Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Do these people never stop to think about what they are saying?

Homey-in-chief Allister Heath in City AM:

[The 2011 Census] also reveals a number of worrying trends. Just 64 per cent (14.9m) of households owned their own home in 2011, down four percentage points since 2001, and just 48 per cent in London. The main reason is the lack of housebuilding and idiotic planning rules which artificially push up the price of good quality homes. Combined with a vast population rise fuelled by migration – a big reason for the GDP growth of the past ten years – the situation has become a nightmare for people in their twenties and thirties. We need more homes, and we need them now...

Those renting privately have jumped from 9 per cent in 2001 to 15 per cent (3.6m) in 2011; it is a good thing that Britain now has a privately provided rented sector but unfortunate that so many who would like to buy cannot.

Please note: I'm not defending Labour's immigration policies, but immigration is not the main driver of UK population growth; it is simply longer life expectancy. And in terms of housing tenure, modest population growth is entirely irrelevant. If immigration stopped people buying their own homes, then surely it would also stop people renting their own homes? That's like saying "because of immigration/population growth, more people are renting cars/TVs instead of buying them outright".

Now, returning to the point, there clearly isn't a lack of homes; that fall of four per cent in owner-occupation levels is more than matched by the six per cent increase in private-rental levels. Those tenants are all in homes, aren't they?

We also know that the home builders land banking cartel own half a million plots of land with planning permission, but they are only drip feeding completions and sales because they are trying to keep prices as high as possible (which is probably the economically rational thing to do, from their point of view: collect that rent!).

Whether or not the government "should" be doing something to encourage landlords to sell their rented homes to their respective tenants is another topic. IMHO, slapping LVT on housing and dishing it out as a Citizen's Dividend would sort this all out; it wouldn't really matter any more, in economic terms, whether you were an owner-occupier or a tenant, because even tenants would be getting their bit of rental income (the Citizen's Dividend). And the number of owner-occupiers would increase of its own accord, because there would be less advantages to/subsidies for being a landlord.


. said...

Agreed, I watched the TV news reel out contradictory stats last night and again this morning. They failed to point out the real issue which is that owner-occupation is down, not "home ownership". Home ownership has always and will always been at 100%.


James Higham said...

I think you may have answered your own question, Mark.

mombers said...

Now I wonder if Mr Heath is campaigning to get the planning laws changed in his back yard? I doubt it. More housing needed, just not here.

Mark Wadsworth said...

BE: " Home ownership has always and will always been at 100%."

Tee hee.

JH, ta.

Mom, Heath is not the most rabid of NIMBYs, that's fair to say.