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Posts Tagged ‘housing’

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

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


Bournemouth v Harry Redknapp in new flats row

Do we like Harry Redknapp the property developer more than Harry Redknapp the wheeler dealing football manager? The Guardian is upset by the man who once upon a time looked a shoo-in to be England manager. “Harry Redknapp ‘will make 30 people homeless’ with flats plan,” runs the headline. Those inverted commas should tell you something about plans to replace the unlisted Victorian Belgravia Hotel in Bournemouth with flats. The hotel, says the local Echo newspaper, is divided into 24 bedsits.

Plans by the football manager Harry Redknapp to demolish a former hotel and replace it with “posh” apartments would result in 30 people being made homeless, including several with disabilities, cancer sufferers, ex-offenders and other vulnerable individuals, according to opponents to the scheme.

What a basta…

Clifford Henley, one of the residents, claimed Redknapp… stood to make a fortune from the 21 flats and three mews houses, adding: “To be chucking 30 blokes on the streets with no consideration whatsoever – it’s brutal.”

Class war? “It’s walking over poor people,” says Henley. and then comes a right to reply. A spokesman for Redknapp’s company says the proposed homes range in price from £160,000 to £300,000.

In February 2017, Bournemouth councillors rejected Redknapp’s plans to replace the Belgravia with a four-storey block of 32 flats.  East Cliff Conservation Area board chairman and East Cliff ward councillor David Kelsey opined: “We can’t just pull a building down because we don’t like the people living in it, we all have a right to live somewhere. I am fed up of developers just pulling buildings down for the sake of pulling them down.”

If it’s about housing people, isn’t the plan an improvement, offering space for more people than the current situation? You might suppose not because the Guardian has also delivered such stories as: “The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities” and “Virtual realty: can a computer game turn you into an ‘evil’ property developer?”

The Guardian ends by telling readers: ‘…in an interview last month, another footballing legend, the former England and Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, said that owning too many properties was “just greedy and expensive”.’

Any journalists own more than one home? Or is it just footballers whose morals get examined?

 

Posted: 2nd, December 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment


Duke of Westminster Sells Expensive Houses to Build Cheap Houses

The Duke of Westminster arrives at the wedding of his daughter Lady Tamara Grosvenor to Edward van Cutsem at Chester Cathedral. Prince William will act as usher at the lavish service attended by 650 guests, including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The wedding brings together two of Britain's wealthiest families. Lady Tamara Grosvenor, 24, is the eldest daughter of the Duke of Westminster, Britain's richest man, whose land holdings, including swathes of Mayfair and Belgravia, give him a personal fortune estimated at 4 billion.  Ref #: PA.2126788  Date: 06/11/2004

The Duke of Westminster arrives at the wedding of his daughter Lady Tamara Grosvenor to Edward van Cutsem at Chester Cathedral. Prince William will act as usher at the lavish service attended by 650 guests, including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The wedding brings together two of Britain’s wealthiest families. Lady Tamara Grosvenor, 24, is the eldest daughter of the Duke of Westminster, Britain’s richest man, whose land holdings, including swathes of Mayfair and Belgravia, give him a personal fortune estimated at 4 billion. Date: 06/11/2004

WE all know that the London high end property market is out of control as all those rich bastards from other countries pile in to buy themselves a Mayfair mansion. And we all also know that there’s a terrible shortage of housing in London that normal people can actually afford to live in. Which makes it interesting what the Duke of Westminster is doing: flogging off some of those expensive Mayfair houses to rich foreign sods and then using the cash to build affordable housing that normal Londoners can actually afford to live in:

The property company owned by the Duke of Westminster has sold off £240million of luxury homes in central London amid fears the capital’s house price bubble may be about the burst.

Grosvenor Group said it was cutting its exposure to high-end residential properties after growing concerned that the rate of growth in the London luxury house price market was unsustainable.

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Posted: 1st, May 2014 | In: Money | Comment


Housing Association Valleys to Coast in Bridgend Offers Bedroom Tax Victims A Free Creme Egg

HOW was the bedroom tax for you? Did you manage to save for your next egg? Did you keep up with payments? The Housing association Valleys to Coast in Bridgend thanks you for fighting on through the austerity crisis by sending you a letter in the post and the chance to pick up a 60p ‘Creme Egg’.

Locals are welcome to take their own (rotten) eggs round to the Money Matters team and return the favour.

cream egg bedroom tax

Spotter: Felicity Morse ‏@FelicityMorse  7h

 

Posted: 24th, April 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment


Is anything more appallingly stupid than this new buy guarantee housing plan?

APOLOGIES, but it really does seem that we’re being ruled by entire cretins. The current government has decided to repeat all of the damn fool mistakes that the Americans made before their housing crash with a new buy housing plan:

£500,000 mortgages backed by the taxpayer as NewBuy Guarantee scheme launched

Up to 100,000 people will get Government support to buy new homes worth up to £500,000 in a Coalition move to revive the middle-class dream of home ownership, ministers will announce.

You what? Has someone been serving magic ‘shrooms in Cabinet or something?

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Posted: 12th, March 2012 | In: Money | Comments (6)


This is What Is Known As Lying With Numbers: Home Finance Loans

THAT’S distinct from Disraeli’s thing about lies, damned lies and statistics: for this is straight up lying with numbers.

It’s all about the payday loan industry. You know, those appalling people that some 3 million of us borrow from each year. Usually for a lower cost than we’d have to pay a bank for arranging an overdraft, if they would even give us one.

But still, some have decided they’re evil and must be pursued. So we end up with things like this:

My Home Finance loans are not subsidised, and a borrower would pay £7.09 a week for 52 weeks to repay £300, producing a total repayment of £383.68 over the year including interest of £68.68 and an administration charge of £15. The same borrower taking out £300 from Wonga for just 31 days would repay a total of £398.91.

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Posted: 8th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)


When Governments Lie: Following The Argentina Model

GOVERNMENTS lie all the time of course for you know that a politician is lying when you see his lips move. However, there are lies and lies: we all know that “Vote for me a it’ll all be fine” is a lie. We might not know that “US poverty is at an all time high” or “Rents are unaffordable for many families” are for they depends upon detailed statistics which are simply too geektastic for most of us to give a shit.

But just as an example, Shelter released a report last week which said that private rents are now unaffordable in 55% of British cities. And, well, sorta, but not in the way it’s being reported. Yes, rents are high, because houses are expensive.

However, what Shelter said is that rents are too high as a percentage of take home pay. What is being reported they said is that rents are too high as a percentage of household income. These are not the same thing at all: take home income is wages after taxes. Household income is wages after taxes plus benefits.

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Posted: 24th, October 2011 | In: Money | Comment


Yes, We Are Trying To Solve the Too Damn High Rents

SHELTER has a report out showing how rents are just too damn high.

In the majority of areas, typical rents from private landlords are over a third of the average take-home pay – the widely accepted measure of affordability.

From 1997 to 2007, rents increased at one and a half times the rate of incomes. Recent research by Shelter has also revealed that 38% of families with children who are renting privately have cut down on buying food to pay their rent.

OK, let’s accept their research as it is: what are we going to do about it?

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Posted: 14th, October 2011 | In: Money | Comment