The housing crisis lurches from tragedy to farce and no one is making any more land, leaving millions of renters lightyears away from owning their own residence.
Tory administrations have tried to reform the Byzantine planning procedures, but each housing minister has been beaten to a pulp by Nimbyist backbenchers. While everyone likes the cosy, utopian idea of ‘homes for everyone’, a burgeoning population cannot live in three-bed semis in the sky.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the UK built 300,000 new homes a year; the rate is now 200,000. The population stood at 67 million in 2020-21 and rose by eight million over the previous 20 years. Supermarkets estimate they’re now feeding 80 million.
The Bank of England increased the base rate a quarter per cent to tackle inflation, but this leaves first-time buyers living on beans on toast while scraping together a deposit. They may look to Skipton Building Society, which is offering 100% mortgages. I wonder how many qualify and how much money will be allocated for this high-risk lending category.
Prime minister Rishi Sunak is trying to revive the Help to Buy regime. One result was that developers managed to dupe the government and naive buyers by palming off some of their shoddy homes at full prices.
Meanwhile, King Charles is a hardcore greenie. Will our new ‘inclusive, diverse, slimmed-down monarchy’ rent a few spare rooms in Buckingham Shed for cash-strapped Londoners? Until the government takes a chainsaw to these issues, they will never be resolved.
Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director, Glentree International