It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Archive for February, 2018

My home is someone else’s castle

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 27, 2018

It is obvious: there is no housing crisis

I stumbled across a homeless charity’s website. Figures are difficult to get but it estimated about 5,000 people are ‘living rough’ in the UK. That means sleeping out in the open at night. It is -8º C as I write this so they have my sympathy today.  I had guessed that it would be 100,000 so I was out by a long way.

Tonight then, everyone bar 5,000 of us is sleeping under a roof.

There might well be a housing crisis but it is certainly not a shortage that is the problem. A lot of those people are not sleeping where they want to. In fact I am not either. I can think of many places I would rather be sleeping tonight than here! I can think of a lot of people who would rather be sleeping here than where they are!

So the housing crisis is one of not enough of the right types of roof not a shortage.

Building lots more houses won’t fix the problem, if indeed it is one. If as a nation we were to build a lot of roofs of the right type that people want to sleep under and can afford to, then by definition they are moving out from under one roof to another roof somewhere else. The obvious conclusion is that house prices will start to go down in the types of house where the ‘pressure’ is eased by the new roofs. Alas, the value of those new roofs will also go down.

The economy and, perhaps more importantly, the banks are being kept viable by an inflated house market. The last thing the government wants is a reduction in the value of housing (roofs). Yet it has to promise lots of new houses. Still as long as it is not enough, and it never is, then all will be well.

Perhaps building a few shelters for the 5,000 on the streets would be a cheap, effective and humane thing to do. Just go out at night, scoop people up and offer them a bed. You could use some of the unemployed to do it. Obviously need detail to handle abuse of the system but doable for a very small cost compared to the benefit.

I was then moved to look at people who have their own roofs. Or rather those that shared ownership of a roof with their bank. To give it some perspective I was looking today at a letter from the Halifax telling me that the interest rate on my mortgage, in the late 70s, was 9.75%.

It is difficult to get consensus numbers but I was looking at numbers of households with negative equity. Then I looked at numbers in arrears on their mortgages. Then I looked at numbers of JAMs (just about managing). These sets certainly overlap. My estimate is that it is over 1 million households.

At some point in the UK inflation will take off or there will be a run on the pound. We can just rename the country ‘Zimbabwe’ (its president is between jobs at the moment) and leave interest rates where they are or we can put interests rates up and a million people on the streets.

It’s coming to a street near you!  After the Italian election we might get trial run to see what happens before it happens to us.

It is obvious: there is no housing crisis there is a roof type crisis.

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