Saturday, June 23, 2007

A moving story

I've been involved in, indeed preoccupied by, selling my house and buying a flat. Both sale and purchase are now agreed and the deals are now in the hands of the lawyers, so of course nothing is certain. They manage these things differently in other countries.

My house is not particularly expensive but although the estate agents promoted it as suitable for a first-time buyer, most young families would not be able to afford it. However, a businesswoman wanted to buy it to convert it into a hostel into which she would pack at least five people at £90 a week. No doubt she had in mind our local migrant workers from Portugal. Fortunately the council required so many changes to allow multiple occupancy that she made no bid. The actual prospective purchasers are in their twenties.

In my view, housing has become the pre-eminent problem for politicians to solve. The cost of the average house is now ten times average income. Don't blame the immigrants. The underlying cause is excessive demand arising from divorce and young people leaving home as soon as they can. There are no clever solutions, only a simple one - increase supply, build more houses.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

The main problem seems to be restrictive planning regulations meaning that it is very expensive to build new houses - where you can build them since the land available is so heavily restricted.