On 09/07/2018 5:22 PM, J. P. Gilliver (John) wrote:
> In message <***@mid.individual.net>, Jenny M Benson
> <***@hotmail.co.uk> writes:
>> Of course it means nothing at all. It's a phrase which really p****s
>> me off. There must be millions of us in this country who cannot and
>> never will be able to afford to buy our own house - unless
>> "affordable" is made to mean priced in tens rather than thousands of
>> pounds. £50,000 is affordable for SOME people. A couple of million is
>> affordable for SOME people. What a STUPID expression it is.
> Go on, tell us how you _really_ feel (-:.
> I agree: it is a phrase that, if it ever _did_ have any meaning, has
> lost all of it.
> I'm still bemused by why property prices have done what they have, on
> supply and demand principles: 30 years ago, say, it was possible for
> _many_ people to anticipate owning their own home by a reasonable point
> in their life, and the population hasn't changed _that_ much over that
> time; therefore the only supply/demand aspect that has changed is
> household size, i. e. a lot more people want to live alone than did say
> fifty years ago (young singles vs. young couples). But surely that
> demographic change must be about due to have worked its way through by
> now, so why the astronomical change in prices (and I mean in real terms,
> say number of years average wage)?
> The only explanation I can think of is something other than supply and
> demand, such as speculation; if that is the reason, it's depressing, and
> "something needs to be done" - but I don't know what, and usually the
> first _several_ "somethings" that come to mind are wrong. ("Something
> needs to be done": "this is something, so let's do it.") You can't
> _just_ "punish" speculators by, say, heavily taxing any difference
> between what people bought at and what they sell at, because that
> punishes those who just want to move (or downsize or upsize), rather
> than profit; if prices _have_ gone up, people _have_ to ask more than
> they paid, in order to be able to afford what they're going to. (It is
> also a disincentive to improvement, such as insulation or double
> glazing.) I don't have an easy answer; assuming speculation _is_ the
> cause of the problem, any disincentive to/punishment of speculation will
> be messy to avoid punishing the innocent.
Some of the effect JPG points to can be accounted for by, yes,
speculation (there are many places in London where houses are standing
empty, being investments by rich people who actually live abroad. Then
there is the rise of the "second home" - it seems as though for those
with the means the acquisition of a holiday home (which stays unoccupied
for much of the year) is nowadays mandatory. We have friends who live in
Yarmouth (IoW) and they tell us that the place is like a morgue during
the winter since many of the houses are either second ho,mes otr holiday
That this is only a secondary effect in driving upo house prices I
admit. The failure of successive governments to crack the whip on the
building firms is the prime cause in my opinion - in other words it is
supply and demand.