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?

James Somerville
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.

4 thoughts on “Eh?”

  1. I’ve long held the belief that if something is really screwed up and can’t be fixed by sensible discussions then somewhere in the process is the virulent fingers of the government.

  2. The irony being in my hown town that the houses crammed into terraces by Victorian developers are more sought after now than the houses built under the modern building control system.

    I do agree however that the control of the housebuilders over the quality of their construction is shocking – the NHBC is entirely controlled by the housebuilders – it should be abolished and replaced with a statutory requirement that house buyers can rely on to get repairs made to newbuilds that don’t come up to scratch, which is a LOT of them, the building methods used are shoddy in the extreme.

  3. And maybe we could get the government to stop insisting upon 13 dwellings per hectare in order to gain those

    Blair & Prescott – they also banned fireplaces & chimneys in new build.

  4. OT – Boris Johnson’s amnesty for illegal immigrants

    @Mr Ecks et al

    Please spread

    Make your voice heard on Boris’s suggested amnesty for illegal immigrants

    In his first statement to the House of Commons as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson suggested that the government would ‘look at’ an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    Mr Johnson had already indicated during his leadership campaign that such a scheme could apply to those who have been in the UK illegally for 15 years.

    He first mooted the idea for an amnesty for illegal immigrants when he was campaigning to be Mayor of London. With respect to our new Prime Minister, he was wrong then and he is wrong now.

    The implication of such a proposal is that if you break the law and remain undetected for 15 years you will qualify for the right to remain in the UK permanently and be granted the right to working age and retirement benefits (whether or not you have paid taxes or made National Insurance contributions), very likely having already enjoyed free health care, education and other services.

    This makes no sense and it is not something that most adults in the UK, who have dutifully paid their taxes and National Insurance contributions, will regard as fair or reasonable.

    That is why we are inviting the public to sign a petition – ‘Rule out any prospect of granting an amnesty on illegal immigration’ – on the Government Petitions website.

    Adding your signature will help to send a clear and unambiguous message that such an amnesty would send all the wrong signals, be totally counter-productive and be little more than manna for the traffickers. Let’s not forget that 77 per cent of the public see illegal immigration as a serious problem facing the country….


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