Mainstream's definition of a healthy housing market: "anyone earning an average wage, can afford to buy a house"
House prices need to go DOWN not UP
One of the ways that we're supposed to be better off under the coalition is what Cameron and Clegg call the "buoyant housing market". This is another way of saying "House prices are shooting up all over the country". The political establishment and their economic "advisers" LOVE to see house prices shooting up. They call this "buoyant", "healthy" - how would we feel if politicians said that it was healthy and buoyant if food prices shot up - or clothes prices shot up. Housing is a NECESSITY just like food, clothes, petrol and electricity; and we should be trying to keep prices of all necessities stable. Prices are going up because the demand for houses far outstrips the supply.
The causes of the over-demand are firstly the enormous pressure of inward migration; but secondly the use of houses as a way of earning money from savings. Instead of houses being just a place to live - a home - the housing market has become en enormous casino, where people with spare money to spend, buy up our houses, knowing that the "buoyant" market means that their value will keep on shooting up, and they can be re-sold at a profit in one or two year's time. Whose fault is this? This is totally the coalition's fault, by setting the bank rate so absurdly low at 0.5%, that there is no way any more that anybody (apart from a millionaire or a premiership footballer) - can find a savings account, where the interest they get will keep up with inflation.
But a large number of house purchases - probably up to a third - are not by our own citizens at all: they are being bought by overseas buyers who often leave them empty; these houses are not being used as homes at all - just a big investment gamble. Of course the coalition welcomes this as well - they call it "inward investment".
MAINSTREAM by putting the bank rate up to 2% immediately, will make saving bank and building society savings accounts, worthwhile again. MAINSTREAM will encourage the public to see stable or falling house prices as a good thing - it enables first-time buyers to get on to the housing ladder. House sellers who up-size to a bigger house - will get less when they sell their existing property - but of course their NEW house will also cost less. The only people who lose out when house prices fall, are those who sell up to go abroad, or when houses are sold after a house-owner's death and the money goes into the deceased's estate. MAINSTREAM would set up rules to make it more difficult for investors from overseas, or anyone else, to buy up houses as a way of investing money to make a profit. We'll get back to the situation where a house is just a place to live - a HOME. Period.
MAINSTREAM would set a minimum deposit and end the "Help to Buy" scheme and any other schemes which offer zero-percent deposits, as these schemes simply encourage people to get into debt, instead of the normal way which is to save first for a deposit - then buy and pay the balance over 25 years.
OUR HOUSING CRISIS
The answer is NOT to flood all our remaining green fields with a million new houses
The answer is to STOP house-buying speculators
Suppose you've got some savings. This could be from an inheritance, from a Pension lump sum, redundancy money, whatever.
You could just keep it in a piggy-bank, but each year that passes by leaves your money worth less because of inflation. So if you don't want to splurge it all immediately, you put it in a Savings account. This pays interest on your money - the more your savings, the more interest. But the interest should be at least enough to cover inflation so at least your money is not LOSING its value.
AT LEAST that's what used to happen - till the 2008 crash, when politicians in power all over the world came up with the totally stupid idea of zero or near-zero interest rates. Overnight saving became useless and pointless - governments wanted us to do the opposite, borrow and get into debt, and then spend this money to create jobs. Savings accounts paying a meaningful interest are now only available if you're in the premiership footballer earnings league. For the rest of us the only way to stop your savings LOSING money is to buy a domestic property. This will always go up in value more than inflation, so when you sell it, your savings have actually GONE UP in value.
Well all that credit-fuelled spending has created loads of jobs - but not HERE - these new jobs are all in the Far East. We're all poorer - China, Malaysia, South Korea, India are all richer. So now all these new rich, have lots of savings, they have the same problem: where can they put their money so it keeps its value? There are no savings accounts anywhere in the world. So they look for small countries with big populations, which already have a housing shortage. They also need a country which lets anyone from anywhere buy our houses - no questions asked. You guessed it - they picked on US. Our Tory and Coalition government have been screaming invitations to the rest of the world "you're welcome! Please buy up our property and housing land! It's a good investment! It's shooting up in value!" That's why none of our own citizens can get on the housing ladder any more - even a couple with both working in professional jobs. The Chinese especially are buying up huge chunks of land and housing in all our cities. Most of these houses and flats are empty - they don't care, they know the worse our housing shortage gets - the more their property holdings are worth. They're laughing. We're not laughing.
MAINSTREAM would pass laws to stop ALL overseas speculation. All our housing stock - and building land - would be reserved by law for our own citizens. The expatriate empty-house investors would be forced to sell, house prices would start to fall - this in turn would force more and more speculators to sell to avoid a loss - so prices would fall even more. Then the speculators won't be laughing. But our people who want a house as a family home - not as a way of making a big profit - we'll be laughing.
OUR HOUSES MUST BE OUR PEOPLE'S HOMES
NOT A GIANT CASINO TO PAY THE WORLD'S MILLIONAIRES A JACKPOT
End the “Right to buy”
Houses are a precious resource, paid for by local taxpayers. A previous tory
government legalised tenants to buy their council houses off the local council,
so they would then own their own house. The houses were sold at far below the
market rates, so many people bought and then just re-sold them at a big profit.
It was literally helicopter money. This has led to a big shortage of council houses now in most areas of the country.
would end totally, the so-called "right" to buy council houses. If
council tenants felt they needed to own their own home, and earned sufficient
money to pay for a mortgage - they could do the same as they always used to
do - buy a house on the private market, then move out and leave their former
council house for a more needy family.
MAINSTREAM would end totally, the so-called "right" to buy council houses. If council tenants felt they needed to own their own home, and earned sufficient money to pay for a mortgage - they could do the same as they always used to do - buy a house on the private market, then move out and leave their former council house for a more needy family.
RATES not COUNCIL TAX
MAINSTREAM would abolish Council Tax and replace it with a Rates system. This would set the householder's payments based NOT on the house value , but only on the house SIZE. This is much more sensible as the value of a house varies over time, and also in different parts of Britain - eg, a house in London is worth far more than a house in Newcastle or Lincoln. The size of a house hardly ever changes. With Rates, you don't ever need revaluations; the ten bands would be the same all over the country: One-bedroom Flat, Two-bedroom Flat, Three-bedroom flat; Two-bedroom house, three-bedroom house, Four-bedroom house; Five or more bedroom house; Large Detached House; Mansion, and Palace. Rates would be paid as one payment per home, not per person occupying the home; which would encourage house-sharing.
Councils would also be able to cut the Rates to lower than existing Council Tax, because their set of functions would be cut down to just the basics - removing the necessity of councils being responsible for stuff like Adoption-Control, recording Hate-crime, and so on.
Stop demolishing usable homes
A MAINSTREAM government would end the continuing demolishing of perfectly usable, well-built homes; just because they don't meet all modern standards. It is a lot easier and cheaper and quicker, for these houses to be refurbished - "done up". But of course, house-building companies don't like this - because they make more profit when they are allowed to demolish and re-build new houses. Nearly every week there's a new report out, calling for governments to et up a massive program of new house builds. Nearly all these reports come from the House Builders themselves - we need a housing policy which is driven, ONLY be the needs of the public and not by the needs of the building industry. We should allow houses to be demolished only when they are structurally unsound and cannot possibly be mended.
No more building on greenfield sites
The post-war Labour government got City Planning right. They designated every town and city with a green belt - a ring of land outside the city, sacrosanct to be the city's "lungs" - a guaranteed right of all city-dwellers. An area reserved for them and their families, to enjoy fresh air, where no planning for building would ever be allowed. This government of planning vandals has torn the green-belt guarantee to shreds. There are no green spaces in our cities, safe any more - commons, village greens, school playing fields, parks, gardens - they can now all get built on. The building companies use google earth to find any spare green bits. They zoom in and trace the owner. Whether it's a private farm, or a city council, money does the trick
MAINSTREAM would outlaw new builds on greenfield site. Why? Because there is more than enough space on brownfield sites, for all the housing that we could possibly need (If you also take into account all the empty and derelict homes which could be brought into use). So if there's so much brownfield space available - why don't the builders do their new builds there? Simples. Because it costs them far more money to build on brownfield. These sites have to be cleaned up first. There is always more profit to be made, building on green-field, virgin sites.
New House Builds driven by Green standards
MAINSTREAM would legislate to ensure that all new house build designs, were driven by Green requirements and NOT - as now - by politically-correct requirements. The so-called "equality" laws, oblige builders to put a downstairs wheelchair-friendly toilet in all new houses. Only a small proportion of the buyers will actually want or need this facility - this should be left to the market's supply and demand ; building these disabled-friendly houses in the quantity required by the market. We should instead legislate for all new houses to have good insulation and solar panels as standard. (See why this is not discriminatory).
As we've just found out in all the recent floods - these have NOT been cause by global warming, as there were much wetter periods in the last 200 years (recorded in the meteorological records.) The floods have happened - and are set to get worse - because of the vast amounts of grassland which have been concreted over - both for houses, offices and industry, and also for car-parking spaces in people's front gardens. Millions of gallons of rainwater which - twenty years ago - filtered down for several weeks through the soil, now gets dumped straight down the grids and into the drainage system. This leads into streams. Streams lead into rivers. And the rivers flood. We could fix this , if there was the political will to do it - by ensuring that whenever any new area of land is concreted over, there are systems to let all the rainwater which falls, get through the concrete and into the earth beneath.
Soclal Housing: Relax the standards to allow low-cost builds
Present required standards for council house and flat builds, were fine for the housing situation of thirty years ago - but they don't add up in the situation we face today. After World War 2, the thousands of bombed-out families were housed in "pre-fabs" - pre-fabricated one-storey houses made of concrete slabs, which took about two weeks to build and were very cheap. These families were glad to get any housing and didn't complain. Our own citizens would put their noses up if offered pre-fabs, but for say, refugee families from Africa who previously lived all in one room in a mud hut, these prefabs would seem like paradise. Desperate situations require thinking outside the box and bending the rules. Let's relax these housing standard rules which are not appropriate to our needs today.