39 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. I have to say that this one is so barkingly mad I am a little fond of it.

    But they aren’t trying. It is too simple. It needs to be made more complex so it can employ more bureaucrats. I have a suggestion for improvement – if the price rises too much, we should assume the original buyers were naive. So they should be able to claim in front of a panel of experts that their former property was worth more and so reclaim part of the present day value. Another part should go into a fund set aside for young first home buyers. The present owner can keep the rest.

    I really should apply to the nef for a job.

  2. Granting more planning permission isn’t necessarily the answer. You’ll have noted that the highest demand is in central London, where there’s not a single undeveloped plot of land (and you can’t go building over Hyde Park).

    What we have is lots of low-rise low-density housing. If streets were companies, developers could launch a hostile takeover and buy up all the low-rise houses to turn into high-rise flats. That’s what happens in Singapore. Unfortunately, we let even a single homeowner (a single shareholder in the street) to hold the entire project to ransom.

    As a result, the only time such redevelopments occur is when the government is involved – usually council estates with a proportion privately owned under right-to-buy – and they grant themselves a compulsory purchase order. Private developers don’t get a look in.

    That’s the problem that needs addressing – or at least recognising – on top of any planning issues.

  3. I’ve got it! Instead of holding house prices for 100 years, why not reduce the price of everything to 1950 levels?

    I will immediately rush out and buy a new Range Rover, iMac, house, and private jet. And that’s just me.

    Think of the stimulus that would give the economy! Think of de jobz!

  4. Interested

    What’s wrong with the tried and tested method of sticking pencils up our noses and shouting wibble? Why over-complicate things?

    David Boyle is going around calling himself a ‘government advisor’; a bit like Richard Murphy calls himself a tax expert.

    Not economics frankly

  5. “Housing permits they are sometimes called.” By whom? I have never heard them called that.

  6. “Unfortunately, we let even a single homeowner (a single shareholder in the street) to hold the entire project to ransom.”

    That’s an interesting point and one I’m interested to hear views on. There is a series on just now about the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and that very thing happened with one property owner. It was appallingly handled and ended up with bailiffs breaking down the doors.

  7. Andrew M’s idea annoyed me at first, but might – might – have some merit. After all, the individual homeowner doesn’t lose his rights; he joins them to others’.

    Interested; I’m not sure about all the knock-on effects in Detroit, but the ‘keep the house prices low’ bit of it is working very well indeed!

  8. Ironman – “Andrew M’s idea annoyed me at first, but might – might – have some merit. After all, the individual homeowner doesn’t lose his rights; he joins them to others’.”

    Sorry but what the F*ck? You’re trolling, right?

    “I’m not sure about all the knock-on effects in Detroit, but the ‘keep the house prices low’ bit of it is working very well indeed!”

    Which proves there are more important issues than home prices. In this case, immigration.

  9. @ Andrew M
    There is a lot of empty land around each of the tower blocks in London. Just go and look!
    Why?
    Because the Attlee government decreed a maximum density of dwellings per acre, failing to discriminate between flats and houses and even a hint that someone might relax the absurd rules is met with screams of outrage implying that the eeevil Tories/developers/landowners want to fill the country with back-to-back victorian slums..

  10. SMFS

    Why didn’t your posts contain a reference to Jews? What’s wrong with you today?

  11. Hi Steve

    This could be a really interesting post and discussion. Got anything to add to it or would you rather pick a fight with me? I know SMFS’ answer, but then…

  12. Andrew M said: “What we have is lots of low-rise low-density housing. If streets were companies, developers could launch a hostile takeover and buy up all the low-rise houses to turn into high-rise flats. ”

    What you are describing is how flats are already sometimes owned. Flat owners jointly owning shares in a company that owns the freehold of the land the flats are built on.

    Besides which, developers can already buy up all the houses from the individual owners if they wish. Might not be profitable to do so but the choice is there. If you agree to sell early and get a poor price while I stick my heels in and get a better price eventually then tough.

    “That’s the problem that needs addressing – or at least recognising – on top of any planning issues.”

    I wouldn’t want to see it addressed as it would probably require eroding property rights for everyone or gross abuse of the compulsory purchase procedures to take ownership of communities as a whole, change them to some form of corporate freehold or commonhold system and then sell them.

  13. “Currently in Detroit they are experimenting with keeping house prices low. Here’s an interesting take on how things progress over time when you do that: http://goobingdetroit.tumblr.com

    It’s actually a combination of bad governance, depressed housing prices and high property taxes that’s killing those neighborhoods. Low house prices alone won’t cause that.

  14. john77 – “even a hint that someone might relax the absurd rules is met with screams of outrage implying that the eeevil Tories/developers/landowners want to fill the country with back-to-back victorian slums..”

    Ironically, Victorian slums are usually worth quite a lot now. I know people who own an apartment in what used to be a slum in Edinburgh. Even by British standards, its value makes your eyes water.

  15. “I wouldn’t want to see it addressed as it would probably require eroding property rights for everyone or gross abuse of the compulsory purchase procedures to take ownership of communities as a whole, change them to some form of corporate freehold or commonhold system and then sell them.”

    Yes, this was my initial objection too. However, there could be some merit to a system that allows groups, streets, communities, to be able to override a single owner’s objection or maybe profiteering.

  16. Ironman – “Why didn’t your posts contain a reference to Jews? What’s wrong with you today?”

    I guess I am having an off day. As you like to read about it so much, I will try harder next time. You could start with a very good book on the joys of population replacement:

    Hillel Levine, The Death of an American Jewish Community: the tragedy of good intentions. Free Press, 1993

    Ironman – “This could be a really interesting post and discussion. Got anything to add to it or would you rather pick a fight with me? I know SMFS’ answer, but then…”

    Pick a fight? Get over yourself.

  17. Bloke in Central Illinois – “It’s actually a combination of bad governance, depressed housing prices and high property taxes that’s killing those neighborhoods. Low house prices alone won’t cause that.”

    We can agree that low house prices are an effect, not a cause. That leaves you with bad governance and high property taxes. But the latter is a result of the former. So that just leaves you with bad governance.

    You are missing some other things as well. After all, other cities have high property taxes. New York’s are not to be sniffed at. Although it is rare, I admit, for a major city to appoint an illiterate to run the schools. So Detroit’s bad governance is another different level of bad. But perhaps you ought to consider crime? Street violence? Failing schools? Police incompetence?

    Or in the end, it is just one factor – population replacement. Everything else flows from that. After all, what is the difference between Detroit and Pittsburgh? The former is utterly bankrupt. The latter is regularly voted one of the best cities in America to live.

  18. @ SMFS
    I do not believe you: most remaining Victorian slums were cleared while superMac was Minister of Housing. Because my wife is a historian I live in a house which is mostly (c.80%) 19th century, but I witnessed massive clearance of victorian slums in the 1950s and early 1960s. The victorian buildings that are left are not slums: I was startled to learn that a good-quality flat in Haringey built at my great-grandfather’s expense to house artisans was occupied,
    some time after my mother had sold the leasehold, by two barristers (married to each other). So decent-quality victorian buildings have value but not slums which should have been flattened.
    Have you ever walked into a slum? I have. Last time I did so the building was only two or three years old and the other flats in the block were OK

  19. john77 – “The victorian buildings that are left are not slums: …. So decent-quality victorian buildings have value but not slums which should have been flattened.”

    Sorry but wasn’t that my entire point? What were slums then are not very expensive pieces of property?

    “Have you ever walked into a slum? I have. Last time I did so the building was only two or three years old and the other flats in the block were OK”

    Which I would suggest implies a simple rule – it is not the buildings that make a slum but the people.

    Maybe in 100 years time those buildings will be full of Yuppies too. I doubt it myself. As Britain will not have many of the sort of people who become barristers. And I would hope builders will have improved. But I am not hopeful.

  20. SMFS – Check out the tumblr link, it will explain everything. Keep in mind, the problem it documents is not “Detroit is a lot worse off than Pittsburgh” but rather “Detroit is a lot worse off now than it was in 2009”.

  21. Here in London, the wealth of the world is pushing up house prices, and surely is pricing Brits out.

    Elsewhere its the wealth of the Brits that is driving up prices, and if the Brits have the wealth to drive up house prices then they have the wealth to buy those houses – duhhhh . This simple logic is complicated by buy-to-letters.

    If there was no planning, London would stretch out to the south coast and the Midlands, with perhaps a billion (1,000,000,000) people living there, with mile upon mile of high rise.

    Given the choice perhaps half the world would live in London/New York (maybe on a tenth), they would be awesome cities.

  22. Ironman – “This could be a really interesting post and discussion. Got anything to add to it or would you rather pick a fight with me?”

    Thanks, but what are we fighting about, the controversial notion I put forth that Jews are good? OK, maybe not Ben Elton. Definitely not the Human Milipede. But in general…

    FIGHT!

    HEBREWTALITY!

    STEVE WINS! FLAWLESS VICTORY!

    “there could be some merit to a system that allows groups, streets, communities, to be able to override a single owner’s objection or maybe profiteering.”

    Sort of like how we’ve got laws regulating immigration, eh? So that, in theory, employers can’t import lorryloads of cheap labour and dump all the externalities created by them being here on the taxpaying schmucks who get to pay for their tax credits, healthcare, children’s education, pensions and so forth?

    Side note: you Merseysiders are a disputatious folk. Also, I’m not racist, but how come Liverpudlians all sound like they’re narrating Thomas The Tank Engine?

  23. johnny bonk – “If there was no planning, London would stretch out to the south coast and the Midlands, with perhaps a billion (1,000,000,000) people living there, with mile upon mile of high rise.”

    The South East of Britain (according to our new rulers in Brussels) comprises Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Surrey and Oxfordshire. It is about 20,000 square kilometres in size. Parts of Hong Kong have 100,000 people per square kilometre. So at half that rate, we could fit a billion people into the South East alone.

    Could fit another billion in the East part as well.

    But I think I should keep quiet or someone will recommend it

  24. @Andrew M, why can’t you build over Hyde Park? It would be probably the biggest value-adding project in the history of humanity, seeing as the place is basically a desolate boggy wasteland and London is gradually acquiring New York’s mantle as capital of the free world.

  25. @Bloke in Central Illinois “It’s actually a combination of bad governance, depressed housing prices and high property taxes that’s killing those neighborhoods. Low house prices alone won’t cause that.”

    Yep, I wasn’t seriously suggesting that they are actually setting out to keep prices low. I quite understand that prices are low because x, y and z.

    However, it is true that low prices do not necessarily equal nirvana, eg Detroit.

  26. @SMFS “We can agree that low house prices are an effect, not a cause.”

    Not necessarily. It’s dialectical. I live in a village where the average lowlife just cannot afford to live. Unlike Detroit, where even the average lowlife can afford to live.

    I appreciate that there are wealthy lowlife, and very good poor folks, but the kind of people who do the kind of thing that is being done to Detroit are almost exclusively poor and are kept out of my village by price.

  27. Interested – “Not necessarily. It’s dialectical. I live in a village where the average lowlife just cannot afford to live. Unlike Detroit, where even the average lowlife can afford to live.”

    There is a phrase not much heard on this blog. But it is more than that. You mean planning laws. Which are a sort of de facto system of segregation – essentially to look good, the middle and upper class Whites have abandoned the working class White communities. Instead of keeping low life criminals out of everyone’s communities, they force poor Whites to live with them, while keeping them out of their own neighbourhoods by making housing expensive, and all the while preening themselves on their moral superiority.

    However that does require those planning laws are respected. Which is almost certainly true in Middle Class White areas. And it is a bit hard when the factory owners are demanding as much cheap labour as possible.

    In Detroit it was not so much the low lifes, I think – is that the right plural? I wonder. It was the people from the same racial community as the criminals. Detroit could have survived a bit of crime. New York did. But Blacks as a whole voted to dismantle the entire system of law enforcement. It has not helped solve the problems they were complaining about – police shootings are up by something like 2000%. Police brutality is not far behind. But, hey, they stuck it to the man, right?

  28. “The South East of Britain (according to our new rulers in Brussels) comprises Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Surrey and Oxfordshire.” .. fairly close, but I might put the northern half of Oxfordshire in the Midlands.

    I stand to be corrected, but does not the north-south isogloss run through Oxfordshire, rather than above it?

  29. “you Merseysiders are a disputatious folk” – they are indeed unto themselves, but I would not have my England without them.

  30. How much would you pay for a new house the resale price of which was fixed for 100 years? If you paid what it would be worth without the price freeze, you would be locking yourself into having to take a huge loss to move house any time in the next century.

    So the price of new houses would collapse and no one would build them. The price of existing houses would go up.

    I think this proposal is much dafter than Tim suggests.

  31. johnny bonk – “fairly close, but I might put the northern half of Oxfordshire in the Midlands. I stand to be corrected, but does not the north-south isogloss run through Oxfordshire, rather than above it?”

    If you talk to people in Oxford, it seems that it runs right through Cowley.

  32. I was contemplating this post as I sipped an ice-tea in Clifton Village with my brother on Saturday afternoon and admired what is probably the finest area of the city that claims, with much justifcation, to be the finest in the UK. And I thought how it would have developed – and how Redland and Cotham and Horfield would have developed with price being removed as a rationing mechanism and signal.

    Then I pick up the post again this morning and cast my eye over a couple ofthe alternatives to the market. We could have zoning according to society’s or the communities needs, or reward for contribution to the Courageousd State or, if the regional committe chairman is a Thick Racist Prick, zoning into White areas and ‘other’ areas for people he’ll call low life criminals.

    And I wonder if the odd idiot I’ve met here in Liverpool, who objects to my Southern African accent, would he have a desire to be that committe chairman, to rule the zoning laws? His name wouldn’t matter, SMFS, Steve, Arnald, he’s the same person using different names.

  33. Ironman – you take yourself quite seriously for a guy who names himself after a comic book character. Good job you don’t call yourself Batman though, you’re not the world’s greatest detective. 🙂

    You’re from South Efrika? Dunno what it is about those guys, but they don’t seem to be a barrel of laughs. Which is odd. Because Aussies, New Zealanders, Canadians and other Anglophone colonials tend to be hilarious. So I blame the Dutch.

  34. @SMFS

    “You mean planning laws. Which are a sort of de facto system of segregation – essentially to look good, the middle and upper class Whites have abandoned the working class White communities. Instead of keeping low life criminals out of everyone’s communities, they force poor Whites to live with them, while keeping them out of their own neighbourhoods by making housing expensive, and all the while preening themselves on their moral superiority.”

    I don’t really mean planning laws, and it’s not just planning laws which keep poor people, good or bad, out of my village. It’s the market, really. Because there’s only one Cotswolds, and within the Cotswolds there’s only so many little unspoiled villages with mostly old stone houses built 250+ years ago.

    Yes, you could extend the village (which I wouldn’t be against actually) but it would stop being what it is long before you priced in many poor folks.

    I don’t know anyone here who ‘preens themselves on their moral superiority’ purely by dint of their wealth, by the way. I know people who think they do the right thing for themselves and the wider society by getting and staying married, having their kids in wedlock, making sure their kids attend school and respect their elders, helping out in all the many village activities etc, but they know that poor people can do these things, too. Just that in poorer areas more people choose not to. Chicken and eggs.

    @Ironman

    ‘people he’ll call low life criminals’

    In case this is aimed at me (I think I introduced the phrase lowlife to the thread), I meant it only as a sort of shorthand for the kind of people who will do what people have done to Detroit ie smash it up, set it on fire, graffiti it. They are lowlife by my definition. The fact that in Detroit they are black is to me irrelevant; I’ve been to plenty of mainly white areas around the world where they do the same kind of thing.

  35. Ironman makes a stand for tolerance:

    But instead here we sit, grumpy old men raging against our changing country and trying to turn back the clock. Immigrants can’t be allowed in here because they’re different and they depress the wages of my fat slag grandaughter in her sloppy leggings: how is she ever going to get her foot on the housing ladder? Well, just like her classmates: she can shag Wayne in the pub carpark and get a flat from the housing assication.

    Well, unless you’re working class and English that is.

    He also said people who want tighter restrictions on immigration are “losers”.

    Now, Steve (or am I Arnald?) is a pro-free-speech fanatic, so as far as I’m concerned, Ironchap is entitled to his views. But they sit awkwardly with his subsequent passive-aggressive insinuations that other people are the intolerant ones.

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