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The housing crisis: how did we get here?


Its good to see a tight and clearly-articulated summary of the components of the housing crisis. I suggest two further components to consider: First,construction costs aren't changing that much. The increase in value goes to the landowner. Taxing land value would slow its inflation,and capture the betterment for public rather than private benefit. Secondly, and more importantly, we have to turn the popular acceptance of the 'property-owning democracy' dogma of the main political parties . The paranoiac conviction that only home-ownership can protect us from a cruel and uncaring world has been fuelled by successive governments that have persuaded sitting tenants to buy their home as the only way of ensuring long term security. (see my June 2 blog http//www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/chairmans-blog-10-shouting-at-the-radio/) In the early post-WWII period, municipal housing was occupied by a broad socio-economic spectrum. For three or for decades, families enjoyed well-built and spacious flats and houses in well-laid out and well-managed estates. Few were clamouring for the right-to-buy - people could afford their home and weren't afraid of losing it. Since then we have seen reduced public investment, management cuts and housing sell-offs. Today home-ownership is presented as as being for the responsible and 'aspirational' citizen, and public housing as catching the poor, marginalised and feckless. Some local authorities are once again exercising their housing powers and political confidence to build housing for local need. It is inevitable, and right, that these will go first to those in greatest need. In the longer term, and on a larger scale, they might again serve a wider community. A community of people no longer terrified of not being on the 'housing ladder', and able to invest their disposable income, after a fair rent, in activities that are more social responsible and economically productive. Steven Bee

Posted date

29 June, 2015

Posted time

10:14 am