The housing market is out of control: time to remove subsidies for speculation, and focus on real need
The Royal College of Nursing points out that house prices have risen by 6 times the rate of increases in nurses’ pay over the last 6 years.
If older readers are tempted to congratulate themselves on the (unearned) increases in wealth this is bringing them, you should just remember the younger people squeezed out of the market altogether by never-ending price inflation, deliberately stoked by the Tory government as an alternative to sustainable economic growth (and to reward its voting base).
This latest frenzy is the result of a topsy-turvy system which encourages wealthy people to invest more and more money in property – unneeded extensions which increase the value of their homes, second homes, rental properties, holiday homes to rent. Yet however many 4-bedroom villas are built, it doesn’t produce better-quality, affordable housing either to buy or to rent, which the people shut out of the market need.
The housing market needs radical change and I am waiting for the first national party to grasp the nettle. As a mininum:
- Put capital gains tax on ALL property gains, including first homes – nurses’ pay is taxed, so why not unearned property gains?
- No schemes like stamp duty holidays which simply send the market crazy.
- Increase council tax on second homes and make local bans easier where communities want them.
- Stop developers land banking – force them to build where permission has been given, or remove the permission.
- A national plan to ensure adequate housing for all – not a planning free-for-all which rewards landowners and developers while harming our environment.