Monday, 21 November 2016

Cutting the legs off the housing ladder

"How to keep house prices low for generations to come" is the headline on the BBC website introducing an article about Community Land Trusts.

Imagine a world in which the price of housing stopped rising as predictably as a hydrogen-filled balloon. And imagine a country in which houses would be just as affordable in 10 years' time as they were 10 years ago.

There would be no race to buy a home, no fear that prices would accelerate faster than you can save up for the deposit. Houses would cease to be a means of profit, and instead become just a place to live.


Well, amen to that, but it appears that community land trusts are few and far between:

There are 175 CLTs in England and Wales, which so far have delivered 560 homes.

… despite having government support:

The government is expected to announce a programme of support for similar coastal and rural CLTs in the Autumn Statement. It will be funded out of the extra stamp duty chargeable on second homes.

Hang on, "funded"? What do they need funds for? All the CLT needs to be able to do is to get planning permission on land that otherwise wouldn't get permission, then sell the homes at undervalue with a legal restriction that they have to be sold on at undervalue. Perhaps the government is thinking that it wouldn't do to have landowners selling building land at anything other than full market value, even if it is to a CLT.

So it looks like there are a few people who don't care about "getting on the housing ladder" and just want somewhere of their own they can call home, but the cynic in me is wondering how long it will be before the first CLT is taken to court by an owner wanting to sell at full market value, or even the government introducing some sort of "Right to Sell" legislation to allow them to do so.

7 comments:

Kj said...

"but the cynic in me is wondering how long it will be before the first CLT is taken to court by an owner wanting to sell at full market value, or even the government introducing some sort of "Right to Sell" legislation to allow them to do so."

I'd be very surprised if this hasn't happened already.

Mark Wadsworth said...

The cynic in you need not wonder, it always happens in the end. See UK garden cities, see council house and HA sell offs, freehold enfranchisement and so on.

The most depressing example of this is people in Kibbutzim - who got given the land for free way back when - deciding that they ought to de-mututalise this and privatise the land and sell living space to the next generation.

Rich Tee said...

There is a place around the corner from me called LILAC where there are selling restrictions. The rules are complicated.

In the New Year I am hoping to get involved with local project called Leeds Community Housing who want to build 1000 homes with selling restrictions. I am putting my own money into it and I would like to learn how to do my own project (they have said they want to teach other people).

I'm not sure if these are CLTs but I will let you know how it goes.

Rich Tee said...

OK, I have just checked Leeds Community Homes and it is a CLT.

Bayard said...

"The cynic in you need not wonder, it always happens in the end."

Of course, if the government was serious about supporting CLTs, then it would be putting legislation in place to prevent this sort of thing happening, not just throwing money at landowners.

Ben Jamin' said...

Love how people refuse to come to the obvious conclusion.

In CLTs are so great at keeping prices down, why not apply the same reasoning to all immovable property?

Talk about doing things the hard way :/

Bayard said...

BJ, it's thoughtcrime to postulate anything that infringes an Englishman's right to keep all the financial benefits of land ownership for himself.