Monday, July 16, 2007

A rare sighting of land

In the Sunday Times (UK) 15 July, an article by Robert Booth and David Smith tells of the problems of producing affordable housing which really is affordable. Builders are able to produce a house for £60,000, which looks promising, but these homes are actually on the market for five times the build cost, at £300,000. George Wimpey Homes, the developers, say that ‘the high value of land’ is to blame, and the ‘cost of land is proving to be a huge issue’.

Over the past few years many newspaper have started issuing regular property supplements, and there are now regular TV and radio programs on the subject. These thousands of articles mention just about very aspect of the property market except for the most important one in the equation for aspiring home owners: land values. So for land to have three mentions in the ST article is a very rare thing indeed.

Why are journalists so quiet about land costs? You would have thought that a serious writer would like to carve out a niche in explaining to the general public exactly why property is so costly. It is not bricklayers and plumbers who are raking off huge pay increases which match the rising ‘house + land‘ prices. It is the high and rising land values that are reflected in every house sale and purchase, whether a new or an old property is being sold.

For more on this and some solutions to the affordability of houses read The Free Lunch – Fairness with Freedom. See:

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