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Anorak News | Sod the Green Belt: give people the right to own their own homes

Sod the Green Belt: give people the right to own their own homes

by | 18th, February 2018

The country needs more and better housing. That much is certain. Demand outstrips supply. The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 and more legislation rooted in it have stymied house building and skewed the market.

Around 10% of land has been built on. There’s space for housing. In expensive, congested, desirable, money-making, opportunity-rich London, more than a fifth of the land is classified as Green Belt.

And since the 1972-1973 building boom when around 300,000 new homes were constructed – the current supply is around 200,000 new homes; demand is 250,000; Chancellor Hammond says we need 300,000 – technology has improved.

What’s the problem, then? Why aren’t there enough homes?

Rowan Moore tells Guardian readers:

The problem that Britain has, partly as a result of cultural and governmental promotion of ownership, is that renting is, objectively speaking, second best. You can currently pay more in rent than an owner would in mortgage interest

Well, quite. It’s also true that the landlord doesn’t only pay a mortgage. Properties need to be maintained. Estate agencies are dedicated to overseeing property care, and ensuring a place is occupied. It’s not all profit.

But none of that explains why homes are not being built. It’s not about rented or owned; it’s about the total number of homes. We need more.

The question is why with such a pressing need for homes, so much land remains protected by legislation. If building homes is the priority, it’s time to free up the market and in so doing allow more of the less well off the opportunity to own their own homes and not be beholden to the State.

 



Posted: 18th, February 2018 | In: Money, News, Politicians Comment | TrackBack | Permalink