mark B

        “The reason people went into BTL”

        One of several reasons.

  3. Mike Stallard
    June 24, 2017

    This is one of the most important (not urgent – important) topics at the moment.
    If you are not a home owner (I rented and lived in tied accommodation most of my life) then your life is simply not your own. You are at the mercy of the landlord. Sometimes you get a good one; sometimes a bad one.
    Once you own your own home, you feel free.
    Lots of poor Londoners and lots of poor people where I live are treated, frankly, worse than cattle. They are not part of the society. Add to that the difficulties of religion, skin colour (I am afraid a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds find this to be their most important characteristic), language and heritage and you have the makings of a society which is teetering on the brink.
    etc ed

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      True in that farmers can build a house for cattle without any planning & yet cannot for humans!

    2. getahead
      June 24, 2017

      And while you are paying rent you are not saving for a deposit.
      So what about no deposit mortgages? Does anyone do them already?

      1. Lifelogic
        June 24, 2017

        They used to until the banking crash even 110% mortgages.

  4. alan jutson
    June 24, 2017

    The more you help people purchase expensive and unaffordable products, the more those expensive and unaffordable products become for everyone.

    Indeed the Bank of Mum and Dad has actually helped raise house prices.

    Yes house purchase is good in a general sense if you are going to remain for some years, but perhaps not so if you are going to move on a regular basis and incur huge stamp duty, estate agents, solicitors, and moving fees.
    Add to the above the cost of maintenance, improvements over the years with its 20% Vat rate and house ownership is not as cheap as many think.

    Only the continuing rise in house prices has made it more sense to purchase, but that rise may not last forever, as when interest rates eventually rise you will see more repossessions.

    Do not agree with selling off Council Houses at a discount, as it just does not make financial sense for the Council, it also adds complication to the maintenance of an estate.
    Just imagine if you had used your right to buy a flat in a project similar to Grenfell Tower, where would you be now.

    Yes you can pass your house onto your children if the Social care plan does not come to fruition, but even then it will be less Inheritance tax.

    With the Government always wanting more and more money from the people, nothing is certain any more.

    1. a-tracy
      June 25, 2017

      Alan, don’t most home owners have building and contents insurance?
      Do the Council insure social housing for the tenants within the rent, actually do Landlords insure their BTL’s for their tenants or do the tenants have to provide proof they have it?

  5. Old Albion
    June 24, 2017

    You touch on the main reason for the housing shortage, thus high prices. But like so many, will not state it firmly.
    The crisis is a direct effect of uncontrolled immigration. Stop that and the problem will ease.

    1. Bob
      June 24, 2017

      @Old Albion
      Some people refuse to accept the connection.
      “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum” Chomsky

  6. Richard1
    June 24, 2017

    This is a huge issue for the Country and specifically for the Conservatives. Home ownership in the U.K. Is now down to c 60%, below some other European countries even. If people don’t own their own home – a generalisation – they don’t feel they have such a stake in society & the economy. This should be treated as a matter of great urgency. It is a question as to why the false nostrums of socialism seem to appeal to young people in such large numbers at the moment. One explanation must surely be that the education system doesn’t teach the evils of communism as it does the evils of nazism. But another must be that young people can’t see how they can ever buy a home. Why on Earth has Mrs May squandered a year with a majority in leaving this huge issue to fester without starting to do anything about it?!

    1. Mark B
      June 25, 2017


      Communism, National Socialism are both Left Wing ideologies.

      Dan Hannan gave a wonderful speech when he stated that same thing. The look on the University’s processors of utter pain was a joy.

  7. Mick
    June 24, 2017

    I think some sort of scrappage scheme like used for cars but not to scrap the property, were by you give the house owner a incentive to downsize from big homes to smaller ones

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      One absurdity in the planning system is a sort of scrappage scheme. You can often only build a new larger house if you knock down the old one. What a complete waste of a property. When you could have two for less than the cost of one, by building it next door to the other one!

      1. graham1946
        June 25, 2017

        Presumably the people building the bigger house want a bigger house, not to continue living in a small house with neighbours living in their garden. What sort of house do you live in?

  8. Ian Wragg
    June 24, 2017

    Why should we believe you will reduce immigration after leaving the EU. For 7 years non EU migration has risen and you have control of that.
    The EU is insisting on ECJ oversight for EU citizens in Britain. This is an absolute no no.
    No other sovereign nation has interference from a foreign court.

  9. Michael
    June 24, 2017

    I suggest we ask Hammond & Co. They will tell us what they are going to do and pay scant attention to the rest of us.

    Will these homes be under the jurisdiction of the ECJ if occupied by visitors from the EU?

  10. Lifelogic
    June 24, 2017

    Your rather simplistic cost comparison between renting is not the full story, when you rent it also covers insurance, maintenance, boiler safety certificates and often the furnishings too. The rents also have to cover people who disappear owing rent or wreck the place which is not infrequent. Also when you buy a property you have stamp duty (and most people buy then move several times and so have to pay this many times over (with legal costs, valuations, mortgage fees and land registry fees each time too). Renting in the short terms is usually cheaper (and certainly cheaper if prices are falling) in the long term buying is usually better but only if you can stay in one house for a longish time.

    The tax system with stamp duty at up to the absurd 15% makes buying (for other than the long term) rather less attractive. On the other hand the capital gains on rented properties, the new rules against interest deductions all reduce returns on rented properties and thus force up rents.

    You rent the money or you rent the house, one or the other unless you have the cash. If prices are going up then buying is usually better in the long term. But often not if you have to keep moving. Both sectors are needed, relax planning and cut the stamp duty and other taxes that mug buyers just when they need it least. In the year people move house they often pay taxes at circa 300%+ of their earnings!

    Later in life with the IHT threshold still at just £325K (thanks to serial ratting by Hammond and Osborne) and the possible need to pay for long term care then you are actually better selling up and renting (then giving assets away or spending them on expensive holidays). So sort out this perverse incentive too.

    Sort out the tax system and relay the planning system it is as usual supply and demand. We need more supply or less demand in many areas (though not all).

  11. Lifelogic
    June 24, 2017

    Off topic what a pathetic over reaction by Camden Council, in moving people out of the Adelaide Road tower blocks for about four weeks.

    Surely they could ensure the buildings are kept safe and under observation by fire patrols for the few weeks it takes to remove the cladding! We seem to be governed by complete dopes, but I suppose it is driven by raw childish politics as usual.

    1. graham1946
      June 24, 2017

      Back covering is what it is. Due to our litigious society who want to blame everyone for any misfortune and make money out of it, (an ambulance chasing fashion by lawyers imported from America, along with PC), once a fault is discovered they have little option. If , God forbid there was a fire when the authority had knowledge of dangerous faults, it would bankrupt the country, let alone the Authority concerned and of course there would have to be a scapegoat to protect those higher up the food chain.

  12. james neill
    June 24, 2017

    I’m retired, living in a 5 bed semi all by myself.. I would consider downsizing to a spacious apartment- if I could find one- with good location near shops etc..but am afraid that I could have noisy neighbours… noisy road traffic etc and that’s the crux of it

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      Take some nice young lodgers in perhaps, tax free with the rent a room scheme.

      They might keep you young!

  13. Dave Andrews
    June 24, 2017

    House prices are determined by the law of supply and demand. In this country we have a surplus of people, not housing.
    The rising population is the problem that needs addressing, not the supply of housing. I would rather we kept our green and pleasant land and not turn more over to housing estates.
    In the meantime, perhaps there is scope to consider measures to discourage the buying of property purely for investment, where the investment is left empty.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      We need more investment in housing so as to build more capacity – unless we are going to decrease demand in some way.

    2. Javelin
      June 25, 2017

      Agreed. As a believer in the market economy why does John only talk about the supply of houses and not comment on demand. If mass immigration had not happened their would be millions of houses available. People could buy their own home.

  14. jack snell
    June 24, 2017

    Government needs to act with more zest imagination and drive.. put government and council owned lands out there for building and build modern pre-fab well appointed, well designed, well planned, diverse housing and apartment arrangements on a huge scale for sale. Could be done by public state partnership investment to the general public. The housing market as we know it needs to be defied not overcome. The two could run in parallel.

  15. Chris S
    June 24, 2017

    For 22 years I ran my own Independent Financial Adviser Practice, selling out and retiring three years ago. During that time my business arranged hundreds of mortgages.

    The mortgage market functioned very well for at least the first 15 years – until the government decided that it needed to regulate the UK mortgage market. This was completely unnecessary. Lenders decided who and what was a good risk to lend on and they generally got it right with a very low rate of repossessions.

    Since regulation came in, lending has been much more restricted and the housing market has suffered as a result.

    We now have a situation where the slightest mistake, like being on holiday when your credit card payment falls due, is enough for an applicant to be turned down, even if every other month they have paid their card expenditure off in full.

    The self employed are almost excluded from the market entirely. We used to have a scheme of “self certification” of income for lending below 80% of value. It worked very well for the self employed and to my knowledge, in 22 years none of our self certificates customers were ever repossessed.

    We now have a situation which is extremely worrying. Most loans revert to a base rate when the initial discount or fixed rate ends. This base rate used to be around 1-1.5% above the Bank of England base rate. Now it is invariably at least 4% above with the figure buried in the small print.

    Many borrowers will face a real problem when Carney eventually raises rates. Many borrowers will see their payments triple when their deal ends, and that’s with a B of E base rate of only 2% it could well go higher.

    Because of tightening lending criteria, forced on the lenders by the regulators, especially in the buy to let sector, many borrowers will not be able to remortgage to another low rate, even though they can perfectly manage the repayments.

    In my 45 years in the retail financial services industry, all government intervention I have ever seen has made the situation for customers worse, not better.

    There is not a housing shortage. The shortfall in building new housing units is almost exactly equal to the country’s current net migration figure.

    The cause of the so-called housing crisis is down to government policy, starting with Blair’s deliberate decision to irreversibly change our country for ever by opening up the floodgates to third world immigrants. The situation was then made infinitely worse by his enthusiastic support for the expansion of the EU to include so many former Eastern Bloc countries whose unskilled and poorly paid citizens have moved to our country in droves.

    How many housing units are a net 2m EU citizens occupying ?

    These policies combined have caused a housing shortage and thus a substantial proportion of the inevitable increase in house prices.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      Indeed bad and misguided government regulation is, as usual, the cause.

      Just as with the appaling fire, endless government fire regulations but still they allow people to wrap tower blocks in flammable insulation panels! Complete and utter incompetent idiots!

  16. Mark
    June 24, 2017

    The fundamental problem we have is that we are still in a property bubble, sustained by a subsidised interest rate environment. When Blair came to power the Nationwide House Price Index stood at £56,000 – now it is £206,000. Deflate by RPI, and prices are more than double in real terms (and treble in London). For the younger generation it is rational to rent and await deflation of house prices in real terms – otherwise they are taking on a substantially higher debt (often now with student debt as well), which will cramp their ability to afford to raise a family and to save for a pension. Pensions too now look like a poor investment, with annuity rates so low you need to live to over 100 just to see your capital returned, and with too many businesses dependent on market distortions imposed by regulation to support their share price.

    The real solution to this problem is to press on with sorting out bank balance sheets so that we can restore some normality to financial markets. The real need is to use the period of subsidised interest rates to speed up repayments of mortgage principal on high LTV loans, so that balance sheets are more resilient in the event of falls in nominal house prices.

    Shorter term, house prices have stalled in large measure because demand to add to portfolios by the BTL sector has collapsed under the combination of higher SDLT, but more importantly I suspect by the imminent withdrawal of mortgage interest as a chargeable expense. In previous years the market to buy homes by those acquiring a house (rather than being mid chain) was about 300,000 first time buyers and 200,000 BTL purchases. Net supply is dominated by end of life sales, although there has been an uptick in newbuilds.

  17. formula57
    June 24, 2017

    Whatever is done should not undermine the British peoples delight in transacting in over-priced property since it sustains the illusiion we are all rich and successful (except for Generation Rent obviously).

    Otherwise, clearly, a plentiful supply of new houses is needed and that may well be facilitated by using prefabrication and eschewing traditional construction methods. That is beyond the conostruction industry’s capability to organize so government will need to act. To avoid creating the slums of the (likely near) future, goverment must impose design standards so something better than bug hutches with no acoustic integrity are built.

  18. Mark B
    June 24, 2017

    Good morning.

    Reduce Stamp Tax. You can especially do it for first time buyers and for those who wish to sell down.

    Reform the way property is sold in England and Wales. Put estate agents on a fixed fee. Fee to be met equally between buyer and seller.

    Make all sellers submit a full survey before a property is put on the market. This will reduce time wasted and will sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    Stop loaning and guaranteeing money. You are not helping by doing this. Let market forces decide.

    Stop stealing peoples pension money. Pension funds use their money to invest in things like property.

    And now for the big one.

    STOP All immigration. I need not explain. This is the main driver of higher house prices.

    Stop foreign nationals from buying property below say £500,000. They can still buy overpriced boxes in London, but anything less or elsewhere, no !

    1. Bob
      June 24, 2017

      It doesn’t matter if foreigners want to rent or buy UK property, so long as they have the money to pay for it. The problem is that our govt are driving up prices by offering free housing to immigrants at taxpayers expense, and who could be surprised that they keep coming.

      Also, it has come to light within the last couple of weeks that they illegally sublet their allotted social housing to illegals.

      1. stred
        June 25, 2017

        If the Met needs to find the true number of occupants who perished, they should ask the LA Housing Dept and HB office for a list of occupants. Then trace them. If they are found alive and the flats is cinders, account for the escape. If the remains of others are found in the flat, the identity needs to be known. At present, the police and government are saying they will not ask questions. LA tenants who sublet at a profit should not be re-housed or subsidised in the future.

  19. Peter Martin
    June 24, 2017

    “Many Conservative MPs and advisers think there is an urgent issue of how we can help more people to own”

    You could perhaps come up with some starter scheme, maybe some extra tax allowance, to help first time buyers. But the danger of these kinds of schemes is that they simply push up prices and are self deteating.

    So, ultimately, the only real solution is for prices of houses to fall relative to wages. But there’s obvious problems. If prices fall and wages stay constant then many recent buyers will be forced into near bankruptcy. If prices stay the same and wages rise then that would likely be an indication that we’d be in an inflationary situation. That is for everything else apart from house prices. That’s not going to be a generally popular option.

    You could try a property tax along the lines of every dwelling being regarded as a source of income. So if say a house is worth £200k the income generated could be say 3% of that which is £500 p.c.m. So everyone has to pay tax on that apart from those who have borrowed the money, in which case they can offset the interest payments from their tax bill.

    That will balance things up a bit between the housing haves and have-nots. There’s an obvious political price, though, which I doubt any Govt would be prepared to pay.

    So ultimately there is no practical solution. To balance things up requires there to be losers as well as winners. The losers are very likely to be existing Conservative voters (who may well then cease to be), the winners are very likely to be young Labour voters who are unlikely to switch to Conservative out of a sense of gratitude.

    1. stred
      June 25, 2017

      Peter. Owner occupiers in the SE paying 40% tax on a notional rent of £12k, would certainly pay a political price- probably on the end of a rope.

  20. James Doran
    June 24, 2017

    Q: How can we help more people to own a home?
    A: Increase the supply to reduce scarcity and decrease cost.
    Q: Scarcity of what?
    A: Not materials, not labour – Land with Planning Permission.
    Q: How do we do that?
    A: Issue more planning permits.
    Q: Is there a downside?
    A: Yes, cheaper new houses equals reduced value of all houses and people won’t like that.
    Q: What to do about that?
    A: Decide what you value more, lots of cheap houses or fewer expensive houses.
    Q: Can’t we have lots of new cheap houses yet maintain the value of our existing houses?
    A: No.

    1. libertarian
      June 24, 2017


      I’m afraid reality doesn’t agree with you.

      Where I live in the South East , my area currently has over 20,000 new homes being built . My own small town ( pop 8,000 ) has 700 new homes going up. Have existing house prices gone down? NO they’ve gone up

      Supply and demand isn’t just about numbers.

      1. APL
        June 25, 2017

        libertarian: “Where I live in the South East , my area currently has over 20,000 new homes being built . ”

        It seems self evident to me that the supply/demand equation is being grossly distorted. The demand side is pretty much infinite.

        It will continue to be, until demand is choked off. One way to do that is to stop immigration.

      2. James Doran
        June 25, 2017

        If it is not about numbers what is it about?

        If 700 (or 20,000) new houses haven’t reduced prices then the supply (in this case local supply) is still not enough to meet demand.

    2. Bob
      June 24, 2017

      If you build more houses then more immigrant will arrive to occupy them, so long as the entitlement to free housing exists.

      It’s not rocket science.

      1. James Doran
        June 25, 2017

        I sought only to answer the question ‘How can we help more people own a home’ I make no comment as to whom those owners (or occupiers) might be.

        1. Bob
          June 25, 2017

          I do. There are three billion people in the world who earn less than $2 a day. The UK offers them free housing, free healthcare, free education and cash handouts if they survive the journey here.

          How many houses would you be prepared to build?

          Maybe it would be better to stop impoverishing these people with EU agricultural protectionism and allow them to build their own economies. Help them where they are.

  21. Blocked minds
    June 24, 2017

    Sajid Javid did not resign this morning! Hard to believe.

    Instead he said he would give loads of money. Does he mean deducted by Direct Debit from his salary? He must do!!!

  22. The Prangwizard
    June 24, 2017

    I must put down my marker that I continue to be insensed at the government’s continued encouragement of immigration. And Mrs May’s weakness in her offer of security to EU citizens will make things worse. Just why does she think that making a concession first is the way to negotiate?

    However a couple of actions which I suggest might help the shortage of housing would be to reduce stamp duty and encourage more prefabrication techniques. Lower stamp duty would encourage more movement of people and the other would speed up build times.

  23. Bert Young
    June 24, 2017

    There is nothing better than the pride of owning your own home ; it is something every young couple should try to achieve . I faced the problem of living in a high price community but chose not to have summer holidays and to earn more and save so as to eventually be able to build the home I wanted .

    The challenge today is the same ; land and the cost of building is high ; stamp duty is an additional burden . The property market in the South is practically frozen yet the pressure for extra living space increases ; certainly the density of population is at the foot of the problem . Yesterday – shortly after 4 o’clock , the traffic volume between where I live and the school where I needed to pick up my daughter – a distance of approximately 5 miles , was terrible . In the past 10 years the difference in this traffic volume has grown to an unbelievable extent .

    I recently had the chance to read our local Neighbourhood Plan . It emphasised the problem of limited space and traffic/parking/schooling / medical facilities , and pointed to the need of better co-operation and understanding with the County Authority . The future balance that is required in all communities depends on controls and co-operation . Such a condition needs to be legislated for from the highest level and an intensive subsequent discipline put in place .

  24. Antisthenes
    June 24, 2017

    The UK like the rest of the world is heading in the direction of greater state control which means state intervention and interference will make make markets more and more unstable and private ownership less attractive. Busts at the end of booms are becoming more difficult to recover from and may soon be beyond rescue. The welfare state has become so voracious of public funds no ones assets or income are safe from the Treasury’ s or the envious hard left politicians grasping hands.

    So what you are advocating here may have previously made some sense no longer applies as the stability and confidence in the future needed no longer exists. The path ahead is treacherous owned property may be lost from sharp long lasting downturns or taken to pay for the care of an increasingly ageing population. The mobility of renting may become increasingly important as the need to move location will increase for work and to escape government imposed undesirable environments and regimes.

  25. Bob
    June 24, 2017

    You wouldn’t need “help to buy” schemes if you stopped using taxpayers money to provide free housing to anyone who rocks up at Dover without the means to support themselves.

    My friend is a foreign national who owns 167 properties, all rented to the Home Office & local authority on multi occupancies.

    This is the tip of the iceberg, and is obviously driving prices higher.
    Without taxpayer funding the flow of welfare seeking tenants would stop.

  26. Anna
    June 24, 2017

    As I have commented before, most young people who are supporting Corbyn are, nevertheless, quite Tory in their aspirations: they want a home of their own and a future for their children. But saving for a deposit for a house while paying high rents, repaying student loans and planning savings for a pension place a huge burden on our young – no wonder they are fed up!

    We have been through the hassle of downsizing from a much loved family home. We have agreed that, whichever of us survives will downsize further by renting a small place and renting out our current family-sized house at the same rent. It won’t cost us anything and it will help another family to save for a deposit.

    Since it is well-nigh impossible to save for a deposit while paying a high rent, could not banks and building societies consider offering 100% mortgages once again to people who can show that they have a good record of paying rent equal to the mortgage repayments. The ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’ could act as guarantors, which might involve them forking out a few months’ mortgage repayments in a sudden emergency instead of raiding their savings for the many thousands required to help find a deposit for their children.

    Land is scarce and high rise flats, as the recent tragedy has confirmed, are not the solution. We need to encourage architects to use their ingenuity to design high-density housing that contributes to, instead of damaging social cohesion.

    I am concerned that many properties are sold to foreign investors who have no intention of living there who thereby prevent others from acquiring a much-needed home. In Denmark, foreigners are not allowed to own property unless they have lived in Denmark for five years. We could copy them.

  27. Set sail!
    June 24, 2017

    I think living in Canada is the best option. The wooden frames and other wooden building materials of their houses, flats, and blocks and indeed in the USA are relatively very cheap . But property prices in Canada are very high and rising 17% per year. Personally I’d like one of those very popular log cabins.
    I believe Corbynism will be the final writing on the Tombstone of the UK and I am not in OTT Camden panic mode about it. It will come to pass.
    Canada is a good option for the British. Same holidays as us, plus some others of their own and they’ve nicked a few USA holiday days too.

  28. Bryan Harris
    June 24, 2017

    JR – One suggestion – we should adopt a scheme that was popular in Germany when I lived there:
    People were encouraged to save with a bank/building society to fund the deposit etc…. at a young age and in theory this meant they were given better mortgage rates…. (Not sure that worked out but it is a good reason to get people to save as much as they can in advance, even if they only get 1/4 % off the interest rate)

    Additionally, with all the skilled people in this country we should encourage more to build their own homes. When land becomes available it should be parcelled up so that individuals get the chance to buy it – this is a much cheaper option than buying a house ready made, but one would have to ask if enough people had the stamina and perserverence to see such a project through …. but worth considering.

    I still object to the fact that house building companies sell their new houses at inflated prices to match houses in that area.
    They don’t ask for the cost of building, plus say 20% – they ask for a small fortune – isn’t that profiteering?

  29. Original Richard
    June 24, 2017

    “Reducing the numbers of new migrants arriving and needing homes would help.”

    This is a massive understatement.

    The current very high net inward migration means that there is no way that the country can find the manpower or finances to build sufficient housing let alone, schools, hospitals, prisons, roads etc. particularly as GDP/capita and tax revenue/capita falls.

    At the same time our population density increases with severe environmental and social consequences.

    The biggest problem facing us is not global warming per se but uncontrolled population growth which will itself bring about global warming, a shortage of natural resources and massive uncontrollable migrations.

    1. Cheshire Girl
      June 25, 2017

      Original Richard:

      I totally agree, but we are not allowed to discuss this, the Politicians drown us out with their blathering on about ‘diversity ‘ . It’s now considered a disgrace to be conceerned about the future of our own country. I have lived a long time, and I would never have believed it would come to this!

  30. Simon
    June 24, 2017

    It is completely ridiculous to discuss access to property rented or otherwise in complete isolation from population increases caused by migration.

    1. NickC
      June 24, 2017

      Simon, correct. Over 8 million people live in the UK who were not born here, mainly in England. That makes a massive difference to our housing (and infrastructure). Out of the EU we must implement (implement, not aim for) zero net migration or less. England is the most densely populated country in Europe (excepting the small city states and islands).

    2. backofanenvelope
      June 24, 2017

      Just as it is rediculous to discuss the strains on the NHS or the educational system. There is a deal of hyprocrisy on the subject of immigration. Especially over the fact that half the current imports are from outside the EU and therefore under the control of the government.

      1. getahead
        June 24, 2017

        Ah, but immigration is good for business!

        1. APL
          June 25, 2017

          “Ah, but immigration is good for business!”

          Yes. The terrorism and extortion business.

  31. forthurst
    June 24, 2017

    The Tory Party has created a rentier economy: banks lend money into existence to people who already have somewhere to live so that they can rent out the property to someone who cannot afford the deposit, but can afford to pay the landlord’s mortgage repayments. This is not a process of wealth creation but of asset price inflation and parasitism.

    Extraordinarily, despite the acute shortage of housing in many parts of the country, the government continues to import foreigners whose entitlement to be here is of the government’s creation not that of the Brussels regime. Extraordinarily, despite the acute shortage of homes to buy in many parts of the country, the government continues to permit not only British citizens but anyone on the planet to buy up property in this country, frequently off plan. Extrordinarily, despite the Chancellor’s difficulty in paying for the services for an exploding population, he allows the rental stream from property ownership to fly abroad without a subvention to the Exchequer, some to foreign lands and some to exotic islands belonging to the Crown.

    When the government attempts to bribe people to vote for them by selling them their local authority etc owned properties at less than the cost of replacement, they should remember that these properties inevitably become rental properties which are then rented back to the local authority at a high rent which is then charged to the council taxpayer.

    As to be expected, the government shrugs its shoulders at a whole generation of young people who are unable to settle and start a family because they are at the mercy of landlords who can kick them out of their homes, and very frequently do, at short notice. However, there is no need for English people to have families at all, because the world is full of people who would love to come and live here and have large families and be provided with subsidised accomodation in the most desirable parts of London and elsewhere and this of course is an outcome fervently sought by many of the Tory Party’s most enthusiastic backers.

  32. Alice in Wonderland
    June 24, 2017

    13.22 hours 24 06 2017 BBC LIVE interview with elderly lady. “I feel safe. I do not think I should leave. If they turn off the gas and electricity, I will move!”
    OH MY GOD. Camden has not turned off the gas and electricity! Why is the Leader of Camden STILL in charge???????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  33. hefner
    June 24, 2017

    O/T: some might be interested by “Is your smart meter spying on you?”, by Patrick Collinson, Guardian website, 24/06/2017. And remember these metres are no more compulsory in Britain than they are in France.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      They are, in the main, a complete waste of money. They just result in still higher fuel bills to no one’s advantage but the meter companies. They are being pushed mainly due to the intermittent nature of the “renewables”/climate alarmist religion. Rather like rapping tower block in insulation to same almost no energy and put them at fire risk!

      1. Lifelogic
        June 24, 2017


        Oh the joys of English spellings!

  34. anon
    June 24, 2017

    Capital values are historically high on a price to earnings ratio ? Why?

    Also why was it or still is it economically speaking cheaper for landlord to buy than a private fully self paying renter?

    What is in our immigration, economic policy and tax policy driving this?

    Why is that some privately pay a full non-subsidized rent but are unable to buy or unwilling to take the capital loan risk v income risk?

    Possible solutions:

    We need to reduce inward migration , particularly illegal immigration and end official tolerance of this.

    Indeed sponsors need to be fully liable for any public state costs claimed e.g housing benefit, health,schools etc. not “make it up” no cost dreamers.

    We need to actively wean industry from recruiting state subsidised workers. Identify these actors and disincent those that have this “free rider concept”.

    e.g. we need doctors, nurses, then increase the supply & routes to qualification and incent and contact those that qualify to stay in the UK for a reasonable period 5 years or more.

    We need a regulator and a special tax regime for ” rentier resource” business models. Tax privilege should be withdrawn on purchases of existing resource e.g. properties for rent & then potentially increased to a 1% pa value tax.

    Perhaps a land value tax?
    Perhaps laws to make impossible or difficult expoitative business models . Through competiton (banks) where possible or compulsory rotation to communal leasehold structures where the freehold is held in the UK by the leaseholders.

    We need to move away from a zero interest rate policy on debts & we need to be able to mitigate the influence of short term interests in banking industry or politics on that rate policy.

    We need methods of making our regulators effective and responsive to public concerns.

    Competition transparency yes please, oh and more direct democracy.

  35. Narrow Shoulders
    June 24, 2017

    Your point about selling social housing not reducing supply is well made however only one person/family really benefits from that transaction and why should a social housing dweller, who has already won a lottery of sorts by having that house, be offered a further win by purchasing at a substantial discount that benefits no one but them?

    The purchase price should reflect the cost of building two replacement homes. This doubles the stock.

    Additionally the title deeds of the sold house should state that the house can only be sold in future to those entitled to social housing and must always be marketed at the same discount percentage to market rate that the purchaser bought it for. This ensures that social housing stock increases and that any profit taking is in proportion to initial investment. Buying social housing stock should not be a get rich quick scheme.

    As Leslie Singleton observes above, reasonable interest rates would do much to solve our housing price issues as would controlling broad money in circulation rather than letting banks (and government) create it at will.

  36. libertarian
    June 24, 2017

    Home ownership and getting on the property ladder is a fundamental of life in a free , market based economy.

    It is essential that this problem is addressed however as always with politicians its attacked in a one size fits all , top down global approach. When of course the home ownership market just like every other real market is fragmented and diverse. lets address some issues first.

    Homes in the South East , London and certain urban areas are too expensive for most young people and there is a shortage of housing where there is a large demand and short supply. ( Starting point, STOP housing refugees and newly arrived jobless immigrants in London and the SE)

    In large parts of the rest of the country there are a plentiful supply of cheaper housing

    One small search of Right Move found 8,000 properties for sale in the East Midlands

    With shared ownership two bed flats available at £20,000 – £40,000

    Terraced and semi detached houses for £70,000

    The problem is matching affordable housing with the availability of jobs

    This is where an enlightened forward thinking government could really make a difference.

    By offering tax incentives to companies and individuals to work from home it would enable more people to work for the job rich south east whilst living in other areas of the country. This also has the benefit of being eco friendly, helping towards co2 targets and easing congestion on road and rail.

    The dichotomy of zero interest is a problem

    On the one hand it makes mortgage repayments cheap BUT it prevents the building of capital savings for initial deposits on homes. In my opinion the 100% mortgage of early 2000’s was a reasonable idea , the fact that this was seen by some as junk mortgages is not born out by the fact that this is secured against property which we are told is expensive and in demand.

    I would also look at new mortgage schemes that I would call generational mortgages , i.e. , how about a 50 or 75 year mortgage that included adult children when time is right taking over the mortgage ?

    We also have to recognise the social demographic shift of recent years. People living longer with a need for more old/infirm friendly property and the big issue of the vast amount of single parent and single occupancy homes .

    DO NOT BUILD TOWER BLOCKS ( I grew up in one next door to Grenfell Tower, they’re crap)

    We must make greater use of Brownfield sites and mixed usage on the high street , this is down to urgent need to change planning laws

    The other option is to make more use of modular homes as starter homes. My gran was rehoused in a ‘prefab” after her home was bombed during the war. Those ‘prefabs’ where still providing good London housing 40 years later. With new technology and materials temporary , modular buildings should be looked at as alternatives

    There are regional needs and differences all over the UK , so this needs to be addressed at a local level. We must also look for ways to incentivise businesses, jobs and other infrastructure to relocate away from the South East. Better international airports in other regions would be of more use than adding extra runways in the stupid M25 airport corridor for instance.

    Home ownership is THE biggest killer of socialism , thats why lefties hate it.

    1. hefner
      June 24, 2017

      Very sensible, thanks.

  37. Peter Martin
    June 24, 2017

    “That family have something they want , and the state has money from the sale that it can spend on building an additional home, thereby expanding the supply of property.”

    But the complaint from local councils is that they aren’t allowed to spend the money this way.

    The State can build as many houses as it likes in any case with the taxpayer coming out ahead for a change. If say it builds a house a cost of £200k , it is likely it can be sold for £250k giving a clear £50k profit.

    Add the extra that will come back by way of income tax, NI, and VAT revenue and also taking in to account the multiplier effect, as that initial money is spent and respent in the economy, and the taxpayer comes out even further ahead!

  38. Mitchel
    June 24, 2017

    Building more property,whoever owns it, is not going to get us out of the economic mess we are in.The Spectator,today, has an article “It’s vital we act now to fix the ticking time bomb under the economy” by John Mills which gives a more realistic assessment of where we find ourselves than some other commentaries.Not for those of a nervous disposition.

    1. Peter Martin
      June 25, 2017

      Yes I would agree. It’s a very important article and easily found by Googling your “time bomb” phrase.

      It’s good that to see John Mills saying:

      “The government deficit – largely a mirror of the equivalent balance of payments shortfall – is still running at some £80bn a year. Austerity programmes are never going to put this right. The only realistic way to do so is to sell more abroad to close the balance of payments gap.”

      Austerity programs don’t work. All they do is push the economy further into recession compounding our troubles. We either have to have a lower exchange rate or stop worrying about the debt!

  39. Mick
    June 24, 2017

    I can only hope this is fake news, because if the cons/lab/snp/Libdims try and go against the will of the people and keep us in the eu by any shape or form it would be suicidal for them all at the ballot box come the next GE

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      A real Brexit is now very unlikely. May has made a compete pigs ear of it just as I expected her too.

      Listen to her daft socialist speech when she become PM. The one where she virtually accused our courts of being racist and went on about the (actually non existent) gender pay gap, and the poor dying 9(?) years younger.

      Perhaps they are poor because they are in ill heath and cannot work hard dear (and not the other way round). She misunderstands cause and effect.

      Or perhaps they are poor because they spend too much on smoking and drinking too much (and then die younger as a result). Grow up dear and get real.

      1. Lancelot
        June 24, 2017

        It is Mrs May’s idiomatic emphasis on ” -man” which could be an accident of lingusistic development or something disturbing. “The MAN who attacked Parliament” to name just one of many examples of her MAN wordings. I have heard similar emphases from journalists such as Kay Burley and one or two BBC maleStaff .

  40. Graeme
    June 24, 2017

    The Conservatives need to develop a clear and visionary message… I would suggest ‘Opportunity for All’ would have been a far clearer election slogan than ‘Forward Together’. Within this, promoting (responsibility of) home ownership would definitely help build a voter base, something which is needed whilst the young seem mesmerised by Jeremy Corbyn, as it’s only when people become stakeholders that they snap out of this unquestioning mob socialism. You are right that the housing pressures are caused my mass immigration… what else can it be.

  41. nigel seymour
    June 24, 2017

    Reducing the numbers of new migrants arriving and needing homes would help.

    J, You don’t seem to understand that the influx of migrants is already a problem and will continue until the UK leaves the EU. What is the Government doing to stem thousands of potential migrants entering our country prior to any deal we may conclude 2019. There are some circa 400,000 EU nationals in our prisons that may have leave to stay in the UK post Brexit. Does this remotely concern you????

    1. hefner
      June 24, 2017

      Complete bulls**t. Look at http://www.gov.uk, Prison Population, Prisoners:Foreign Nationals and apologise for the stupidity of your newspaper or that of your preferred far-right website.
      Depending whether you consider all foreigners or only the EU foreigners in the prison population, you are wrong by at least a factor 10.

      1. hefner
        June 24, 2017

        End of April 2017: total prison population in the UK, just a bit less than 86,000, total number of foreigners: 10,700.

    2. libertarian
      June 25, 2017

      Nigel seymour

      “There are some circa 400,000 EU nationals in our prisons that may have leave to stay in the UK post Brexit. Does this remotely concern you????”

      No because its complete BS. the TOTAL number of people in prison in the UK is less than 87,000

  42. acorn
    June 24, 2017

    “The classic story is of children buying their mother’s flat worth about £90,000 for £25,000, she dies and they rent it for £650 per month to precisely the client group we would have let it to for £350, except we do repairs, provide a service, are accountable and properly regulated.

    “When you factor in the discounts and additional housing benefit it boils down to handing about £95,000 to a random private landlord, as well as a free asset which could be worth £130,000 in a couple of decades.” (New Gorbals Housing Association, Glasgow.)

    There aren’t enough words available on this page for me to describe the extent of the socio-economic damage done buy Right to Buy, both directly and consequentially. Particularly how Right to Buy has morphed into Buy to Let, with both being a very nice little earner for the mortgage Banksters.

    Right to Buy was designed to be a political attack on Labour Party heartlands, and that’s all. It did not make economic sense in 1980 but it did appeal to basic animal greed. It makes even less sense today. Which is why the Scot’s are doing away with it. Have a read of “Residents lose the Right to Buy as Thatcher’s flagship policy is scrapped” (The Herald.)

    BTW. I have some DCLG data that implies, but is not clear, that you get one new Council House, for every eleven Council Houses sold at large discounts under Right to Buy. It is not clear how much of Council stock sales are being used to finance Housing Association (HA) discounts on HA sales.

  43. BobE
    June 24, 2017

    A lot of countries won’t let you buy a house unless you are a citizen, or married to one. That would make such a difference.

    1. hefner
      June 24, 2017

      BobE, Are you saying that all the clever quants working in the City, 40% of them foreigners, should not be able to buy a property in London? And what about the “Russian and Middle-Eastern oligarchs”?

    2. Sally
      June 24, 2017

      Absolutely. Totally agree. If you don’t live and work in this country you should not be able to buy up property. This is particularly relevant in London where people from Russia and China buy flats but don’t move into them, don’t rent them out but it’s a nice way to get finance out of their countries into a safe haven. Shouldn’t be allowed! I understand there are other countries that only allow ‘outsiders’ to rent only. Perhaps we should look at this?

      1. Edward2
        June 25, 2017

        Should UK folk be denied the right to buy properties abroad?
        Or is that still OK?

        1. Sally
          June 25, 2017

          Have a look at the rules that countries such as Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Thailand and China place on foreigners trying to buy property.

          1. Edward2
            June 25, 2017

            Nonsense Brits buy property all over the world.
            Including countries you mention.
            The answer is more supply of UK properties.
            Not more State interference in the freedom to buy a property.

  44. Gareth
    June 24, 2017

    The answer is cheaper property. You have made some suggestions – limit immigration, build more, etc

    But you also need to get people back to thinking of property as a place to live and not as an investment, so you need outlaw:-

    1. BTL
    2. Foreign owned UK property
    3. Second homes.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 24, 2017

      “Outlaw buy to let and foreign investment”.

      So that is lots of properties left empty then and far fewer built. It does not sound too clever to me!

  45. getahead
    June 24, 2017

    Driving past, you can usually tell the difference between homes that are owned and those that are rented. The outside of homes that are owned are usually neater and tidier than rented properties. It’s not nice to see council houses that are uncared for.

    1. Garden Gnome
      June 24, 2017

      The tragedy of your drivepast is that you did not see the utter waste of money both of the personal and, payments for silly unproductive goods. The new wholesale use of “brass” door knockers made in China, the stick lights in the garden made in Vietnam, the change in window frame, totally unneccessary brought about by personal whim.
      On a nationwide basis the wastage of money and resources on tarting-up according to Pound discounters, is losing this country literally tens of Billions of Pounds. We should end this Saxon strip farming approach to housing . It is silly, laughable, wasteful and stupid.

      1. Edward2
        June 25, 2017

        Its odd how some people hate other people’s freedom of choice.
        There is the hint of the dictator about your post Garden Gnome

  46. hefner
    June 24, 2017

    Getting to retirement age, some years ago, we sold our 5-bedroom house in the Thames Valley (the three children had left or were about to) and bought a two-bedroom house in the UK and a three-bedroom house in the South of France, with still a reasonable amount of cash on the side.
    We were fortunate enough to have had reasonable jobs with reasonable pensions accumulated in various countries.

    The problem I presently see in the UK is the ever-increasing price of properties in the areas in demand (London, S-E, big towns elsewhere) and the ever-deteriorating value of pensions (now possibly becoming even worse with increasing inflation). Furthermore for the last 40 years (?), the successive Governments have been unable to define a proper system for old-age care. The British are very good when there is a problem to create a commission of experts, a report (often very worthwhile) is produced, and the Government of the day with the MPs nodding along, will shelve it till the next emergency situation rises. Then the cycle restart, and nothing much positive actually happens.
    In that respect, I am not sure (in fact, the contrary) that allowing MPs to mostly rise from very similar types of cesspools and going on for mandate after mandate after mandate is good for democracy. Obviously, improving the system might require a change in voting system.
    I admit that I am very curious to see what the new French President, with the new Government made of roughly 45% of people from the “civil society” (i.e. of people having been in a real job for 10-15+, and therefore knowing from experience the details of the questions they might have to debate in Parliament) will produce in the coming five years.

    Reply I came into Parliament from running a major industrial company. Such a background does not give you the votes you need in Parliament to change the system. You have to become a politician like the others.

  47. Anonymous
    June 24, 2017

    Big problem.

    May could never do Glastonbury.

    Corbyn now has serious cult status and charisma.

    Gonk versus political warrior/romantic.

  48. Chris S
    June 24, 2017

    Those criticising the sale of Council Houses forget what scruffy unkempt gettoes they were before a significant proportion of houses were sold to owner occupiers who take much greater care of them.

    Driving through many such estates today it is not immediately apparent that they were, once council estates.

    The quality of life for both owners and tenants has been improved markedly.

  49. Ken Moore
    June 24, 2017

    I am grateful that John Redwood managed to hold his nose and give us one sentence that alluded to the impact of immigration. It is laudable that JR wishes to make it easier to own a home but he must acknowledge that trying to stand still on the rising escalator of immigration is impossible.
    School standards, NHS waiting lists and GDP per capita are all sliding despite more and more spending…someone has to stand up and say the problem is an unsustainable rising tide of demand.

    Can we not have a discussion about how London in another generation will somehow need to build another sewer system and tube network to keep up with population growth?. Is that the legacy JR wants for his children and their children – if not lets talk about it. Their birth right has been bought, sold off thrown away.

    Not so long ago, anyone could have a 4 bedroomed council house in London if they had the money. There were few waiting lists.
    In the 80’s and 90’s many council houses were demolished because they simply were not needed. Back then selling off council houses made sense as the state could get a potential expensive liability of it’s books. There are areas of Birmingham that have been demolished and rebuilt several times since WW2.

    Now hordes of low skilled immigrants descend upon London and because they are classified as ‘vulnerable’ by our politically correct government, receive priority for social housing. Where will these people be accommodated if more social housing is sold off.
    Places like Wokingham can only absorb so many displaced Londoners..

    Reply I have often written about the need to control the numbers of migrants coming to the UK. That still awaits our exit from the EU which I also write about!

    1. anon
      June 26, 2017

      But illegal immigration alone is estimated at 150,000 pa

      Apparently per the article its an Home office estimate, which they wont publish or confirm.

      Wise monkeys comes to mind for most in government.


  50. G
    June 24, 2017

    Hello all, for my own two pennies worth…

    Disastrous manifesto – totally inept. I wish John Redwood had been consulted!

    Help To Buy is good. Rent To Buy is great!! but only done with the right speed and drive.

    As for first steps, how about using legislation to totally ban student debt to be taken into account in any credit scoring or credit rating? That would help a lot. Take the fight to them…

  51. forthurst
    June 24, 2017

    19 comments by Lifelogic; the Guinness book of records beckons, methinks.

  52. Peter D Gardner
    June 24, 2017

    There is something very odd about the property market in UK. There are enormous distortions preventing housing from working like a normal market: government interventions, incentives and disincentives, large disparities in prices between geographic locations, very large and increasing differences between incomes and wealth between the top and bottom of society which relate also to location, very uneven geographic distribution of employment, highly restrictive planning and building regulation and cumbersome approval and purchase processes, all accentuated by England being the most densely populated part of Europe (except Malta?). Germany is often cited as an example of a paradise in which most people rent and both rents and purchase prices are affordable. I never found out who owns all the rented property but I guess they are extremely wealthy and yet nobody seems to mind that very few people own the homes of well over half the population.
    Stamp duty thresholds , especially the bottom one, 0% to 3%, is often cited as a major block to liquidity. I don’t think its is. I now live in Melbourne. Stamp duty varies enormously around Australia and is 5-6% on an average house in Melbourne (it used to be higher five years ago) and prices are significantly higher than in Southern England – if you are migrating you can expect very much less ‘house’ here than you would have had in UK.. Yet prices continue rising and there is a shortage as the population is increasing. A depressed housing market in Melbourne means prices are not going up as fast as they did the year before, but still going up. There are huge differences between localities, often close to each other – the mysterious desirability factor and the availability of public transport. Purchasing is out of the question for younger people and rents are high. So broadly similar problems as in UK but apparent market structure and drivers quite different.
    I guess the bottom line is that there is a complex set of drivers of prices and demand and some are structural meaning they develop over a long time period and remain impervious to government interventions. Jobs are probably the main driver. Looking at Perth, during a mining boom prices sky-rocket, now prices are falling as employment drops. What the government does is largely irrelevant to property prices but it can act to help people impacted by market fluctuations.

    UK should look at property markets elsewhere to identify what it is sensible for governments to attempt to do – probably a lot less than appeals to ambitious politicians.

  53. B Rush
    June 24, 2017

    “Some UK ministers want Hammond as caretaker PM” says reuters. I’d prefer him to be just cartetaker and in charge of the brush and mop cupboard in Parliament.

  54. lojolondon
    June 25, 2017

    Every year there are 650,000 more people arriving in the UK, the vast majority of whom require housing. As long as this continues, there will never be enough houses. Unfortunately, due to the political machinations of ALL parties, this means that British people lose out.

    1. hefner
      June 26, 2017

      Another angle to the housing problem: how long do house builder companies sit on ground they have bought before developing such ground?
      From 1991 to 2006 house prices increased by 200%, land prices by 400%. Can you see why the Barratt, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Telford, Galliford Try, Berkeley, Bovis, Crest Nicholson, and Gleeson were not too keen to start building during all these years? So much better to sit on it, no cost or very little and the average share price of most of these companies going up. Specially when the cost of building a house is roughly four times the cost of buying the ground.
      All this information has been available for years in the annual reports to shareholders of these companies. Did the various Governments do anything? Not really as the top brass of companies is usually not very far from politicians (of all colours).
      The situation has changed after 2006 with the prices of new houses jumping higher and higher and the price of land not moving much.
      But the effect of 15 years of low building rate is still felt today with a lack of housing of all sizes together with very high and continuing to rise prices in areas of demand.

  55. Marvin
    June 25, 2017

    Though I agree on most of Mr. Redwood says – I strongly disagree on the Housing issue. The Housing projects are for one purpose only and that is to raise money for the economy. If there were truly a demand for houses – there would not be the 1.5 million houses for sale in the UK that Rightmove have on its books. Yes there is a housing shortage in the South, because most of the immigrants to the UK want to be near the capital.
    If there had been no housing projects, properties in the UK would have reduced in price as they did in Ireland. For there would not have been the demand for high cost housing, and if houses are not selling the prices are reduced.
    The housing projects are money spinners. Councils are paid to inform the Government of ANY plots of land available, green or brown belt. The government sells agreements to build on that land to building companies. The building companies build x-amount of houses and allow a certain percentage to be sold over to Housing Associations – mostly foreign investors who then charge to rent out the properties. With these new properties there is an added chief / ground rent for the new owner/occupier to pay every year . This can be bought up for a mere few hundred pounds, but not for a number of years – by which time these rents have been sold over to external companies who then charge approximately £8K for the owner/occupier to buy them up. The houses are made of cheaper materials that carry only a ten year guarantees, they are less than two thirds the size of traditional small houses, and the vast majority require repairs within six months of being built. Yet they cost more than a huge number of traditional houses. They are being sold on a Government Help to buy scheme – where the potential new owner pays part mortgage and part repayment on a loan to cover the rest of the mortgage. This means that if the new owner wants to move after the first couple of years, the loan repayment has to be made in full on the sale of the house. This means that the new owner OWES money from the sale of the house and is left in large debt. The houses devalue after they have been sold, because they are no longer new. The government makes money from the contracts, from council taxes and the necessary insurances etc., The only person who really loses is the new house owner.
    It would be far wiser placing those on benefits in houses that are up for sale, and deducting mortgage repayments from their benefits instead of paying for their rent. It would also be beneficial to stop the deposits required for new houses and allow those who have good track records for paying rent to continue to pay as a mortgage repayment. This would encourage those on benefits to be far more responsible and reduce crime in areas.

  56. a-tracy
    June 26, 2017

    Can we ask:

    1) of the one million UK citizens living in the EU what % are living in social housing or private rental funded by housing benefit.
    2) of the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK what % are living in social housing or in private rental funded by Housing benefit.

  57. REPay
    June 26, 2017

    Owning your own house is not a right – may politicians seem to speak as though it were. For most of the recent decades buying a property has seemed a real stretch. Property was one asset class that never dropped as much as it should have after the crash, partly because of the rapid growth of the population – particularly in the south east.

    I am opposed to help to buy schemes, I doubt the role of government should be to help specific individuals with capital purchases. It seems unfair. However, I think there could be more social housing or semi-social housing, providing existing social housing is sold to fund it. Our housing associations need reviewing – the executives seem to be extravagantly rewarded and to be resistant to any change/liberalization.

  58. Lindsay McDougall
    June 27, 2017

    There is a very simple solution. As well as increasing housing supply, knock spots off demand by sacking Carney, raising interest rates and putting a complete tourniquet on immigration. I am not here talking of tinkering. I want house prices to drop by at least 30% relative to wages.

    On the supply side, I am told that small builders will accept lower profits than big developers with expensive Directors to support. This line comes from no less an economist than Liam Halligan, who knows a thing or two about underlying price levels. Government and Councils can help by ending their preference for working with big developers. It is possible for a Council to design the road system and services of an estate and sell off plots to small builders to develop.

  59. Pat
    June 27, 2017

    Good morning
    Apologies for being late.
    There is no need to sell the idea of home ownership, this is highly desired already.
    However the combined cost of a house and a mortgage is far too high for many to pay, so they either rent or stay with their parents.
    Increased interest rates would make it easier to save a deposit and reduce the price of houses, but would also increase the cost of mortgages making housing no cheaper than it is now.
    The problem is our old friend supply and demand. We have failed to build enough homes to accommodate the people here.
    So the choice is either build a lot more homes or deport people.
    How many homes? Enough that the price of land with planning permission falls to match the price of land without it. The planning system has caused the shortage, without a serious reform of that there is no solution.
    It’s simple-but not easy!

  60. Steve
    June 30, 2017

    A really interesting article here.

    It makes the case for the benefits of owning your own home very eloquently. You’d need a heart of stone not to feel sympathy for those young people starting out in life but seeing home ownership as beyond their reach due to the very high cost of housing, especially in areas such as ours.

    Quite rightly the article identifies that we urgently need to reduce house prices from their current levels. The keys to doing this are to either increase supply or reduce demand.

    We are limited on what we can do to control supply – we have an ageing population and it would be economically extremely foolhardy to restrict the supply of young, motivated workers eager to build a life for themselves and contribute to our economy that immigration brings. We urgently need them to pay for the pensions and health and social care of our ageing population. It would be even more foolhardy given the economic uncertainties we face over Brexit.

    We are left then with the supply side. This is a nettle that no government has had the guts to grasp for decades. We urgently need to invest in building new homes in this country – a proper government-led investment that will bring house prices down and solve the problems of low quality and insufficient housing in our great country.

    The post rightly calls out the nonsense that selling council stock necessarily reduces the ability of the council to provide housing. As long as the council invests in a new home whenever they sell one (and yes, they can use the proceeds from that sale!) then the stock of available housing does not decrease. Sadly, too often, local councils use the sale money for other purposes. We also need a law that when a council sells a property, they must replace it with a property or properties housing at least as many people unless they can show their waiting list is empty, or nearly empty.

    Let’s take the bold action needed to get our young people on the property ladder!

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