The profit maxim is paramount and is reflected in well established economic theory of supply and demand – holding back supply when demand is high, keeps prices high.
But only a monopolist – or a cartel – can do that. In a market high prices stimulate new supply, see?
Emeritus Professor of Construction Management , Glasgow Caledonian University
Ah, right, another proof that the expansion of the universities wasn’t a good idea.
Quality and standards have drifted over the last 40 years with house prices rocketing despite their diminishing size. The Parker Morris space standards of the 1960s are not difficult to achieve, nor would they slow down production. Several housebuilders have tried minimalist approaches to new homes, such as “tiny homes” for solo living, but many buyers have quickly realised that these were not a long-term solution.
We can expect that we will require more flexibility from our homes in the future, as technology drives changes to how we interact and socialise. Reasonable living space such as under Parker Morris standards would be well-placed to accommodate future changes.
Similarly, quality standards are required. Consumer protection law exists to ensure consumers are treated fairly when buying goods and services, and that businesses operate within the competition law. Yet despite a new home almost certainly being the largest purchase most people will ever make, new homes are not explicity protected by the scope of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The home buyer has little means of redress when something goes wrong.
In order to ensure the rights of homebuyers are truly protected, the Competition and Markets Authority should examine the concentration of shareholdings within the industry with a view to limiting the direct influence of a small number of large institutional investors, and to expand the remit The Consumer Rights Act to include new homes.
And maybe we could get the government to stop insisting upon 13 dwellings per hectare in order to gain those:
the Tudor Walters Report recommended that new homes were not to be cramped terraced houses packed into available space, but rather open and airy, low-density garden suburbs.
As far as I can tell it’s actually illegal to build to those post WWI standards of garden size etc.