Friday, 15 November 2013

Sounds about right.

From today's FT editorial:

Britain's stringent planning laws are often blamed for the sluggish pace of construction, which over the past decade created one new home for every two people added to the country's population.

Yup, while I despise NIMBYs and land bankers, the actual hard facts are that housebuilding has roughly kept pace with population increases. The figures for the last five years or the next five years might be a bit less favourable than that, I'm talking ball park here.

The nay-sayers then start wailing on about there being more single person households.

For sure, there are over 100,000 divorces in the UK each year, but there are also over 200,000 marriages, so that's still a small net reduction in the number of households each year. And most divorcees end up getting married again, not having learned their lesson the first time.

And people are living longer, so there are more widowed pensioners. For sure, but about 250,000 widowed pensioners die each year, freeing up 250,000 homes.

And what about all the immigrants? Well they tend to live far more people to the home than indigenous citizens, possibly at twice the average density, so it's not them either.