The over-inflated property prices we have suffered in the last couple of decades can be traced right back to the original right-to-buy schemes championed by Margaret Thatcher in the early ‘80s. Local authority housing stock was sold off at huge discounts to tenants on the basis that we’d all be ‘better-off’ if we owned our own homes rather than continuing to rent. It turned us into a nation obsessed by the concept of home ownership at any cost, and of making money from owning these homes.
But as we’ve seen in recent years, it’s not real money and it’s led to the current situation when millions can’t afford to move and millions more can’t access the finance they need to purchase somewhere to live. And at the same time there is not an adequate supply of good quality publicly owned housing available at affordable prices for those who can’t, or don’t want to, get on the housing roundabout.
A house is a place to live; it’s not a place to make money from. What we need is pressure on lenders to do their jobs and lend money. And money made available for new, affordable, housing for those who can’t afford to buy.
And for those of us who see property as something to profit from, remember this. Whether house prices rise or fall, and whether you make money or lose money from your house, you need a roof over your head. Your house can either be somewhere to live, in which case it’s your home, or it can be for investment, in which case it can provide an income or some cash when you sell it.
It can’t be both.