The Politics of Housing

The Politics of Housing is necessarily societal. In other words you can’t divorce housing from politics.

When canvassing for the Brexit vote in 2019 and accepting becoming our Prime Minister in July 2019, Boris Johnson promised that his government would be a government inclusive for all in society, having won the popular vote on that basis.

Whatever political view an individual may wish to take, it would appear that there are three institutions that should be held as being at the very crest of present day society. These are The Judiciary, The NHS and The Town and Country Planning Acts.

Whenever setting out to make new policy for the benefit of Britain’s populace, these three established pillars of fairness should always be fully considered beforehand.

Tough love, directed towards some parts of society, may be necessary for further improvement but it would, by its own definition, have to be based on love and nurture, not prejudice.

However even so, the noblest of decisions, taken in the quest to improve the lot of the many may occasionally fail, especially where housing is concerned.

What follows is a set of proposals specifically designed to resolve our present housing distribution problems.

FIRSTLY: Before designing a new Town & Country Planning system for the whole of Britain, it would be a pretty good idea to get a clear picture of what would make each local community thrive, and then incorporate precisely that into the new model.

To date we have seen little evidence of such an approach and practically no justification for the arbitrary zoning designations which are being proposed in the Planning White Paper currently being debated in Parliament. This does therefore deserve much further consideration.

The clear and over-riding objective must surely be for ordinary working people to be able to find openings for good new jobs close to where they may live.

This must mean the forward plan must involve a proper debate with business leaders to start searching for and employing more-skilled people, including training them up and paying them substantially more whilst expecting more productivity/profitability from them in return.

The resultant gain to industry could be achieved from increasing the incentive amongst school leavers and university graduates alike to decide on a higher-skilled career for themselves, earlier, and then to train more intensively for that.

Those youngsters who do not choose to follow this path would be likely to have to accept whatever unskilled jobs there may be at low wages (and with little or no prospects), of course.

This is, in effect, increasing the requirement on job seekers to decide what they would like to do earlier and to embark on getting the best training and qualifications they need for their choices of career.

Other successful economies have already achieved such outcomes and because this has been done elsewhere it could certainly be done in Britain if the incentives were provided.

One organisation, KPMG (the accountancy conglomerate) is already in the news for helping in the battle for greater diversity among types of job especially within the poorer communities by offering apprenticeships. It wants nearly a third of their staff to be coming from working class backgrounds by 2030. Enabling diversity of perspective, fresh thinking, and wide-ranging insight should help all businesses to perform.

People from routine maintenance and service organisations may apply. Levels of pay and prospects in life really matter to employees but so does aspiration. Van drivers, butchers and factory workers should be among those applying for schemes such as these if they should wish to do so.

What is Levelling Up really about?
Added to this post 2 jan 2022:

Levelling up is about empowering local leaders and communities.
It’s about raising living standards and growing the private sector.
It’s about spreading opportunity and improving our public services.
It’s also about boosting local pride and improving our local environments.

Young people should be empowered to learn all the skills they need and be enabled to use their passions and their abilities to help them get good jobs in the future wherever they may choose to live.

All this is can now be achieved with the localised Towns Deals which are being made available by government as well as the Community Renewal Fund and other funds also to do with Levelling Up.

Link to: Department for Levelling up Housing and Communities

Equally important however is the house price crisis itself!

To find out all about everything to do with the extreme lack of adequate and available housing on the market and how to deal with the non-affordability of it, see below.

The House Price Solution

How to Improve all local housing markets across England and Wales

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author of:– The House Price Solution (otherwise known as The Hendry Solution).

What do you think about this idea for drastically improving the operation of all housing markets potentially across the whole of Britain?

Constructive comments are very much welcomed.

The Cure For The Malady Across All British Housing Markets

The cure for the malady across all British housing markets is to use a combination of two cures, in a similar way to a doctor using two specific antibiotics to cure a bacterial infection.

The expertise required to achieve that would involve first acquiring an accurate knowledge of the causes of such infections and following this, the ability to diagnose the correct medicinal cure for the specific infection involved.

It is of course imperative to be able to understand precisely how and why a specific illness or malaise will have occurred. Only then can the correct medicinal cure be prescribed.

Peter Hendry says, “I can explain in simple terms why house prices are continuing to rise despite the increasing lack of affordability affecting ever more prospective buyers.”

In a nutshell, the housing market should find the values of houses in a quite specific way.

The true value (or the correct buy price), of any house being offered for sale should be arrived at by adding THREE separately-assessed components together:

1 The land value – which depends in part upon location.

2: The construction cost (including a profit element to the builder or developer).

3: A further amount of equity or profit produced as a result of having combined these two.

These are the things that a sensible buyer should theoretically be considering, even if only subliminally.

All too often however, anxious buyers will base their offers on a combination of how much they could possibly afford and borrow, together with knowing the asking price being quoted.

What makes this task particularly difficult to quantify is that house prices in today’s housing marketplaces are not derived in perfect market conditions at all. The reason for this is because in a perfect marketplace, the whole amount of homes on the market would be sold and the demand for them would also be fully satisfied at all times.

Instead, the present day housing markets have large overruns where, either there is too much property being offered at any one time or alternatively, there are too few properties being offered to purchasers.

Both extremes are most unsatisfactory for prospective purchasers of houses in the regional marketplaces and especially in tourist and second-home prevalent communities.

Unfortunately, current day estate agency does not assess house prices in the way described just now. Instead they peg asking prices at the level they might simply guess they could sell a house for but also they may well often include what their client (the seller) might hope to achieve when determining an asking price!

Worse, they base their asking prices on what other asking prices are, including what the other recent sales will have achieved, albeit these would have used skewed marketing comparisons themselves for the reasons just set out.

To justify what is being explained here, a year ago for example a typical estate agent had 37 properties available and 379 applicants on their register (according to statistics published by the NAEA). Today, after a spirited first half of the year and after COVID has started to reduce, a typical estate agent apparently has just 23 live listings and over 400 applicants on their register.

If knowledge such as this were to be broadcast, it would skew prices-levels downwards whilst the market is flush with houses for sale and it would skew prices-levels upwards when there were not enough houses coming onto the market – as now.

In the former case, sadly there is inherent pressure within estate agency to want to hide the true facts of an excess of properties being listed for sale compared with buyers so as not to spook the market and to keep things going as smoothly as possible, rather than face the reality of a downwards-changing market, with prices dipping.

In the latter case however, with too few properties on their books and too many buyers wanting them, broadcasting the lack of supply actually helps agents to justify trying for rising prices even against general economic trends! This has been what’s going on recently of course.

Selling agents may try to argue that it is the desperation of buyers which is forcing the prices up but that does not explain why the housing markets are operating at such low efficiency in terms of completed sales. This shows serious imperfections, resulting in their lack of stability which means these markets are in need of a completely new approach to buying and selling houses.

In my analysis and resultant diagnosis following understanding the true causes of these problems, two specific ways to deal with them emerge.

A: Firstly there should be restrictions on the right to occupy a proportion of houses in each locality as being permanent “Primary Residence” restricted. This would mean these houses would be for use only by local people, such as key workers for example.

Most people seem to agree that each locality absolutely needs housing to be affordable to those fulfilling the essential roles in their community. This should therefore be enshrined in each area’s local planning rules.

Secondly and very importantly:

B: The emphasis on all prices should be changed so that these are set by ‘buyer offers’ rather than seller price-rigging, which is of course not an open market practice in any way if this is carefully scrutinised.

This is where The House Price Solution (formerly described as The Hendry Solution) could come in. It allows for both of the essential changes cited above.

It would do this by re-shaping house sales methods entirely and by including the use of “Primary Residence” restrictions on certain properties.

AND

It would enable all buyers to be free to participate and establish the price levels themselves, (subject to declared “Primary Residence” restrictions, which would be locally established using the local planning rules).

To read more about how The House Price Solution could improve the way in which houses are bought and sold across all local housing markets in the whole country, please click the following link.

The House Price Solution

How to Improve all local housing markets across England and Wales

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author of:– The House Price Solution (otherwise known as The Hendry Solution).

What do you think about this idea for drastically improving the operation of all housing markets potentially across the whole of Britain?

Constructive comments are very much welcomed.

How much would you need to save a month to buy a house within 10 years?

Well in theory right now, if you were to make contributions of £200 a month into a stocks and shares Isa, (i.e. put aside earnings of £2,400 p.a.) and you aimed for a realistic yearly return of 4pc after fees, you’d reach your goal of £40,000 in nine years.
If your partner did the same, this could be £80,000.

In addition, if house prices were to fall over the same period, you could suddenly find yourself just about poised and ready to buy a place to start owner occupation in.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few ‘ifs’ in this scenario aren’t there.

The main obstacle to achieving such a dream for an increasing number of aspiring buyers is house prices themselves which, even at the lower end of the house-ownership spectrum, are out of reach for many would-be owner occupiers. This obstacle could however be removed using relatively straightforward improvements in the way that residential properties are marketed.

The present ‘government’ idea of trying to get prices to start reducing is to build many more housing units.
Unfortunately, this idea is fundamentally flawed. The reason is the effect of doing this would be marginal on price. Why?
Because unless upwards of 10% of the total number of existing houses in the system were to be constructed, little or no effect on house-prices themselves would actually be felt.

If you do the maths it becomes clear that it would be impossible to build enough new houses, even over a full ten-year stretch. The calculation tells you it would take building in excess of ten times the number of new units currently able to be built each and every year for at least the next ten years!

By deduction therefore, instead of attempting to do the impossible it would be better to look at the current methods of marketing all residential properties and change that. The sales and marketing of residential property the one thing that is highly inefficient, old fashioned and in need of significant improvement. This is the key to achieving the desired result – greater owner-occupation.

Reform the way privately owned residential properties or houses are bought and sold and you will make the process open, fair, and efficient.

Doing this would bring the prices of starter homes back within the reach of first-time buyers and they would no longer have to borrow the increasingly ridiculous amounts which are currently stopping the majority of those wishing to become owner-occupiers to do so.

The House Price Solution

How to Improve all local housing markets across England and Wales

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author of:– The House Price Solution (otherwise known as The Hendry Solution).

What do you think about this idea for drastically improving the operation of all housing markets potentially across the whole of Britain?

Constructive comments are very much welcomed.