Monthly Archives: May 2018

David Dimbleby’s Question Time, BBC 1, 3rd May 18, The broken housing market.

Published / by Peter Hendry / Leave a Comment

As was emphatically stated in David Dimbleby’s Question Time on BBC 1 10:45pm on Thursday the 3rd May 18, the housing market in England and Wales is completely broken.
Martin Lewis, a panel member and founder of Moneysupermarket.com voiced similar conclusions during the show.

The only way new buyers can get onto even the first rung of the ladder is to save upwards of £50,000 when joint salaries are in the majority of cases well below such an amount.
This, coupled with the fact that with interest rates staying so low for so long, while buyers are working to build such a nest-egg, the value of their savings is diminishing all the time they are saving.
With inflation running at over double the interest which is capable of being earned, savers are having to battle against the interest tide just in order to stand still!

The clear message is, housing has now become too expensive to remain attractive to first timers. Total annual completed sales of houses have taken a dive as a result. This is a form of housing poverty as so many simply cannot afford to house themselves and their families, based on their current earning abilities.

What we are clearly seeing here is deja vu.

A similar pattern and situation presented itself after the end of the First World War and the Housing Act of 1936 was government’s response. It intervened to deal with the acute lack of sufficiently well equipped housing by usually clearance orders to have substandard housing demolished and new and better quality properties built on the land released.

Government action was the catalyst which dealt with the need at the time.

A fairly similar scenario in history occurred after the Second World War as once again, the government acted as a catalyst to deal once again with substandard housing using the Housing Act of 1957 to clear property which was deemed uninhabitable and uneconomic to upgrade to a habitable and acceptable standard.

In both cases, in concert with dealing with unsatisfactory standards, significant numbers of new housing, particularly municipal / council property was built at huge cost to the exchequer.

This was instrumental in holding house prices stable at the time.

The problem today is that since there have been no more wars involving our country, a very welcome situation of course, there has been little incentive for government to wish to involve itself a third time in dealing with the current housing crisis.

But; there is quite plainly little point in administering similar medicine a third time as it is also plainly evident that doing it has not permanently mended the nation’s housing market.

Instead what is needed (in addition to a program for constructing lots more housing within the private sector but crucially also in the public sector), is a logical and reasoned overhaul of the way in which each local housing market around the whole country actually functions.

Instead of allowing vendors simply to pitch asking prices at any amount they happen to consider feasible, more research is needed when determining the correct and finely-balanced level of price in the marketplace concerned. To achieve this would involve a root and branch reform of estate agency as we currently know it.

The way this could be done would be to re-orientate agency so that it primarily serves all the buyers instead of working solely for the sellers as happens at present. Smoothing out house prices using this method would have a dramatic and permanent stabilising effect everywhere – just what is now needed to stimulate new buyers to save and buy at prices within their financial reach.

For a full explanation of exactly how this may be accomplished, please follow the link to:

Improve The Housing Market in England and Wales.
How to Improve the Housing Markets in England and Wales before it is too late.

Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation