We have a housing shortage therefore we must not build more houses

G. Lean again:

At first sight, the scheme – brainchild of the iconoclastic planning minister, Nick Boles – seems unexceptional. It will allow “redundant” farm buildings to be replaced by up to three houses – either by adapting them or tearing them down and rebuilding – without the need to get planning permission

Yup, that’s the proposal. Let’s take extant buildings and convert them so that people can live in them. This is, of course, an outrage. Because, you know, allowing the rich to look at nice countryside is more important than having somewhere where people can live.

But it’s this which is truly lovely:

Worse, as the Yorkshire Dales authority says, the plan will “totally undermine” existing schemes to provide for local needs. National Parks, for example, provide for unobtrusive conversions to allow farmers to house relatives and provide affordable homes. But these would be blown away in the free-for-all, making local people worse off. The National Housing Federation, “the voice of affordable housing”, has roundly condemned the scheme.

Yes, truly. The creation of more housing units will kill attempts to create more housing units.

These people are shameless, aren’t they?

28 thoughts on “We have a housing shortage therefore we must not build more houses”

  1. The proposals from Nick Boles (another SECRET LAND TAXER and openly gay/he could only hide in plain sight in the Conservative Party)are an outrage:build enough houses and prices will collapse. As the majority of people look to their houses to produce in unearned income more than they can earn honestly, so vote accordingly, he is being downright unpatriotic and seeking to undermine the” economy ” and what is Britain’s political gift to the world: how to rule by bribing people with their own money and keeping house prices up.

  2. We need more homes in rural areas to prevent villages becoming retirement communities, so the story goes. I’m ambivalent; the local community is split 50/50. Proposers are primarily individuals on the make (land owners, builders, estate agents…) rather than altruistic types. The ne’er sayers are essentially and understandably nimbies. Right now there’s a lot of kicking and screaming, but it appears to be getting done – building that it. Affordability remains the problem.

  3. Mr Lean argues that under the current system a small number of conversions are made at affordable prices, then claims all barn conversions are so expensive that only the rich will buy them.
    DBC Reed is, for once, nearly right – except the only way that you get to fully cash in on the rise in the nominal value of your house without having to buy another or pay inflated rents is by dropping dead.

  4. “build enough houses and prices will collapse”

    Is this a real thing that happens ? Do you actually have any evidence for this?

  5. Bernie,

    “We need more homes in rural areas to prevent villages becoming retirement communities, so the story goes. I’m ambivalent; the local community is split 50/50.”

    I couldn’t give a gnat’s fuck what the “local community” thinks. We don’t decide things at a “local community” level, and if villages think they can do it, then us townies will start digging up the electric cables, phone lines and roads that you use that we provide and we get little benefit from and let’s see how you enjoy your atomised little reality.

  6. [i]“build enough houses and prices will collapse”

    Is this a real thing that happens ? Do you actually have any evidence for this?[/]

    There is only one way to reduce house prices and that is a wholesale abolition of planning and building regulations. Merely building more houses under the existing system will just produce more houses that can only be sold for current values, because thats what they cost to produce, accounting for the planning permission and also the all the other state imposed costs (building regulations, planning gain contributions etc), the latter being a greater contribution to the cost than the former BTW.

    Until such time as a person can buy a plot of land anywhere in the UK and build a dwelling of their own design and construction on it, houses will continue to cost more and more in the UK. And it doesn’t actually require a single house to be built – the knowledge that one ‘could’ do that would reduce the value of all other houses/plots suitable for building overnight.

  7. Runcie Balspune

    “Is this a real thing that happens ? Do you actually have any
    evidence for this?”

    Houses in the UK sell for around 5-6x average earnings, even in shitty places like Liverpool. Compare that to houses in US cities that do not have planning control, say Huston and houses sell for 3x average earnings. Houses in the US are much, much larger too. The unique achievement of the UK is to have both the most expensive and smallest houses in Europe.

  8. DBC Reed (I’ve changed the capitals around for effect)

    “another secredt land taxer AND OPENLY GAY…”

    I’m sorry, what difference does his sexuality make to this discussion? Would the planning debate be altered in any if way if he was, say, Jewish?

  9. “The National Housing Federation, “the voice of affordable housing”, has roundly condemned the scheme”

    Funny that; a trade body roundly condemns a scheme that will allow somebody else to make a profit it thought it had stitched up for itself.

  10. “…blown away in the free-for-all, making local people worse off”

    Again the same theme emerges. Take the Lakes in Cumbria: everyone wants to live there, or at least everyone who can afford a retirement home or a beautiful second home and can afford to dream about it. Young people who might come into the area to work (y’no, that economic activity thing) or who grew up there and might want to stay have been priced out of the market; simple supply and demand.

    Now, build enough houses and yes, some of that premium might disappear. So Geoffrey Lean’s “local people” are actually older, wealthier, quite probably not local at all and are fighting to protect their privilege.

  11. On the other hand (he says facetiously)

    “Worse, as the Yorkshire Dales authority says, the plan will “totally undermine” existing schemes to provide for local needs”

    Now, where would we be if the world worked by giving people what they wanted (perhaps using a “pricing mechanism”) rather than what they needed? Have you thought about that TIM WORSTALL? Have you? Because Geoffrey Lean clearly has!

  12. “build enough houses and prices will collapse”

    Is this a real thing that happens ? Do you actually have any evidence for this?

    ——————————————————————–

    Looks out of window…..

  13. @jim
    ” And it doesn’t actually require a single house to be built – the knowledge that one ‘could’ do that would reduce the value of all other houses/plots suitable for building overnight.”

    I don’t think people in the UK get this. House prices are kept up by the consensus, whatever is paid for the house, it will be more expensive in the future. The moment this is perceived to be no longer true, the entire paradigm reverses. I’d put the “investment” element of most properties in the SE at over 50%.

  14. “I don’t thin Lean is so much shameless as irredeemably thick.”

    The usual thing with Lean is he’s regurgitating some pressure group’s press handout*. So it’s a matter of tracing his source material.

    *His claim, a while back, Mongolian herders reduced the protein content of a cow to the size of a man’s fist was a classic. It works out as a density 15X uranium.

  15. I think he really wants to solve the housing problem by hoping lots of us, dissenters from his impeccably correct green views especially, die.

  16. “National Housing Federation”

    I see your problem right there. Government interference with housing should be local, not national.

  17. “But these would be blown away in the free-for-all, making local people worse off.”

    A major problem for local people in countryside everywhere is that they cannot afford houses because of “Londoners” from various places, buying up the supply as holiday homes. Clearly those local people would be far from worse off if there were more houses & could even afford to stay. The only local people who could possibly lose would be those who own houses and are expecting to sell them (usually post mortem) at a price established by a bureaucraticly established monopoly.

    If Lean can name any other local people who become “worse off” I’m sure he will do so.

  18. Problem is with Geoff that, as has been pointed out above, he just regurgitates any and all press releases from enviro pressure groups as God’s Own Truth. Even if they contradict previous ones.

    He had a real “told you so”, gloating moment with the latest ad-hoc computer-model generated excuse for “the pause” regarding trade winds. Problem was, his column was about 2 days after WUWT and others had pointed out that a couple of years back there was an equal-and-opposite paper claiming the absolute opposite effect on trade winds.

  19. bis scores
    I have been pointing out for years that the marginal price of houses in London and, consequently, the rest of south-east England is set at the level which will exclude enough people for it to reduce demand to match supply. If supply actually matched demand without the freezing-out factor prices would slump to a reasonable level.

  20. @BiS: the ‘investment’ element of housing (as you rightly call it) is an utterly rational response by the population to rampant money printing. People have soon cottoned on to the fact that post 1970 prices of everything only go one way, and the one thing that is in both (relatively) fixed supply and needed by everyone (houses) is the best bet to keep up with the inflation of purchasing power over time. If 100K put in the bank bought the same amount of stuff in 20 years time as it does today, then the incentive to have to go out and buy (and manage/maintain) property would subside immediately. And housing could go back to being the boring thing you live in that costs you money over time, not one that makes it.

    While our savings continue to become worthless within our own lifetimes, the only rational response is to buy something that doesn’t.

  21. @ John B
    You have to work backwards from some figure that is less than your income after tax & NI minus government levies (council tax etc), insurance, transport-to-work-costs, essential living costs (food, clothing, heating, school costs that are notionally, but only notionally “voluntary”) and what *you* think is essential that I have missed out*. This figure is, for a 25-year mortgage, comprised of 4% of the nominal amount plus two-thirds of the interest on the original gross.
    Basically if you don’t have to worry about buying fish-and-chips on Friday evening, it’s affordable.
    *Some time ago I got heckled on this blog because I mentioned that I had given Human Resources Dept a list of Youth Hostels when they demanded that I, as a “Senior Executive” or whatever the phrase was at the time,should provide them with contact details while I was on holiday. (It worked, they never asked again, even after I got married) but most would-be home-owners should budget for holidays.

  22. John77/John B

    Nice and rational and sensible, as you always are. However, how about “affordable’ is what you’re prepared to pay. One way or the other it seems, in the large majority of cases, to work out the same.

  23. Slightly naive question here, but surely just building more houses isn’t going to solve the problem necessarily?
    As far as I can see, there is a finite amount of properties that can be built in central London, and as long as the demand from a *global* pool of investors exceeds that supply and can soak it up, the prices will remain high to the point of being out of reach of most UK buyers.

  24. It is a slightly better quality off tripe than the recent lefty demand (discussed here iirc) that “we” build loads and loads of houses in bits of the country where very few people want to live.

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