Timmy elsewhere

At Cap X

Pre-fab flat complexes? Sure, why not? But that isn’t the solution to our housing woes, blowing up the Town and Country Planning Act (and its successors) is.

As long as there is an artificial limitation of the supply of planning permissions, British housing will remain scarce and expensive.

As so often, the solution is not for the government to do something, it’s for the government to stop doing the things it already does.

26 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. Your writing suggests that you believe the government actually wants to solve the housing crisis. But their revealed preference is to give the appearance of doing something, while simultaneously doing as little as possible.

    Much like my own approach to work, if I’m honest.

  2. “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” – Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981

  3. Gamecock, the other Reagan quote I like is “The scariest words in the English language: I’m from the government and I’m here to help!”

  4. I think you are being excessively cynical. there is no doubt that government would like to solve some of these problems. they want people to vote for them and fixing broken stuff helps in that.

    However as Yes Minister so accurately and timelessly made clear the problem is more to do with the civil service and until a method is found to make those self declared rolls royce brains bestir themselves in the true interests of the citizenry, we’re fucked.

    Some periodic sackings would help to concentrate minds.

  5. gas explosion that was. Plus the ties that held the pieces together were made for a rather drier climate than UK….

  6. “As long as there is an artificial limitation of the supply of planning permissions, British housing will remain scarce and expensive.”

    There’s also an artificial inflation of the population going on. Someone had to be the first to say it.

  7. Cut off all government schemes pumping demand (including the BoEs low interest rates).

    Remove all government regulations restricting supply.

    Job done.

  8. Cynic,

    > Someone had to be the first to say it.

    Even the Guardian’s commenters never fail to mention it under any article on housing. From the comments on the article that Timmy is referencing:

    Journalist Julia Kollewe mentions just three sets of residents in this article –

    Maritu Turay and her two daughters.
    Ceyda Eray and her two daughters, and husband.
    Christelle Kapeu.

    Are the clues in the names?

    and less subtly:

    The way to sort the housing crisis is to stop having immigration of 300k a year.

  9. Lower grade bollocks than usual : cover England with houses from Brighton across the Downs and up to Northampton ignoring all the rather romantic precepts of Garden City movement that British people like for their greenery; take the numbskull Reagan seriously; the “statesman” of the “free world” who admired Pat Boone for vowing to kill his daughters rather than they live under what he considered to be Communism.
    Bottom scrapings and not of barrels.

  10. Andrew M,

    Your writing suggests that you believe the government actually wants to solve the housing crisis. But their revealed preference is to give the appearance of doing something, while simultaneously doing as little as possible.

    I agree. As I’ve said before, past and present Governments, mainly Tory but Labour aren’t innocent, have backed themselves in to a corner on this one:

    A large portion of my generation were brought up on ever increasing house prices and believe that they are wealth because of the value of their house. No small portion of those people have no savings because their house is their pension plan.

    Then there’s our children (not mine I’ll add) who believe they have a divine right to inherit their parents property at full value while the State looks after their parents in the manner they’ve been accustomed to.

    We may all have low opinions of politicians but they really aren’t stupid when it comes to protecting their votes, they know exactly what will happen to the first Government that allows enough houses to be built that it brings prices down to more realistic values. If the Tories do it it will be 3 generations before they get back in to office, the middle classes will hate them more than the left hate them. If Labour does it it may take a generation before they get back in.

    This is going to need a gradual unwinding and any sniff of a deliberate policy will have the DM throwing apoplectic rages.

  11. I do get sick of this ‘prefab is the solution’ bullshit. If there was a market for factory built houses, then houses would be factory built. The fact there isn’t tells you a great deal.

  12. Tim Worstall

    ‘gas explosion that was. Plus the ties that held the pieces together were made for a rather drier climate than UK….”

    That, and the fact that to meet government targets for construction progress the contractors didn’t bother putting most tie’s in, Soviet style.

  13. Case 4: You’re building a house for somebody else using sombody else’s money…

    Younger readers should google “Ronan Point”.

    The UK has one of the highest proportions of owner occupiers in Europe. Those houses are then security for other transactions. Any attempt to make houses depreciate like any other asset would collapse the economy.

    And why does the UK have so many owner occupiers? Because the goverment all but outlawed private landlords back in the sixties using Rachman as an excuse.

  14. Roué le Jour:

    [Ivy] Hodge survived, despite being blown across the room by the explosion—as did her gas stove, which she took to her new address.

    Makes you proud to be British.

  15. @Roue le jour
    “Any attempt to make houses depreciate like any other asset would collapse the economy. ” A good ,if unintended,
    conclusion to Bloke in North Dorset’s analysis.
    So the Housing Market is entirely fucked and has been for decades; arguably much of the rest of the economy is also fucked as young households paying massive rents and mortgages cannot buy British goods and services only imports from low wage/low rent parts of the world.
    So what’s to be done about it? Since it was Small Brain -Big Knickers that got us into this terminal-looking impasse, it is her party that should get us out of it, as beneficiaries of the house price inflation racket vote Conservative in life-long gratitude.

  16. Things began to become unstuck for Russia when Americans started arming mujahidin in Afghanistan with Stinger missiles with which these simple religious fanatics brought down Russian helicopters. Soon the freedom these simple folk brought had spread into the Middle East which dissolved into enduring chaos.
    As things began to deteriorate ,the Americans responded by running round trying to depose any nasty strong man like Saddam Hussein who might be holding the ring anywhere .
    Also these friendly American nitwits prised Poland etc away from the Soviet system and, not knowing what to do with them , got them to join the EU where their low wage rates destroyed European economic stability. As now.
    The fall of the Iron Curtain has certainly seen a transformation

  17. “The fall of the Iron Curtain has certainly seen a transformation”

    Things were far better under Uncle Joe, eh Comrade?

  18. “If there was a market for factory built houses, then houses would be factory built.”

    Um, bollocks. That makes as much sense as saying that if there was a market for driving at a hundred and fifty miles per hour, people would be driving around the M25 at a hundred and fifty miles per hour.

    When government artificially restricts the supply of houses, people get the houses the government lets them have, not the houses they want.

    Over here, you can drive to the house shop, pick a house, get it loaded onto a truck, and have it driven to where you want to live. In Britain, that would probably violate three thousand convoluted building regulations.

  19. “as beneficiaries of the house price inflation racket vote Conservative in life-long gratitude.”

    So people will vote Conservative because LABOUR trebled the price of their house? Actually, probably far more than that, given houses would be much cheaper if not for Labour’s imposition of central planning on house building.

    What a funny world you live in.

  20. I’m not even convinced that housing is that bloody expensive to warrant changing the system, to be honest.

    The average wage is, what, £25000/yr? If my average partner earns an average wage then we’re on £50000/yr and can afford a mortgage for about £250k. The average house price is under £250k.

    So what the fuck is the problem, then?

    If people are worried about London, the free market will come to the rescue. If it’s too expensive to locate a young new service business in London, they can just go elsewhere in the country. Plenty of room. And by all accounts it actually looks like this is what’s happening. I thought the hype about this internet thing is that I don’t need to physically be in the same room as you guys to share my amazing knowledge and insight. Let’s embrace that, hey?

    As for the younger, poorer end of the market, that is more readily resolved by building upwards not outwards. No new cities required, just a few tower blocks here and there will do the trick. Design of these has come a way since the 70s. There’s one in New York that has a big shared kitchen and living space in the middle with lots of small separate living spaces around it – almost like a little village on each floor. What a nice idea. It’d solve some of the social isolation problems that come with the excessive segregation of the suburbs too.

    Of course the biggest underestimation at the moment in the world of planning is that of how much building land will be in our hands within the next 20 years thanks to driverless cars making a massive proportion of car parks redundant.

    But people will wake up to all of this I am sure by the time they’ve come up with their crap solution to another non-existent problem.

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