Originally posted on October 11 on my blog for Inside Housing.
For all the government’s new-found enthusiasm for social housing and local authorities, the politics of the housing crisis are still fundamentally about home ownership.
Anyone pleasantly surprised by the change of tune in the green paper will still have found two particularly discordant notes: the convictions that welfare reform is ‘empowering tenants as consumers’ and that social housing should be a ‘springboard to home ownership’.
Housing may have been the dominant issue at fringe meetings at the Conservative party conference but two reports out this week highlight the fact that the frustrated aspirations of young private renters are still the dominant concern.
The new Tory think-tank Onward brought forward publication of a proposal for new tax incentives for landlords to sell to long-term tenants following reports over the weekend that the government is considering it as a new form of Help to Buy.
And a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies put the problem of frustrated ownership into perspective.
Over the last 20 years owner-occupation among the 25-34s has fallen from 55% to 35%. Their incomes are up by 19% in real terms but rents have risen 38% and house prices 173%.