New homes and the changing High Street

In some parts of the country house prices are high and affordable homes for sale are in short supply. Home ownership has been falling as a percentage of all households, as more young people decide they cannot manage the deposit and the interest on the mortgage, or find they cannot borrow enough to get started on the housing ladder.

Despite this home ownership remains the preferred tenure of most people. There are many people in rented accommodation who would like to buy, whilst anyone in a home of their own can sell up and rent if they wanted to. It makes sense for most people to want to own. Over your lifetime it is considerably cheaper to buy than to rent. As you approach retirement if you own your own home you look forward to the mortgage paid off and no rental payments. You just have to put up with the Council tax. If you are in rented property you know that as a pensioner on a lower income than when at work you will face your highest housing bills of your life, as rents continue their upwards march. If you buy one house and stick with it you might be paying mortgage payments for 20-25  years. If you rent a property you will be paying rent for 60-70 years or more.

If you own you can improve and decorate your home as you like, and you can borrow against its value. It may help you build a business. The only downside of owning is you, not the landlord, are responsible for repairs. Most UK houses are of sturdy brick and tile construction and do not need major structural work over their lives.

So the question is how can we encourage or help more people to help themselves by buying?  We need to work on both perceptions and realities. Some think a home is not affordable but maybe it is. Whilst it is true that homes cost a much higher ratio of income today than 40 years ago, interest rates today are a lot lower than they used to be. As a result the early years of mortgage payments are not so different from past experience. Clearly there is a risk if rates went up again, but modern mortgages usually allow a fixed rate period to get you through the early years whilst your pay rises to make it all more affordable. For others in some parts of the country homes are not easily affordable even allowing for lower rates. This requires expansion of supply of sensibly priced homes.

Here the changes in shopping may be of help. We live in a world where there is too much shop space for the amount of retail business transacted through stores. On line purchases are now 30% of all non food retail activity, and growing. Competitive pressures between big chains has boosted the amount of floorspace on offer. There is plenty of evidence that well known retail names are  now considering cutting the number of stores they run and reducing their trading area. This represents an opportunity for conversion or replacement of their space with housing.

In some cases it could  be the out of town retail park that is surplus to requirements. These would make suitable sites for comprehensive redevelopment as housing. In other cases it will be the end of the old shopping centre that has been bypassed by new space elsewhere at the heart of the town or city. These properties too can be subject to change of use to reflect the altering pattern of demand.

There are many other ways of finding sites for more affordable homes for sale that I might cover in future articles. Meanwhile it will take people to want to transform these older shopping areas to help add to the supply, and imaginative policies to help individuals who want to take on the task themselves of creating a home out of former commercial premises. There are now good examples around the country of blocks of flats springing out from within old commercial buildings. My flat in London started life as an office block.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Lifelogic
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Well we need more houses both to rent and to buy (or fewer people and prices would then reduce. So relax planning, get rid of some of the green crap that makes building more expensive and properties less pleasant (with over small windows etc.). Also get rid of the excessive taxation when you buy or move or rent. Taxes that are idiotic and mainly come from the economic illiterate Philip Hammond.

    You say:- Over your lifetime it is considerably cheaper to buy than to rent. Well it can be where prices increase significantly but not always. Often house prices stagnate or go down. Rent also includes maintenance, insurance, repairs and you have the ability to move more freely at short notice and without being mugged by Hammond’s huge taxes or moving. The main reason buyers end up better off is that buying forces you to save by repaying the mortgage whereas renters tend to spend what they have left after rent.

    If renters invested the deposit needed to buy a house wisely and added to this saving they could well do just as well. But most do not. Hammond is also taxing tenants hugely with his double taxation of landlord interest and his extra 3% stamp duty on buy to lets. The man is a total menace to the economy.

    At the end of the day if you do not have cash you either rent the house or you rent the money to buy the house. With Hammond’s anti Conservative up to 15% purchase taxes it only really makes sense to buy if you are staying put for some years. Buying a one bed, then a two, then a small house, then moving for a job, then a big house and then a retirement bungalow cost you a fortune in stamp duty, VAT, land registration, valuations, mortgage fees, removal and legal costs.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      The Misguided regulation of buy to let bank lending by this appalling socialist government also pushes up rents and landlord interest costs irrationally.

      Perhaps a special place in hell for Hammond’s and his highest and most idiotic taxes for 40 years and his conducting of project fear to try ensure the UK gets an appalling EU deal. Not that I believe in hell of course any more than catastrophic climate alarmism the new version.

      Really any place in hell should be reserved for those using the pathetic jumped up ruse of the Irish Border and threat of resumed violence to force the UK to accept an appallling deal. No, no, no as Thatcher might have put it. Baroness Kennedy in the Lords came very close to doing this. Alastair Campbell even told the Irish PM to play hard ball on this issue.

      • Hope
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Mass immigration with free housing has caused a huge demand on housing. You still fail to omit the obvious failings of your govt. It repeatedly lied over its immigration policy to cut numbers while actual numbers reached historic record highs. Javid’s latest scam/plan has no means to control anything delegating/deferring responsibility to the UN migration pact!

        Dreadful, truly dreadful Govt. The worst in living memory. Today we all cringe as traitor May goes begging to the EU again. Just to go there demonstrates it is a BAD agreement and NOT the trade deal promised. Her lies unravelled before her. No longer a transition, nothing to transition to, no longer an implementations she has got nothing to implement, but a deliberate unlimited extension on worse terms in servitude!

        She is humiliating us all. She cannot keep her word longer than a few days. May now firmly back to her original servitude plan with slight changes to her self imposed backstop. She could at least scrap the point about not criticising the EU after Tusk’s latest outburst. It also demonstrates bad faith in negotiation as it goes to the heart of his attitude. Vote with Labour and get rid of her.

        • Martin R
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          Fully agreed. I would have tended to describe May’s antics as grovelling rather than merely begging, but that’s me. As you say voting Labour and installing the terrorist hugging lunatics in power seems to be the only way forward because she won’t go any other way.

          • Hope
            Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

            JR, by owning your home Tories try to hammer you with taxes.

            Hammond trying to sneak through another death tax today by statutory instrument by calling it fee! From £250 to administer probate to thousands!

            It is not a fee it is a death tax. Can we assume you will oppose it? Does it not need 12 MPs to oppose to be debated?

          • Caterpillar
            Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            Stuck in a CU forever with Labour. Leaving with Corbyn is OK if Corbyn was actually backing leaving. There is no Brexiteers supporting party (yet).

        • Andy
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          There is no such thing as ‘mass immigration with free housing.’ It is untrue. False. A lie.

          Worse, it is dangerous and divisive. Some people will believe the nonsense you spew. They will repeat it – and this is how lies become the truth.

          Immigrants do not get free home. You can confirm this on the governments own official websites if you can be bothered to read.
          But I know that sharing rubbish is easier for most of you than actually establishing facts.

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        There is a marvellous clip on youtube(“Putin turns the table on Poland-awkward”)from the days when Tusk was PM of Poland and at a joint press conference with Mr Putin brings up,out of the blue,the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.When he has finished,Mr P,cool as a cucumber,reminds Tusk of the 1934 Poland-Nazi Pact, the 1938 “Munich Collusion”by which the Germans and Poles partitioned Czechoslavakia and various other things from Poland’s interbellum history that were later given a cold war whitewash,making Tusk look a complete and utter idiot.

        • Hope
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          May has broke another record today: highest taxation, more homeless, largest defeat in parliament. This one far more serious, the highest murder rate for a decade and highest number of fatal stabbings since records began! How is her policy on cutting police numbers by 20,000 and preventing stop an search going?

          May might also like to look at the ethnicity of offenders and victims? Even with her dull virtual signalling she will not be able to twist the figures and who ought to be stopped more than others.

          Tragic but this is total disaster May for you.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      You should tax a small % profits if you have too, high turnover taxes are hugely damaging to the economy. Planning gain taxes and excessive and slow planning cost are another expense that pushes up housing cost. As are over high monopoly utility connection charges.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:12 am | Permalink

        Taxing “profits” that landlords are not even making (thus forcing up rents and killing supply) as Hammond has done is totally idiotic, just like the (PPE yet again) dope himself.

        • Hope
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          Highest taxation in fifty years! You forgot they have hiked taxes for you to die as well! No longer keeping their huge tax increases while you are alive they want more when you die and while in your last few years want your house as well for adult social care. May then says: Nothing has changed!

          Shockingly Hammond and May lie to say they are low tax conservatives. Neither are they low tax nor conservative.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            Indeed yet the health Service leaved someone’s Mum in Devon on thw floor with a broken HIP for over four hours so that the son gets there first on from London even by public transport.

          • TRP
            Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

            Sorry mate, but if you are unable to organise your finances beforehand (and quite legally obviously) you deserve what you get. The same thing for the multi-BTL owner.
            When my wife and I were thinking about buying our very first house in the 80s, we were paying a rent of £300/month. When a very few years later, we decided to buy we started with a £250 monthly mortgage, which went up to almost £300 thanks to Mrs T and the brilliantly clever clogs in her Cabinet. So even at £300 after 20 years (with an average of 5% inflation/year) we had a house whose price had been multiplied by roughly 3 still about 30% more than the price of the house including inflation.
            If anybody is an avid taker of the type of dope that LL is pushing almost every day, please be my guest.

      • Martin R
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Remember that indirect taxation has two functions. Firstly it hides from the public the full horror of the amount taken in taxes by the state sector by spreading taxes thinly throughout the economy. Secondly it enables the government to control the economy by incentivising or penalising businesses and so prevents the public guiding the economy via market forces. However it doesn’t matter at what point in the economy taxes are raised, they will all ultimately, without fail, be paid in their entirety by real flesh and blood human beings. And real flesh and blood human beings are the only thing that matters.

    • jerry
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      @LL; Why would the new homes sector lower their existing prices for new builds, why would any landlord lower rental rental price, simply because there are more homes?

      You say govt should relax planning but there is no shortage of land that has at least outline planning consent, and already owned by development companies yet they simply sit on vast swaths of land – land-banking in other words. The reason these developments are not happening is because the profit margarines are not high enough, so the developers tell us!…

      The only way Landlords are going to lower their price is if there is effective and plentiful competition in the rental sector, the State also needs to stop the privatisation of profit and nationalisation of the losses within the rental market, the latter due to the payment of housing benefits. We need a renewal of LA council house stocks [1], if the private sector doesn’t like it tough, they can always sell their property portfolios back into the non rental housing sector, or of course they can raise the quality of their portfolios to attract those that could afford to buy but have made the choice to rent instead.

      [1] perhaps using some the banked land above, the builders will still be happy, as for the developers, pay them the market price for the land and refund the cost of any planning applications previously made on the land.

      • Kevin Lohse
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        “Profit margarines”, to grease the wheels of commerce?🤔

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      On the Continent renting is quite normal because it is affordable. In Britain rent often costs more than a mortgage.

      By the time a professional graduate reaches a mortgageable wage they are on 66% tax (including student loan at 6%)

      The “20-25 year mortgage cleared” days are over.

      At the end of a life of debt the house will be taken off them to pay for their care.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Rent includes Insurance, repairs, maintance, boiler cover, Service charges on flats and the risk of non payment of rent or vacant periods, agents fees, potential recked properties…. is it simplistic to compare rent with just interest only on a mortgage.

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          Whatever. Renting is not the major cost it is here on the Continent. That is partly due to the elevated house prices because owners are holding on to them instead of releasing them to market. Including old people trapped by percentage rated estate agent fees and stamp duties.

        • jerry
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          @LL; Your point being what exactly, you think the rental sector on the Continent do not have the same costs as those in the UK, do they not have to keep their boilers safe, insure their properties against damage and lost income etc?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 8, 2019 at 3:49 am | Permalink

            To compare rent to interest only on a mortgage is not a sensible comparison. The main reason houses are cheaper on the continent is more land, more supply, less restrictive planning and fewer people relative to houses.

          • jerry
            Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            @LL; You appear to be making a very good case that the State, via LAs and charities, is the only Landlord who can provide affordable (Social or otherwise) housing to an acceptable & safe standard here in the UK!

            Funny how many private landlords expect asymmetrical capitalism, privatised profits but nationalised losses (via assured HB payments etc.), if you can not balance your books then your business model is untenable, not planning or building regulations, nor the rights of the customer.

        • Stred
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          The new bill will prevent the claim for loss against tenants for certain damaged items and loss of keys, according to the landlords society in Brighton. This is on top of any house with more than 2 unrelated tenants being considered an HMO which can cost many thousands and requires accreditation, electrical inspection, EHO inspection with uncertain requirements, thermal insulation which is almost impossible and a nice fst fee of £700.

      • Martin R
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s known as the “Cradle to Grave” welfare state in action. Welfare for the masses as only politicians can provide it. How gullible we were ever to believe that such a thing as private property existed.

    • Alison Phillips
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Well said LifeLogic. Philip Hammond is rationing houses & over taxing. The “Tories” are new labour. If the property market was freed up from taxes then oldies could downsize & landlords lower rents …

      Business rates are too high too & should be slashed in half & ZERO for food shops such as butchers, grocers.

    • Peter
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I am all for the redevelopment of brown field sites. Old factories that would never come back into use.

      The problem with converting shops is that if you convert them all the town ceases to exist. It is no longer a commercial centre – just a residential area. Residents then have to travel to bricks and mortar shops or get things delivered.

      That put me in mind of the 60s overspill flats for Glasgow where it was all accommodation with no shops or entertainment provision. Not properly thought through – a piecemeal solution where the problems were not considered until after it was constructed.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        We already see that. As the jobs go the people move in. Incredible !

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Allow them to convert to housing or remain or turn back to shops as they choose then let supply, economics and demand control which are shops and which are residential.

    • Dan Rushworth
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      I would actually condemn George and his policies against smaller landlords. But Philip and Co should look to rectify, but they are not.

  2. Mark B
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink


    Not that I am counting 😉

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      50 days but it will not happen under the dire socialist, and appeaser T May. Not in any real sense anyway.

    • Bob
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure that the govt will find a reason to put the clocks back before the 29th March.

      • Martin R
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Please do not give them ideas. There’s no knowing where they might go with that one. We might find ourselves back in the year 2000 or wherever before we knew what happened.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Just so. Hold hard the Brexiteers, be ready when Mrs. May comes back with nothing more than a side letter and claims it a ‘great breakthrough’ (peace in our time) type fanfare.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Just like Cameron’s thin gruel.

    • Chris
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      It seems more and more likely that we will not get Brexit. The latest in The Sun:

      Theresa May to scrap Tory unity plan for better Brexit deal once EU officials shoot it down to her face
      Ministers close to No 10 said the PM secretly wants to ditch the plan, drawn up by Tory Leavers and Remainers, but wants the EU’s help

      “…government whips now think they could whittle down the ERG’s rebellion to around 20 diehards if the PM does win other legally binding changes.
      And up to 60 Labour MPs will back the PM’s Brexit deal if she allows Parliament a say in trade talks – ex-Shadow Minister Lisa Nandy declared yesterday.
      She said a commitment that Parliament could help “frame” Britain’s post Brexit direction after March 29 could be enough to get a huge number of opposition MPs over the line….”

      • Steve Pitts
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        That is effectively staying in the EU but worse

        • Martin R
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Exactly. May: “Result!”

        • Andy
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          No – it is Brexit. But you are right that it is worse than staying in the EU.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          It is indeed.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Me too !!! Then we can think of investing in the U.K. longterm – buying property and ‘laying down wine’!

    • Martin R
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      If they had called it Days to BINO that would have been closer to the mark.

  3. David Price
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Why the rush to convert everything to poor quality housing.

    What of the wider needs of the community – affordable places develop a business and work, libraries and education, leisure and sports.

    Wokingham and Lower Early have comparable populations and are “towns” yet only the former would be recognisable as a town with a centre and broad mix of facilities and activities. Lower Earley is a merely housing dominated by an oversized supermarket and undersized transport infrastructure. This modern “town” has no sense of community and is simply a dormitory.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Poor quality housing is better than living on a tent or a caravan.

      • David Price
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        Only “better” for the developers and landlords.

      • Stred
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        I once lived in a tent for 6 months. It was very comfortable and I had a swimming pool. Friends visited for the ambience.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 8, 2019 at 3:51 am | Permalink

          Rather better in summer than winter in the UK.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      I think libraries are going the way of high street shops, there is a much reduced need for them as physical buildings as people obtain their information and books on-line (I borrow e-books from my local library on-line) however it is a sacrosanct article of faith that they are a good thing and that more is better and that this view should never be challenged.

      • David Price
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Libraries are more than books, they started as a means to share knowledge and find a modern role as community places to learn and do things. Many are changing in to maker spaces and workeries to learn and share skills, start new enterprises etc.

        high streeets aren’t just shops, they are at the centre of communities and could be used for much more than simple consumption. Instead the opportunities are squandered by greedy developers and councils turning them into residential housing.

      • Al
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        What libraries also used to supply as well as books were desks, quiet reading and working space, and more recently computer and internet access to those who could not afford it. This made them ideal for students.

        The loss of the “quiet” policies in libraries (our local is no longer allowed to request silence) has done more to reduce their use than the drop in books.

      • Den
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        You should visit my town library. Hundreds call in every day to borrow books or to use the Internet or leave their children while they shop. All manned by volunteers and God bless them for it has become a MUST!
        As for e-books. It is horses for courses and I prefer a book to read in bed than hold up a tablet computer that needs fiddling attention gets to make my arm ache. I am not alone with that thought in our library.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Yup. No extra infrastructure and reduced services with the mega estates being built around here.

    • Peter
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. However, town planning is probably anathema to many on here.

      Milton Keynes was a recent example of how to do things . Accommodation, and a hospital, shops and facilities all linked to the main rail network and with clear roads albeit designed more with cars in mind than buses. Haussmann in Paris in the last century did a superb job of transforming a city. In London, they just knocked down the worst of the slums/rookeries and put new roads through where it was thought desirable,

      I have been revisiting some of our fine towns from Berwick on Tweed to Lewes using Alec Clifton-Taylors ‘Six English Towns’ books for reference. He is all for the use of original local materials. These places are still a real delight. OK this does not address the demand for new homes but it should make us aware that some of the fabric of our towns are well worth preserving.

      In my part of the world local councils want to turn everywhere into another Croydon – concrete high rises etc.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    It was certainly not “considerably cheaper to buy than to rent” when another appalling idiot lead the Conservatives and John Major gave us the ERM and 17% + mortgage rates – and collapsing property values. You cannot so easily walk away from a mortgage (as you can rent) when idiotic governments do predictably moronic things with an economy. Due to their love of the dire EU and the EURO disaster project.

  5. Mick
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    You only have to go down any high street in Britain and all the empty shops with empty accommodation above them it’s not rocket science to use them as homes
    Off topic
    If the Labour Party had made this clear in there 2017 manifesto instead of the jackanory jibberage they wouldn’t have got the amount of mps in Parliament and the Tory’s would have had there majority, bring on the next GE so we can put into power true British patriots and not Eu loving money grabbing remoaners

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink


      Closed because a certain internet giant is subsidised by the government with its slave wages and tax avoidance – and then it undercuts the high street to kill it by selling goods below cost.

      Talking to yet another shop owner telling me the same.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        The council killing it off further with parking charges, congestion charges etc.

    • Stred
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      There are many high streets in outer London with shops with one or two storeys above, many post war and very unattractive and a hotchpotch of styles and sizes. The ground floors have been modernised but the upper floors and rear of the property is a mess.

      It would be possible to build a deck above and demolish the empty rooms, then build a four or more storey housing development with attractive elevations and terraced garden spaces, linked by overhead walkway. Parking is often already available at the rear with an access road.

      The high street shopping area could be covered partially and columns placed away from the existing frontages.

      The whole development would house many who liked to live centrally and provide customers for cafes and pubs. But it would take imaginative council planning to coordinate it.

      • Stred
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        I thought of suggesting that our council did some pro active planning and redesigned the high street. But it would have been like trying to get chimps to eat with knives and forks.

    • Martin R
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      The Eu loving money grabbing remoaners are the majority of the Tory Party, partly thanks to Cameron’s and May’s machinations and partly because that’s how Tories are, and there is no way they are ever going to stand aside for anyone of remotely conservative political persuasion to lead the country out of the shambles they have presided over.

  6. Mick
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink
    • Bill Grand
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      A clear path to Labour accepting Brexit. Mrs May will now get her deal through by pivoting to a permament customs union.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Labour want a Brexit with non of the benefits of leaving the EU it seems.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Those are Labour’s terms. What are the EU’s terms for accepting them though ? Freedom of movement. Corbyn daren’t mention that.

      • Mick
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        I must be missing something here, so Corbyn wants to stay in a custom union and a single market which to myself and millions more isn’t leaving the Eu , let’s have a General Election AFTER we have left the dreaded Eu on March 29th and let the people vote out all these Eu loving mps and put people in place who believe in Great Britain and not the Eu

        • Billy Lomas
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          Mrs May and Mr Corbyn are moving towards a cross-party agreement. Leave the EU, but stay forever in the customs union and the single market, with the UK committing to follow EU rules on both internal and external trade permanently. We need a deal, this is in the national interest, and I commend Mrs May and Mr Corbyn for facing down the extremist backbenchers.

        • Martin R
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          Who would people vote for? They know now that the Tories and Labour will renege on their promises, and that if they vote UKIP first past the post voting will ensure their votes are wasted and either Labour or Conservatives will get in by default.

          • Steve
            Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

            Martin R

            That’s what will make the next GE very interesting and like no other before.

            It is where the main political parties will get their arses kicked.

  7. David in Kent
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Any change of of use the sensible sort proposed here is going to require planning permission and that really is a pain for an individual to get. For big developers with a planning department it may be no problem but for a young person, working full time, in an old city with lots of listed buildings it takes a lot of trouble and time.
    The problem is how to allow the flexibility to allow beneficial change without giving permission for ruthless developers and architects to destroy our ancient city centres.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Yup. Relax planning controls where prices are particularly high – say Beaconsfield and Lewes.

      Cram the places choc full of cheap housing – then the residents there might understand why we voted for Brexit.

      And my ! What a kindergarten the House of Commons has been made to look by that decision. A revelation.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Our ancient city centre was all but destroyed by ‘ruthless developers’ back in the 1960s when we lost many beautiful Tudor and Georgian buildings and were left with appallingly ugly 60s-style blocks. They now are covered in seagull poo and are the home to scruffy shops on the ground floors. Even today’s idea of smart architecture would be an improvement if these could be developed. We can never regain what’s lost but at least we might provide homes in the city centre and nearby.
      The empty higher storeys of what little remains of our beautiful buildings need to be turned into dwellings. Their dirty windows and scruffy curtains do little for our city centre – turning these into flats would be a distinct improvement. The listed buildings that we are left with are outstandingly grimy and grim. And we’re not even an industrial centre!
      We are badly served by our City Council – always have been.

  8. Javelin
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    In the lawyers herbertsmithfreehills “Brussels briefings” they say.

    “the backstop is inconsistent with the aim of the Treaty on the European Union to promote peace (expressed in its Article 3) since it is inconsistent with the institutional provisions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and therefore undermines it.”

    So much for main purpose of the EU being peaceful.

    You can get a plastic toy soldier warm the plastic up and remould it into an angel. When you warm the angel up the internal stresses in the plastic will pull it back into the shape of a soldier.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Agree totally. Not to mention their desperation for an EU army!

    • Andy
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Actually – the backstop is there to guarantee peace. Peace which the Brexiteers have repeatedly proven is an after thought for them. None of you have yet been able to come up with a solution to the incoherence and inconsistencies at the heart of Brexit.

      And, no, the schoolboy ‘plan’ by PeeWee Baker and the increasingly unhinged Lord Lilley does not come close to dealing with it. Ranting at reality is not a solution – but it is all the Brexiteers seem to have.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      @ javelin

      A very long shot..Good luck with that.

  9. sm
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    May I take (slight) issue with your comment about most houses in the UK being of solid construction?

    Speaking from personal experience, much of the housing stock so many of us grew up in, and owned during our working years, dates from mid-C19th to the 1920/30s and inevitably require costly maintenance simply because of age (decaying damp courses, leaking roofs, unsafe wiring etc). Many of those houses on SE England’s clay soil are also suffering from subsidence (two lots of friends in their 80’s are currently attempting to deal with this), and houses of the 1920s were often built by inexperienced labourers and now have ensuing problems.

    For brevity’s sake, I will not enter into a justifiable rant about the appalling quality of the bulk of homes built within the last 20 years that I know about!

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Yes. We had to stop the estate agent from sending us houses younger than 20 years old. Built out of paper.

      The other costs keeping house prices artificially high:

      Stamp duty

      Estate agent fees

      Both set unreasonably on a percentage. Has the work done by an estate agent gone up in value by the thousands more they charge than ten years ago ?

      • Stred
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        As energy prices double, in order to pay for renewables, older houses will become very expensive to heat. Present regulations make insulation expensive and much space is lost when outside insulation is impractical, as with terraced houses.It would be possible to improve insulation in much less expensive ways were it not for building control and ignorant decisions on types of construction. My house was insulated this way before the regulations came in and I have very low bills and little loss of space.

        • Steve
          Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

          @ stred

          “older houses will become very expensive to heat.”

          I own a victorian house. I have a log burning stove, and changed to key meters.

          In this way I don’t get any nasty surprises with direct debits, and can go off grid for heating whenever I feel like it.

          The stove heats the entire house, and has a hot plate for cooking on. They can shove their rip off gas where the sun don’t shine.

          • Stred
            Posted February 8, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            They are now trying to ban wood burning stoves, having encouraged them as renewable.

          • Steve
            Posted February 8, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            @ Stred

            “They are now trying to ban wood burning stoves, having encouraged them as renewable.”

            Of course, they won’t succeed.

            I suspect it has to do with energy suppliers miffed because people are able to refuse to buy gas at rip off prices.

            They don’t like it, and the electricity suppliers recently complained about LED lights. They haven’t got a cat in hells chance of stopping people using fire as a means to keep warm – laugh at them, while roasting your toes.

  10. Everhopeful
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    This idea has been lurking in the background for years. Don’t worry there are areas ( eg here) that have already been devastated ..Post Offices into housing…Petrol Stations into housing,many shops into housing,army barracks into housing, acres of MOD owned houses ( homes for soldiers) sold off for a song.
    The long held politicians dream of having us all shut in our homes 24/7 is fast becoming a reality…there won’t be any incentive to go out.
    It seems locally that people are either profiteering from the huge numbers of homeless people or taking matters into their own hands to house their extended families, judging by the number of new mobile homes and huge sheds in gardens.
    If the housing market is to be brought out of gridlock something needs to be done about Stamp Duty which puts off buyers at the higher end of the market. Not very likely to happen is it? It might also help if govt stopped pushing up prices with schemes like “Help to Buy”.
    Anyway, who wants to spend money moving when no one has any idea what nightmarish schemes this govt might have in store for any given area?
    Has anyone stopped to consider (what with all this concreting over that is going on ) where ( enough) electric car charging stations will go? Oh..on the Green Belt with several million new houses?
    Small island …not enough room! Laws of physics can’t be changed although liberals generally disagree.

  11. Dominic
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    This is indeed a sterile issue for debate and indeed one that will have your readers running for the door. On the list of important issues to address, to debate and to discuss it probably ranks, at the bottom.

    Your readership is far more exercised by the popular issues of the day.

    • David Price
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      You speak only for yourself. Presonally, I appreciate opportunities to debate other topics that may have more positive aspects and outcomes than the increasingly toxic relationships with our government and between them and the EU.

  12. Dave Andrews
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Put a “country full” sign up and say “no more immigration”.
    Introduce a rule that all house owners must be a UK resident natural person (except for councils and housing associations).
    Place a limit on an individual’s housing portfolio value, sufficient for retirement income say.

    See what difference that makes to availability and affordability.

  13. Javelin
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    New FTA agreement proposed today

  14. Iain Gill
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Lots of freelancers cannot get mortgage, despite earning more than PAYE workers who can.

    But most people would read your words and say for goodness sake reduce immigration. The political bubble clearly doesn’t get how badly out of tune with the country they are.

    House building supply and quality could easily be ramped up significantly, there are obvious measures which could be taken.

    But also the state needs to stop subsidising social housing in areas with no jobs where nobody wants to live.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      It’s true, Mr Gill. Ours is a multi-racial family (though we don’t choose to label ourselves – and that’s ”racial”, as our shared ”culture” is British). We see that our government is doing a grave disservice to people who came to this country and made it their own, through their hard work and commitment and loyalty, by now allowing an unrestricted influx of immigrants. This is bound to impact upon our children, all the younger generations.
      People who came in the past had to succeed by their own efforts – and generally they did. We now give away far too much, in many cases with nothing in return.

      Housing crisis + transport crisis + education crisis + NHS crisis + other crises
      = population crisis

    • Mark B
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      I am not defending the policy of MASS IMMIGRATION but, has anyone stopped to think what would happen if the government turned the taps off the human ponzi scheme ?

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        A terrible adjustment but better than the terrible adjustment that is coming.

  15. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    as more young people decide they cannot manage the deposit and the interest on the mortgage, or find they cannot borrow enough to get started on the housing ladder.

    May I suggest that fractional reserve banking and quantitive easing have as much to do with the silly prices prevalent in the housing market as the other factors of which demand outstripping supply is the dominant catalyst.

  16. Bob
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    @Mr Redwood
    Uncontrolled immigration from countries with high fertility rates together with a welfare system that provides accommodation for anyone in need could have some bearing on the supply & demand ratio.

  17. jerry
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    The problem with mortgages is that many people have transient employment, not just the fixed (or even zero) hours contracts but those on fixed term contracts -true many are rehired but their is little or no job security.

    The prospect of committing to a 20-30 year mortgage for such people must be daunting, and perhaps impossible for the provider, couple to the fact that they will then be locked in to the vagaries of the housing market should they wish to move, perhaps to take up a new job 200 miles and away beyond any realistic daily commute.

    For such people the rental sector makes more sense, even if their dream is to own, but as you say, with rents out of control such tenants face a double whamy, no spare money to save for a deposit and having to face the prospect of having to carry on paying rent well past when a mortgage would have ended. Then of course in later life, the State often ends up paying some or all of the rent via housing benefits. Such people would be far served via LA social housing stock than the private sector, and so would the State, any (later) HB payments being circular money in effect.

  18. Chris Dark
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    We can’t keep on building endless numbers of houses just to get “affordable” prices. The rural areas are being destroyed by this thinking, I’ve never seen so many new-homes plots as I have in these past couple of years being tagged on to modest-sized villages. Builders always want fresh green fields, it has been said time and again that there should be more push to develop existing brownfield sites but this never seems to happen in any great quantity. I imagine quite a bit of the demand is white flight from blighted major cities. We are physically a small country with too many people….I wonder why?

    • forthurst
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Villages are all surrounded by fertile farmland otherwise they would not exist so tagging new build on to them is typical Tory cretinism.

      Of course, builders would like large chunks of greenfield to fill rather than brownfield, but that is not what the country needs.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      They are calling a local development of 5000 homes (bigger than the existing already-called TOWN) a ‘garden village’.

      If you want to stop being treated like a **** then stop voting Tory.

  19. Adam
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Change of use occurred in London Docklands, where drab run-down unwanted premises became transformed in profile attitude, demand & price.

    Transforming shopping centres & other such premises would help accommodate more. However, the fundamental problem is that of the UK being overcrowded. Maintaining a stable comfortable population would be a better solution than increasingly filling premises with residential accommodation for anyone wanting to enter & live in the UK.

    The symptoms of over-population have long-been revealed in inflated prices, blocked roads, excessive demand for inadequate services & many unpleasant consequential outcomes. In contrast, if the population was extremely small, even stately home ownership could be available for all.

  20. Ronald Olden
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    There’s nothing that can be done to make homes more affordable other than a drastic expansion of supply, both for sale, and for rent, (especially for social housing rent).

    Bringing old retail parks and urban shopping centres into residential use is an EXCELLENT idea. They’re goldmines for new housing and won’t suffer the debilitating nimbyism that exists when someone wants to built on unbuilt land.

    They also already have the necessary road communications, drainage, etc and by focussing the developments on older people and younger childless people, far less in way of infrastructure, especially schools, is needed.

    They’re also nice locations where people will want to live. Care needs to be taken to ensure that they don’t turn into the equivalent of sink estates but enough is known about planning now to make sure it doesn’t happen.

    In a market as we have now where supply doesn’t respond to demand, ALL attempts at helping people buy are bound to result, in higher prices.

    But one aspect of supply that can be dealt with very quickly indeed, is to ensure that all existing properties are offered for occupation.

    So there’s a role for heavy council tax penalties for periods when properties are left empty, and possibly for making non owner occupiers pay advance capital gains tax on their properties, to be credited against CGT when they sell.

    There also needs to be heavy taxes on builders who have land on which they have planning permission, but on they are not yet building.

    In short taxes should be sharply raised on all aspects of keeping property empty and development land unsold, and the money used to cut taxes for landlords when they ARE occupied or sold.

    There are also significant numbers of old people on incomes barely above the State Pension, who are living in social housing which is much too big for them, the reason being that people of pensionable age are not subject to the so called ‘bedroom tax’. So they are living in big family homes, rent and council tax free.

    This has to end. New (not existing) retirees should be brought into the same ‘bedroom tax’ regime as everyone else.

  21. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    There are innovative ways for people to get their own homes….. It should be so much easier, and perhaps cheaper too, to buy individual plots of land – but I suspect regulations against a self build are too complex for the average person.
    Banks should be encouraged to provide better rates to those that save with them, with an agreement to take out a mortgage in say 5 years… Then the land is bought, professional people engaged as required, or the individual calls on friends to do certain tasks – Mortgage payments would not need to be for 25years plus, and people would have the satisfaction of modelling their home – This type of scheme used to operate in Germany, and the individual homes were a nicer sight than the streets full of similar builds, in council house styles, that we see in the UK.

  22. Dominic
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink


    With all due respect we’re not interested in housing and high streets. We’re more interested in the betrayal of democracy being constructed at this very moment between your leader and Marxist Labour

    When you start to compose and post non-EU articles I become very suspicious and I suspect I’m not the only one to feel this way

    The humiliation of the UK and its people by an increasingly arrogant EU is simply unacceptable but that humiliation is compounded by the abuse of the British people by your leader and Marxist Labour

    Brexit WILL NOT HAPPEN with May as PM. She’s an EU imposter and she must be deposed or we will be betrayed and hung out to dry

    • Chris
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Dominic, you are right. There is the most catastrophic betrayal going on right under our noses, and right in front of Tory Brexiter MPs, and they are apparently standing by. I cannot state strongly enough my anger both with Theresa May and also her complicit MPs. Mr Redwood, please will you and those MPs who are honourable enough do something about it. I actually believe that MPs should leave the Tory Party en masse in disgust at this terrible betrayal.

      • Richard
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        They are standing by, because they have no real plan (as Tusk has reminded us) and are seeking to deflect blame for the resulting debacle on others.
        Many of us do have interests beyond ourselves, and even in the wellbeing of the high street.
        The imminent EU policies on anti tax avoidance would have provided some balance to beleaguered high street retailers versus tax dodging globals.

        • Mark B
          Posted February 8, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

          The biggest tax avoiders are EU Officials themselves.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

        Chris. Totally agree. I can’t get interested in other topics now while we are being led to the slaughter. The Tory party fills me with disgust at the present time. Nothing but a bunch of liars out for their own ends.

    • Martin R
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Yes she is an EU imposter. And no, she isn’t going anywhere.

    • Al
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      **When you start to compose and post non-EU articles I become very suspicious and I suspect I’m not the only one to feel this way**

      Dominic, I quite agree, but I do hold out hope it is more about offering well-rounded policy awareness for the post-Brexit period, particularly should there be a challenge to May. (Unnecessary, as simply not being May is enough to place anyone in a better position by comparison.)

    • Peter
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      The trouble is constant Brexit gets tiresomely repetitive unless there are new developments worth discussing. There are other things going on meanwhile.

      Poor old Duncan who used to post on here was very focussed on Brexit, but it seemed to wind him up more and more with no respite in prospect. I suspect he probably packed it in for health reasons.

      I do agree that May will pull some sort of stroke to thwart Brexit though.

  23. Kevin
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    “Whilst it is true that homes cost a much higher ratio of income today than 40 years ago, interest rates today are a lot lower than they used to be.”

    There is another view, that higher interest rates would lead to lower house prices. Do you have an argument against that view?

    • Martin R
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Higher interest rates would mean buyers paying more every month which would ultimately result in lower house prices as house prices fell to the point where they were as unaffordable as they were to begin with. So in the end no difference in the amount house buyers have to pay, which surely is the whole point. House prices are too high ultimately because too many people are chasing too few properties. That is thanks to years of mass immigration and also the fact that England was a small and very overcrowded country to begin with.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      The problem here is that if interest rates are too high people, unlike governments, will have to make cuts elsewhere in their personal finances to compensate. Less going out or fewer or no holidays etc. This would have a negative effect on the economy.

  24. GilesB
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Your post raises many issues …

    1. Young people. In the 1960s most people left school at 16. By their mid-twenties most of those who wanted to had saved enough for a deposit: by their mid-twenties they had been working for ten years and living at home. Today after the costs of living (often away from home) and education for another six years or more, the majority of young people are only just starting work by the mid-twenties. Of course they can’t buy a house of their own! The solution for most young people is to go to work/apprenticeships rather than university and to live at home (and put up with parental rules) or in some cases flat-share until they have saved a deposit.

    2. Fixed rates. For most people, it is a mistake to assume that their income will rise steadily, creating a future capacity for increased interest payments. It may be true for those in the professions and the public sector, but it isn’t for manual workers. Negative equity is going to be horrendous when interest rates rise. There is however a role for government to offer twenty-five year fixed rate mortgages: with MPs pensions being cut if inflation rises

    3. Location. If young people were willing to share until they can buy a house of their own, and most students lived at home, we wouldn’t have a housing shortage at all in terms of total capacity. We would still have a distribution problem. But the answer isn’t to build more housing in London: it is to move the jobs to where the houses are. It needs a radical programme. For example, move Parliament and the Treasury to Manchester. Move the Bank of England to Leeds. Move the Department of International Development to Cardiff. Move the Department of Education to Edinburgh … Half business rates in cities outside London, cut those in towns by 75%, double business rates within the M25. … Plan a jobs tax for London to be phased in over seven years, offset for companies which employ people more than 200 miles away from London.

    4. Stamp duty. Ridiculous. Directly causes misallocation of housing stock. Get rid of it entirely. No reason at all why Government should benefit from people moving house (save the very small fees to cover the cost s of the Land Registry).

  25. Anonymous
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    “Here the changes in shopping may be of help. We live in a world where there is too much shop space for the amount of retail business transacted through stores. On line purchases are now 30% of all non food retail activity, and growing.”

    Oh come on !

    You let the internet giants off tax. You then subsidise their slave labour wages with a welfare and immigration policy to suit them. You utterly spank the high street with business rates and parking charges, the internet sellers then sell below cost for a while to kill off the high street and then wax on like “Oh. It’s just something that’s happened naturally.”

    So you turn everywhere into soulless dormitory housing with no infrastructure and then expect us all to just sit and look at each other when it’s all done.

  26. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Traditional Christianity has always emphasised ownership – whether of home or country (sensibly attained).

    For ethical, practical and psychological reasons.

    That when a young couple marry, they literally become king and queen (in spiritual / practical sense – not arrogant sense) of their own home and family to be (and reflecting the notion of country’s monarch – that our country is ultimately a family under a monarch). But that with ownership comes responsibility.

    And just as the wider family and country has a responsibility towards that married couple to attain their own home, so that young married have responsibilities to their wider family and country as well. The young also have a responsibility to attain their own home, challenging as that may be now.

    In the Middle Ages, private ownership was attacked by heretics – with heresy often being both religious and political in nature – and a forerunner of socialism. Socialism is still the enemy of ownership. But we must also remember how, from one degree to another, our young and country as a whole has lost this vision or has had the vision diluted of home ownership and the GREAT need for it – in spiritual, practical and psychological sense.

    And how not owning one’s home, is also another element undermining the concept of the FAMILY and how important strong families are to the strength and well-being of our country in general – economic, health, patriotism, but just general well-being and happiness.

    God bless our country, the monarchy, and in particular – in light of this topic – our young that they might have a proper vision for the family and that they might own their own homes to be kings and queens of with lots of little princes and princesses!

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Sure, lots of people aspire to own a home, but aspiration is not the same as being serious about working out a detailed plan about how to reach and attain that – and the hard disciple and sacrifice that goes with that. So often our young are being distracted about, I don’t know what, spending lots of money on a holiday to Ibiza or own a snazzy car they can’t afford. That kind of thing.

      The young have to get serious. But we must also not forget that our country and the wider family of the young also have a responsibility towards the young to help them attain their own home (just as the young have a responsibility towards their extended family and country, as well, but in different ways, at least at their stage in life).

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Btw, the concept of the FAMILY is all interconnected with the concept of PATRIOTISM – both beautiful concepts. How amazing our country would be if people took them more seriously (getting misty-eyed when we hear Rule Britannia is not real patriotism but sentimentality – because patriotism is more than just emotion and beautiful music – important as that is – it is also intellectual and spiritual, in nature, and involves a lot of hard thinking, sacrifice and tears – as well as happiness …).

        God bless England. God bless the UK.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, I aspire to being a brilliant pianist, guitar player, composer and becoming fluent in many languages but I am not prepared to do the work and practice needed.

        I just want these talents bestowed on me. Of course people would prefer to “own” a house than to rent one belonging to others but are they prepared to do the work required to buy one?

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          Prepare for Corbyn .

          For every smug landlord there is a portfolio of liberals.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 8, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic, I don’t agree with your analogies!

          Learning many languages is a luxury and being a composer is very unusual compared to the basic need of most people to own their own home so that they can bring up their families in the most secure and steady, from a psychological POV, environment … (positively impacting each family member and the family as a whole – with profound positive effects for the economy and the country as a whole – more psychologically secure people are more productive, more patriotic, more healthy, more law-abiding and so on).

  27. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Dear John–The small factor that you miss is that devoting one’s life to paying off the mortgage means that if not careful one scarcely has a life, instead just a bigger house when one dies. Beancounting isn’t everything. And don’t mortgage payments suck demand out of the economy and all that good stuff?

    Reply IF you pay off the mortgage in 25 years you have many more years not having to pay rent.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Paying off is no longer a given over 25 years. Having any sort of asset or making any kind of effort makes one a huge tax target.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Dear Sir John–The 25 years are likely to be the best of one’s life or would have been had one not had to surrender them to pay the mortgage. Encouraging people to get rich just by owning a house is fundamentally wrong. One of the best things that could be done for the economy would be to keep house prices stable. Money for nothing is always going to have adverse consquences elsewhere.

      Reply House prices rose 0.8 % last year

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Dear Sir John–I can only ask SFW?–Rising house prices are part of the problem

      • Stred
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        A friend of mine bought a flat in Brighton at the top of the market. I said that landlords would be selling up and prices may come down. They have fallen by 1.3% since November. Re Zoopla.

  28. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I would love to see Jacob Rees-Mogg write an easy-to-read book on Public Virtue, giving people a VISION for Public Virtue, written in his particularly erudite and humorous way, inspired by traditional Christianity on things such as:

    – The Family
    – Patriotism
    – The Monarchy
    – Parliament
    – Private Ownership
    – Work Ethic

    And so on.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      And to give lots of examples where it’s working well and has worked well in the past. That Public Virtue is NOT just a vision / an ideal – but where it has worked in the past and is working today – and the ENORMOUS benefits to people in general, as a country and as individuals.

      This might sound a bit vague, but then I don’t work in publishing. I bet if Jacob came up with the right way of framing all this, it would be a popular read. And our country really does need such a book now – some kind of vision to give people, in particular the young (and it doesn’t have to be all preachy – traditional Christianity is rarely this …).

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        (I focus on Jacob only because he is popular in the public eye, appearing on I Have I Got News For You etc …).

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Dear Ed–Yes, except I would have put Patriotism. and our History, at the the top. Mind you, we scarcely have any History any more–Try asking anyone under say 25, or any recent incomer, when even the most basic dates are (Magna Carta foe example) and so far from knowing the date or what it was all about you will be lucky if they have heard of it.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        The only Magna Carta rights still in law are the right of the (Catholic) church in England to be independant from the State, the “ancient liberties” of the City of London & the right to due process of which only the third is of any real relevance & it only means the state has to follow the law, it doesn’t stop oppressive laws being introduced

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Also, Leslie, I agree with you about History. And with History, I think we need to include closely, The Arts, Architecture, Science, Invention, Entrepreneurship, Business, Nature (bringing nature to the towns, cities and suburbs and leaving the natural world – wild!), and so on.

        To me Patriotism is a BEAUTIFUL thing. Like a Fabergé Egg. And like a Fabergé Egg, it requires a lot of time and effort and imagination to create, and like a Fabergé Egg it is also very vulnerable to many, many hostile forces in our world, from every quarter – political, social, philosophical, economic, and so on.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 8, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

          (‘I agree with you about History’ – by that, I meant it’s a key element of Patriotism – nothing more or less than that).

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 8, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          By trad Christianity, I don’t just mean Catholicism in this country during the Middle Ages and later (including Shakespeare) but also traditional Protestant Christianity – such as that of Jane Austen, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Sir Christopher Wren, Handel, Sir Isaac Newton and others.

          (I’m Catholic in doctrine and sacraments – but Protestant in everything else – and spend my time challenging Catholics about the sins committed against Protestants and why we should apologise for them).

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 8, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          And one of the great sins of the Catholic Church was the Popes sticking their noses into the politics of other countries during the Middle Ages and later.

          Christ NEVER gave St Peter and his followers this temporal power that later Popes claimed (although they never claimed as part of the formal Magisterium or Doctrine of the Church).

          (And Pope John Paul II was right to apologise for all the sins of the Church including those committed by Popes in terms of politics and those sins against Protestants).

    • GilesB
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Good idea!


      Duty – there are no rights without responsibilities

  29. bigneil
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Did you deliberately miss the 3rd option? Those who turn up with no intention of owning OR renting. Those who turn up for a life on our taxes. Housing, paid for by us, Bills paid for by us ( their benefits are OUR taxes) NHS paid for by us, schooling paid for by us, translators because they won’t/can’t learn the language paid for by us.
    Keep waving the financial/social burden into the country – -and keep making us pay for them. Even the working class numpty can see the end result – and i’m glad i’ll be a pile of ashes or dust.

    • Martin R
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      We can’t go there, it’s sacred ground and must not be touched or even discussed in polite circles.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Or Soylent Green if Andy has his way.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Indeed people with many children paid for by taxes on people who have one or none (as they cannot thing they cannot afford more children). This as they are paying such high taxes to fund the others living off their backs).

  30. Den
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Renting is only a viable option when house prices are in decline. Such a time is creeping up on us. However, if persons are buying a house for a home rather than as an investment they should not worry too much as falling house prices always recover over time.
    Regarding affordability, I do believe the old Chancellor was right in removing the tax advantages for those BTL investors as such a benefit put the young couples at a distinct competitive disadvantage when seeking a home of their own. I have little doubt it also helped push up house prices. Since that tax advantage was removed together with a rise in Mortgage rates, house prices have been reduced.
    In 2016 total 3rd Quarter UK Mortgage debt stood at £1.33 Trillions v £1.38 Trillions 2017 and in 2018 £1.43 Trillions. Up £100 Billions in two years. What damage will another interest rate hike do to that little lot?

    Debt will be the downfall of many a Household, Organisation, Corporation and Country just as it was in 2008 and in 1929. Is nothing learned from history?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      It was not a tax “advantage” at all. Now he is double taxing interest and taxing profits that have not even been made. It is idiotic, unsustainable and restricts new supply.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      It was not a tax “advantage” at all. Now he is double taxing interest (on the landlord and then on the bank who get the interest) this taxing profits that have not even been made. It is idiotic, unsustainable and restricts new supply of properties to rent.

      • Den
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        So what is BTL mortgage tax relief if it is not a tax advantage?
        The young couples did not get any such tax relief on their monthly payments when they needed it the most.
        As for “unsustainable” well, we shall see. If there is to be a tax relief for the BTLs an equal tax relief must be available to the buyers of their own home. Why should those who just buy to let, who have the tenants pay for their personal mortgages receive tax deductions on the interest payments and not a couple or anyone who just wants a home of their own?

  31. agricola
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    You have become too PC and fearful to be anything but noises off in the background of politics. Not to support the condemnation of Tusk is reprehensible.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      There is no Hell. Even the CofE no longer believes in it and has lost its USP and bums on pews.

      Hey. Turn churches into housing !

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 3:56 am | Permalink

        Tends to be very a very expensive conversion. Often they are listed buildings so endless expensive barriers and red tape from government.

  32. John Probert
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Mr Tusk seems a bit hot under the collar, what a shame, he should know better
    I have been watching that program on the EU BBC2
    The sooner we are gone the better

  33. Mr Ison
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Sick building syndrome, like parliament i guess.

    You’d have thought defunct shopping centres could be put to use manufacturing prefabs rather than stuffing them with mortgage payers and renters.

    Push the envelope a bit more with housing as it’s an open door.

  34. hardlymatters
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink looks to me very like JR too has had a volte face..methinks the conditions on his knighthood are starting to bite- ie. discuss about anything except the war- the fix is in

    Reply. What a silly lie. I have not altered my position which is to leave without signing the Withdrawal Agreement . I would only need to write again about this if I was changing my view! I do not have to say the same thing every day to prove consistency. I suggest you apologise.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      This commentator is really not to be taken at all seriously. (Isnt he ed) the same as GregH, cryingoutloud, meAgain, PrezleB, blake, bleak, StanleyW, jack Snell, Ahem, TedC, Harry, Anton, LiamB, hellbent, crackersjohn, DanB, navalgazing, Jonp, Drachma, sobeit, timeout, hellbent, GregL, homebird, Backtoback, Hardlyever, dittoagain, BretW, Harry, James Neill, and jason wells?-
      to name only a few of his many consistantly different aliases on this board. It is just one (………) individual.

      He has already admitted to posting with etc ed

      Just ignore him entirely, is my advice. He has nothing to say. :-))

      NB – He rarely replies, but when he does, it is usually under yet another different ID.

  35. Mr Ison
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Aye, the old BHS…that’s the loom wiring and lighting department.
    The Burger bar is the canteen.

    Essentially the high street in the shopping arcade is the production line with departments feeding into it.

    Ye can pop in to the salesroom to select furnishings and fixtures.

  36. ian
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Will the Tory party be able to push up house and rents by another 30% by 2025 if they win the next election?
    I see that energy price cap is going up by just under 10% in one year along with household rates of 5% in most areas of the country.

  37. lojolondon
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Step One : Reduce Stamp Duty to the amount it was pre ‘Brexit-punishment’.
    Step Two : Reduce immigration to the ‘tens of thousands’.

    Problem solved, next.

  38. Lesley
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, Please, please look at the real reason for the housing stagnation. Many older people in large houses would love to move. Unfortunately, the stamp duty and attendant costs of moving are such a deterant that they stay put. Reduce the cost of moving, especially stamp duty, and overnight the housing market would pick up.

  39. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, Donald Tusk’s inflammatory comment is recorded in black and white here:

    Somebody should remind him, and the rest of the world, that the UK played it straight by choosing to activate the withdrawal mechanism originally proposed in the EU Convention on the Future of Europe and subsequently enshrined in the EU treaties as Article 50 TEU, – as approved by all the national governments including the Irish government, which is now upset because a country is actually making use of it – and if that exit procedure hasn’t worked out very well then that could be because the mechanism was poorly designed from the start, and/or the EU Commission deliberately chose to put a stupid interpretation on it to give the EU a negotiating advantage – which stupid interpretation our own Remain supporting Prime Minister accepted without even a whimper of protest.

    But another part of his remarks which I happened to catch is also there:

    “Give us a believable guarantee for peace in Northern Ireland, and the UK will leave the EU as a trusted friend.”

    Well, clearly we cannot leave as “a trusted friend” because Michel Barnier has already said back in July that once we are no longer “subject to the EU’s governance structures” the EU will no longer be able to trust us to continue to collect customs duties on its behalf, as had then been proposed by Theresa May on the bad advice of Olly Robbins:

    “However the most interesting part is the reason that M Barnier gave. He could have just said that the scheme was too complex, and might not be workable, and anyway he saw no point in it; but instead he effectively said that he could not trust us to continue to do it properly once we had left the EU and so we were no longer “subject to the EU’s governance structures”.

    That is to say, once we were no longer under the thumb of the EU Commission, backed up by the EU’s Court of Justice; and on that basis it may reasonably be asked if the EU will ever trust us to faithfully perform any deal about anything, or they will always insist that even outside the EU we must accept continued supervision by the EU institutions.”

    So for example, even if we promised to use our best endeavours to protect the integrity of their EU Single Market by imposing UK legal controls on what goods could be exported across an open Irish land border, and to assist them in levying and collecting any customs duties which may be due, and to continue to co-operate with them to suppress smuggling, they would just say that they could not trust us unless they could continue to get their EU court to punish us for any alleged infractions.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      So who exactly is going to kick off in Northern Ireland ?

    • acorn
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      What if the next UK government gets elected with a majority of one; on a manifesto that reneges on all your undocumented; unratified; nonjusticiable promises? Where is the “backstop” that the EU could trust that would work across any future UK government?

      UK Statutes are operating instructions subject to change at any time, by any government, now or in the future. The UK and Ireland are Common Law states; the rest of the EU is not. Hence, the EU27 prefer to have things written down and signed and not to leave everything to a Judge after the fact.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

        What if the next UK government gets elected with a majority of one; on a manifesto that reneges on all your undocumented; unratified; nonjusticiable promises?

        We can just ask them to do an Oliver Letwin.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        What a silly comment. Has it not occurred to you that even if Parliament did approve the agreement that Theresa May has made with the EU there would be nothing to stop Parliament later reversing that approval? Just as Parliament approved the Single European Act which made possible, and in fact required, the removal of routine checks at the EU’s internal borders, including the Irish land border, but is now repealing that approval? If the EU does not trust the UK government to keep to agreements it has made and got ratified by Parliament as may be necessary, where does that leave the prospects for any future agreements? And how would it help to insist that any new agreement must keep the UK “subject to the EU’s governance structures”, when if it chose our sovereign Parliament could unilaterally throw of that subjection, at any time and whether the government had a majority of one vote or several hundred votes? I think you would do much better to think about whether we can trust the EU to keep to its agreements, including the treaties upon it is founded – and experience says not.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Yet May’s WA includes open ended commitments to pay pensions, data access and much else where we’re supposed to trust them. Odd.

    • Bellboy
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink afraid Tusk is not far off the mark..there are a lot of UK politicos about still engaged who promoted the brexit thing without even thinking any of it through. We can’t blame the Irish or the EU for any of this it is all our own doing.

      Big question now is what is Mrs May up to? Can’t understand why she even bothered going over to Brussels..she could have done everything on a five minute conference call from home and saved us all this just what is she up to? Probably only one thing..must be something about winding down the clock and in cahoots with the EU..and then not one ERG type out to be interviewed by the BBC or Sky..i’d say it’s all a bit strange

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 8, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        There was only so far that it could be thought through until the decision had been made, the notice had been put in and negotiations had started.

        As the military adage has it,

        “No plan survives first contact with the enemy”,

        a general concept which apparently served Napoleon well.

        “The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. In this sense one should understand Napoleon’s saying: “I have never had a plan of operations.” Therefore no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.”

        Of course Napoleon could mostly rely on the loyalty of his generals.

  40. ian
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    The Tory party has tabled a statutory instrument today to increase the fees for families to pay on the death of their loved ones, 500,000 estates 2500 pounds to 6000 pounds, budget come up soon in March, it should make for good reading as taxes go up.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Tax tax and ever more tax. That is the way to kill the golden goose and make everyone poorer.

  41. John Dodds
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    There is no reference to prefabricated housing and its affordability.The type of “prefab” now available is excellent and affordable yet it is hardly ever mentioned and would satisfy many people who are unlikely to ever afford the usually overpriced conventional housing.So why is there no emphasis on this if there is such a desperate desire to own a home of your own?

    • Stred
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Prefabs need land. There isn’t enough for 250k extra people pa unless we build on the countryside. This is what some Tories like Osborne want to do. It is happening now.

  42. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    There are some great schemes around the world where the Young Student share houses with the Old.

    However, it only works well if the Young are not expected to do physical work for the Old. In other words, it’s about the Old having companionship (and youthful companionship even better). Loneliness is a killer and costs the NHS billions in ill-health.

    Whilst the Young get to live in a nice home, quiet place to work, learn some wisdom – and save up money for their future home.

  43. Chris
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, our wretched Chancellor, presumably with May’s blessing is pushing through the latest stealth tax:

    Government Trying to Sneak Death Tax Through by Stealth

    “MPs may have so little to do that the Commons was adjourned before 3.30pm yesterday, but that hasn’t stopped the Government from trying to sneak a new death tax through on the sly. They are laying a statutory instrument today which will increase the ‘probate’ fees – which families have to pay when administering someone’s estate after they die – from £215 up to a potential £6,000. This is a death tax in all but name, hitting grieving families with a massive bill as they go through the difficult process of dealing with a relative’s death…

    The minimum “fee” is now £250, which shoots up to £2,500 for estates over £500,000, £4,000 over £1 million and £6,000 over £2 million. Anyone owning property will be caught by the tax – poorer families will be forced to scrabble around for cash to pay the fees just because granny bought her own council home…”

    • Stred
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Hammond would pass a bill requiring surrender of gold and other valuable metal fillings prior to cremation if he could.

  44. Mr Ison
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s an aspect of taking back control but eschewing the barbaric precedent practice of rounding them up an putting them in a field whilst allowing a sense of coming salvation before they die of exposure, the EU plan for leave constituencies.

  45. Mr Ison
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    How about some strong language?

    Scabbing for the EU, that’s no British cabinet!

  46. Ian
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Never mind new houses, they are not selling very well, people can not afford them anyway.

    Can we concentrate on the biggest thing to hit this People since the end of the last War .
    I like everyone I speak to, is just aghast at just what is going on with this Government.

    If this appalling PM together with her equally appalling MPs and equally appalling Civil Service.
    Those that voted Remane at any rate, can they not realise the gravity of there position ?

    They are not ever going to deliver the Brexit that the population voted for.

    They started with a Manifesto that even Nigel Farage would have been pleased to endorse!

    They got the the majority of votes simply because that is what we wanted !

    Since this PM has been in the top job, she and her fellow conspirators have seen fit to pull off there disguise, now we see the hi jackers in plain view.

    This Nation and its hard working people are being betrayed on a grand scale, such an offence on this scale I can not pull to mind !

    Wake up England for Gods sake !

    Wake up Brexiteers everywhere , no matter where you are.

    This Country , our Home for Gods Sakes, is being pulled right out from under us .

    Absolutely Nothing but Nothing is more important , not Housing not tax not damned diesel cars Nothing less than our very survival is at stake Right Now !

    Those Brexiteers who are in The House must realise , and us outside must again realise, this is our last chance, if we do not make it out on No Deal on the 29/3/19 we are finished .

    Believe this is nothing less Than The Battle OF BRITAIN .

    If we fail in our duty, the history books will point the finger , And deservedly So

    Action This Day, and God Help US

  47. Monza 71
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Can someone clear up this simple point please ?

    If, as seems increasingly likely, we leave the EU on 29th March without signing the withdrawal agreement. What are the financial implications for the £39bn ?

    The House Of Lords legal advice said we owed the EU nothing, however, it seems a cast-iron certainty that, rightly or wrongly, Brussels will refuse to sit down and discuss any kind of future trade deal without at least some of the money May foolishly agreed to pay without securing any commitment from the EU.

    Crucially, does the £39bn figure include the £9-10bn per annum of on-going net contribution we would have paid over the two-year transition period ?

    If it does, the only dispute can be over the remaining £19-21bn for “existing liabilities.”

    • Mark B
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      What are the financial implications for the £39bn ?

      Nobody really knows since both government and parliament, the ones that should, do not seem to know themselves. And if they did, then why are they not explaining this ?

      I believe are net contributions to the EU come out at around £12.9bn per annum. Multiply this by 3 and you come quite close to that figure. My only guess therefore is that this money is three years upfront.

      • Monza 71
        Posted February 9, 2019 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        Our Net contributions are about £8.5-£9bn pa, that can be found on the House Of Commons Library website.

        I hope the bill is about £18bn for net contributions over the two years of the transition plus £21bn for outstanding liabilities. I suspect the reality is it’s £39bn for ongoing liabilities PLUS £18bn for the two years.

        I was hoping either our host or Dennis Cooper would tell us which it is !

  48. Mr Ison
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s not only the EU that is addicted to other peoples money…

  49. Mr Ison
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Scotland are nearest to exposing the true nature of the power grab, the EU and Common Purpose for example.

    Conservatives will always bottle it and claim advantage but the SNP could blunder in and expose the threat so saving the British Isles and winning their independence with trust.

  50. Mr Ison
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Aye, the May household at this moment are merely a fig leaf for the Conservative party, people off the street, they could send a washing-up bowl to renegotiate as the results would be the same.

  51. ChrisShalford
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Good idea to use one problem (empty shop premises) to help to solve another one (lack of affordable housing). Also, in central Nottingham, there’s a large block of flats with communal gardens on top of a shopping centre, which is great use of space in this dynamic city.

  52. mancunius
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Encouraging homeowners to gear up their mortgage loans with cheap lending so as to buy two, three or more properties as BTLs has removed almost all smaller properties from the London market on a semi-permanent basis.
    So that now, renting is the only possibility for many except in more violent and dilapidated areas of the city.
    Btw I am genuinely horrified by the advice to buy and hang on to one single property for a lifetime. Who can do that, other than a state employee with complete job security, no ambition, and no exportable professional sikills? It is a recipe for a deadbeat, immobile career – and completely unrealistic for today’s flexible graduate employment market.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 4:07 am | Permalink

      Indeed we need to be able to move as out housing needs and jobs change. Up to 15% stamp duty is a massive tax on job mobility. Even if you company pays relocation you are further taxes on this “benefit” in kind. Hammond man is a menace to the economy.

  53. Mr Ison
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Well, that’s all folk’s.

    See ye on the other side.

  54. Arnie from Newington
    Posted February 7, 2019 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    The worst thing about section 24 is the way it is calculated.

    We were told that basic rate tax payers would not be effected. In fact the way it is calculated makes most basic rate taxpayers into the higher rate tax break.

    Meanwhile the build to rent sector gets money chucked at them by the government whilst the private landlord gets the life strangled out of them.

  55. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    “Affordable homes”, “Sensibly priced homes”. Are these euphemisms for subsidised homes? I want a simple “yes” or “no” in answer.

    • Al
      Posted February 8, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      As far as it has been implimented here, it is building one- and two-bed flats instead of five-bed detached mansions. The developers would rather built the latter – more money for less work – and abuse the term quite substantially to do so.

      A recent development, promised to provide ‘affordable’ homes, covered almost the entirity of the land in the latter (priced over £750,000), and squeezed a small block of twenty affordable flats(£120,000) in a corner with a seperate entrance.

  56. Alastair Harris
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    There are plenty of problems with our planning system. One of the bigger ones is how it stifles innovation. Many local councils set themselves up as arbiters of design with very little interest in what developers will actually develop. And very little understanding of what works and what doesn’t. And they wrap it up in a slow system where decisions are often entirely arbitrary. There is a case for town planning but it should be following rather than leading development, within designated boundaries.

  57. Arnie from Newington
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Think Phil needs to check the formulae in his spreadsheet

    Stamp Duty Land Tax Receipts Reduce Along With Buy-To-Let Sector

    Recent analysis of HM Revenue and Customs’ Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) statistics suggest the housing market is struggling with reduced transactions which is having a huge impact on the tax accrued by the government.

    According to NAEA Propertymark and their subsidiary firm LCP, tax receipts for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have plummeted considerably when compared with 2017’s figures.

    £8.7 billion was generated from tax receipts in 2018, this is £802 million less or a decrease of 8.5% when compared with the year before.

    The tax on Higher Rate for Additional Dwellings (HRAD) has also failed to balance additional taxes with continued growth in the sector. If anything, it seems as though the lost income suggests fewer people are purchasing additional dwellings as the £285 million fall in taxes equates to a 14.2% reduction from 2017.

    This reduced revenue also indicates a 4.6% fall in second home or additional dwelling transactions in 2018.

    In 2017, 21.1% of all SDLT tax take was made up from HRAD receipts. However, this has shrunk to 18.8% in 2018.

    Transactions overall, on average, fell by 2.6% in 2018 which emphasises the serious reduction in the purchase of second homes in 2018 with increased taxes and Brexit issues deterring potential investors from entering the market.

    Naomi Heaton, CEO of LCP said: “The 2.6 per cent fall in transactions reported in HMRC’s 2018 SDLT report reinforces the surfeit of statistics, showing buyers now holding back. The febrile political climate around the UK’s departure from the EU and stagnating prices, have brought ever growing uncertainty to the residential market, following several years of increased taxation”.

    Heaton adds: “Receipts have followed suit with transactions, which have fallen 8.5 per cent overall. The receipts from the three per cent additional duty (HRAD) have suffered the largest drop, falling 14.2 per cent. This has been the result of dwindling numbers of second home and rental purchases. The total revenue for HMRC amounted to £8.669bn, a fall of almost £1bn on 2017. Even if the amount of tax claimed under First Time Buyers’ Relief, which the Exchequer would see as a ‘tax giveaway’ was added back, the total take would still be down 3.6 per cent.

  58. margaret
    Posted February 8, 2019 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Many should be following Andy’s idea of residence in France. The links we share should be more established allowing our cultures to blend and be shared.Businesses should work closer together between England and France .For goodness sake the Normans invaded us and should share some of the responsibilities of modern living.
    I can’t think of anything worse than not having some sort of growing space/ garden and the more we squash buildings together ; nature will be neglected

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page