Debate Magazine

Moneyweek on Top Form

Posted on the 28 April 2015 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

John Stepek nails it here, summing up Labour's latest bright idea, rent controls, and the government's (of whatever hue) attitude to house (land) prices generally:
But while it might be economic stupidity, it’s pretty smart politics – which sadly sums up the general tone of this election campaign nicely.
We all know that housing – specifically, house prices – is one of the most important issues to the British electorate. That’s why politicians like to make sure that they keep on rising.
If your average British homeowner sees that the price of their property is going up, then all must be well with the economy, and therefore they should vote for whoever is in power. That’s the simplistic – but I suspect, highly accurate – political calculus involved.
But there’s a twist this time around. Prices have been going up for so long that an ever-increasing group of people is feeling somewhat disenfranchised. In 2005, 70% of people owned their own homes. This year it’s down to less than 65%.
Those left at the foot of the ladder still aspire to own property. They still dream of the day when they too will benefit from an unearned, tax-free windfall resulting from a leveraged bet on house prices, as is every hardworking British family’s birthright.
Trouble is, they can’t see how they’ll ever get on to that ladder. And it’s clear that their parents are worried too. Apparently, 80% of the public believes Britain faces a housing crisis, says Mori.

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