UK’s Housing & Land
The Housing shortage & Land.
The problem is that houses are seen as investments to make a profit in the future rather than homes to live in. The cost of the land on which they are built is a major factor particularly in the exceptionally high demand and therefore high priced areas of the country in, for example, the South East of England. The selling off of Council Housing in the Thatcher era contributed greatly to the present crisis. Radical measures are needed.
Suppose that ALL land became the property of the State i.e. held in trust for all of the people, then land for building on could be released at NO charge and the occupier of the building would pay an annual lease for the land based only on the amount of land and not the building on it. This would be fair to all. Following the death of the principle occupants the building then becomes the property of the State with the local authority acting as agent and becomes available for renting. This would achieve three main objectives; houses would revert to being homes rather than investments, the cost of building a new home would plummet and eventually all homes would be rented rather than bought leading to greater availability, affordability and fairness. Additionally, considerable income would be generated through the lease payments for the needs of the population. Moving to a new area or to a larger or indeed to a smaller house would, if anything, become easier. This change could be achieved in little more than a generation. As all land and property would be held in trust for the people by the State but administered locally the system would be democratically accountable.
The same principle would be applied to current landowners and businesses. On the death of the current occupiers of land or the collapse of a business, buildings would become the property of the State and a rent paid by the new tenants. Farmers for example could still pass the business on to their children thus ensuring continuity but the land would be held in common.
Of course none of this is likely to happen due to electoral resistance by the current home owners who will cling to the notion that property values will rise above inflation for ever. This cannot be as like capitalism, of which housing and land ownership is a part, depend on ever increasing production and consumerism. It is better for our future generations to seek a new way now.