Originally published on my blog for Inside Housing on March 5.
Theresa May is a politician with a gift for saying the right things but somehow in the wrong way.
I’m thinking here not just of the obvious examples such as the ‘nothing had changed during the election campaign’ and the collapsing lettering of ‘Building a Britain that Works for Everyone’ during her Conservative conference speech last year. She does it even when she is most in control of what she is saying.
She did it in her first speech as prime minister when she dedicated herself to tackling ‘burning injustices’ but only succeeded in drawing attention to the fact they were the legacy of the previous six years of Conservative rule.
She did it on Friday when her big speech on Brexit rightly pointed out that ‘we can’t have everything’ only to prompt a German journalist to ask ‘is it all worth it?’.
And she did it again in her speech on Monday launching the new version of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Originally published on my blog for Inside Housing on February 16.
Housing is so often presented as a story of inequality between the generations but what about inequality within generations?
Analysis published on Friday by the Institute for Fiscal Studies confirms the familiar story of the collapse of home ownership among younger people that has been accompanied by a surge in private renting and adults still living with their parents into their late 20s and early 30s.
The IFS briefing concentrates on people aged 25-34, exactly the age group who could once have been expecting to take their first step on to the housing ladder.
The collapse has obviously been biggest in London but home ownership rates have fallen even in the cheapest regions like the North East and Cumbria.
Originally posted for Inside Housing on February 13.
When you’re used to seeing things up close sometimes it makes sense to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Just such a macro look at housing comes in the latest episode of one of my favourite podcasts.
This week’s episode of Talking Politics is about what it calls ‘the fundamentals’, the factors that influence the politics of voters’ everyday that seem to outside the control of the politicians
The discussion starts with two propositions that are startling not just in themselves but also because they come from Cambridge academics who are more used to talking about Brexit and Trump than housing affordability and housebuilding.
The first is that housing is more politically important to the government than the NHS. Following on from that, the second is that if Jeremy Corbyn wins the next election housing will be the main reason why.
Originally posted on my blog for Inside Housing on January 25.
More of us now rent from a private landlord than at any time since the first man walked on the moon.
Figures in the 2016/17 English Housing Survey published on Thursday show yet another rise in the proportion of households renting from a private landlord and decline in home ownership.
More than 20% of us are now private renters, the highest figure in any year since 1969, the year of Woodstock and one small step for man.
Owner-occupation declined slightly from 62.9% to 62.6% but that overall figure conceals two very different trends.
The proportion of households who own outright rose again to 34.1% while the proportion buying with a mortgage fell to just 28.4%.
To put that second figure in perspective, throughout the 1990s more than 40% of us were buying with a mortgage.
Social renting remained stable at just over 17% of households, but with the local authority share of that falling again.