Top five posts of 2016

So farewell then, 2016, but before you finally bow out there’s just time for one last reflection on the year that’s gone. So here are my top five posts of 2016:

  1. A shameful conquest of itself
    For the first time since I started this blog, the top post was not the one I wrote in 2012 marking the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report. This post was written in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum. Some of it comes across now as too pessimistic about the immediate consequences but the questions I posed then remain unanswered now.
  2. 10 things you may not know about the Beveridge report
    A tweak to Google’s algorithm may have been knocked it off its perch in 2016 but this remains far and away my best-read post of all time. The way that page views fall off in the school holidays and then surge again in term time is one clue as to why. So many of my posts for Inside Housing are an immediate reaction to news that it’s interesting to see how one like this gathers readers over time.
  3. What David Cameron’s tax returns say about property
    David who? I hear you ask. As our ex-PM lectures in American and (god help the western alliance) maybe hopes to become head of NATO, this was a reminder of just how well leading politicians like him, George Osborne and Tony Blair have done in the property market. Things may have changed somewhat under Theresa May but, with up to 30% of MPs making extra cash from being a private landlord, is it any wonder that housing policy is so skewed towards the property haves?
  4. Revealing the real Rachman
    Another post from 2012 that continues to attract a significant readership. Rachman is a more elusive figure than you might expect from a man who gave his name to Rachmanism and this post covers the background revealed in a BBC documentary. I think my post from 2014 on Rachman, rogues and renting deserves more attention than this one, even more so now that the pendulum is swinging back towards greater regulation of private renting. Who’d have thought at the start of the 2016 that letting agent fees to tenants would be banned in England?
  5. Book review: The Financialization of Housing
    My review of what I think is one of the most important books on housing published in 2016. Manuel Aalbers poses a fundamental challenge to the view that the principal cause of the housing crisis is a restricted supply of new homes. Rather, ‘In the age of financialised capitalism, house prices are primarily, but never exclusively, driven by the supply of housing finance’. It’s a book that deserves many more readers than its cover price suggests it will get.

Most of the posts here are cross-posted from my blog for Inside Housing but the ones I’m highlighting here were written exclusively for this blog. They are less focused on housing and some do not mention it at all but it’s still the subject that links them together.

Two others are worth mentioning again even though they did not make the top five. Farewell to the Great Social Reformer was my facetious send-off to Iain Duncan Smith – though the referendum result gave him the last laugh. Book review: The Rent Trap featured another very good book on housing from 2016, worth it for the eye-opening chapter of interviews with landlords alone but a much wider investigation of the state of private renting.

For a more general review of the year see my post on 2016 and the end of the end of history.

That’s it from me for 2016. My New Year’s resolution is once again to post more here, even though I failed again this year. Best wishes for 2017.

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