Labour should read the Daily Mail

Very cheap housing – why not?

The Daily Mail has published a few stories over the past few years on couples finding very cheap ways to live. The latest is That’s one way to get on the property ladder! Couple build tiny cabin from SCRAP for just £1,000 so they can save for a deposit.  This one reports

“With its stylish living room and stunning countryside views, this glass-fronted property looks like it would be out of reach for most first-time buyers.

But the two-storey cabin was built for just £1,000 by a resourceful young couple who were frustrated with paying rent and soaring house prices.

Using recycled materials and their own skills, Christian Montez, 29, and Kyra Powell, 28, constructed the rural retreat on the outskirts of Hereford”

As with similar stories, the best rated comments are mostly positive. I like this one by  reader, Raven Mad,

“I think this cabin style of temporary accommodation may be the way ahead for those who would otherwise be faced with paying extortionate rent. Perhaps land should be set aside for these self build cabin projects. Of course, planning permission and regulations would have to be adhered to and some council tax payable. I’d consider selling up, doing it myself and let my kids have the money.”

That’s just what we should be looking at. There is an increasing demand for informal accomodation like park homes and caravans. We should allow lots of them to built to take the pressure off the housing market before the bubble inflates to a point where a burst would ruin the economy.

Labour’s Lyons Review of Housing

I outlined similar issues in my Submission to the Lyons Review on Housing – the review set up by the Labour Party.  There are some good places where “land should be set aside for these self build cabin projects”. I did catch Sir Michael Lyons, chair of the review when he was preparing the review. I got the impression that he was interested in the “crash the banks” scenario but wasnt likely to go for anything as radical as really cheap housing.

I outlined one scheme in in 2008, which suggested something similar on the Hoo Peninsular (where Pip met Magwich in Great Expectations). Upgrading the existing raiway line could have residents in Canary Warf or St Pancras within 30 minutes. There are several other similar sites around London.

There is more discussion in Don’t the young know we have screwed them?  where I report correspondence with the Bank of England. The reply had

“If additional housing supply was to cause sharp declines in house prices, this might raise concerns about the adequacy of mortgage lenders‘ capital positions and hence raise financial stability concerns.”

One columnist from the Financial Times answered me more bluntly – a flood of cheap housing would crash the banks.

The young and the poor should know this: You can’t have cheap housing because it would crash the banks and ruin the investments of the old and wealthy.

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