Even The Labour Party Is Beginning To Understand The Housing Market
IT’S taken its time but the basic problem with the UK housing market seems to be seeping into even Labour Party minds. That problem being that there’s not enough housing so it’s too bloody expansive. We should therefore try to build more. As the Labour Party’s head of their investigation into the housing market says:
Sir Michael Lyons told the Guardian he had identified protracted delays in the release of land as the single biggest cause of Britain’s housing crisis.
This is all really very simple. There’s no shortage of land in the UK. Only about 3% of it is houses at the moment: in some counties we have more than that in use as golf courses than we do houses.
It’s also true that houses are gargantuanly expensive: but it’s not actually the houses that are. It’s the land underneath them that is expensive. And more than that, it’s the permission to build a house on a particular piece of land that is. Farmland goes for £10,000 a hectare. Land with planning permission goes for £1,000,000 a hectare in the South, on which you’re allowed to put 14 or 15 houses.
It’s the little piece of paper, the planning chitty, that costs the money. So, obviously, the answer is simply to issue more little pieces of paper, more of those planning chitties, so as to bring down their scarcity value.
Which is, of course, what the Coalition has been trying to do with all that talk of loosening and my God haven’t people been screaming about it.
Now that we’ve got the Labour Party onboard with this obvious truth then, given that it’s going to be either the Tories or Labour as the next government, we might actually see some serious movement on this.
Houses are expensive because we don’t issue enough planning permissions. Issue more, more quickly, and house prices will fall. It’s so simple that even the Labour Party is now getting it.