Monday, 18 November 2013
Immigration raises house prices.
This Pieria article provides some new evidence that the miserable shoe box size houses currently being built and which most Brits are condemned to live in is down to planning restrictions. As it says: “The aim here is to ensure that the pressure on green belt is reduced.”
I calculated those restrictions added £40,000 to the cost of the average house about a year ago. And a study by Policy Exchange got about the same £40,000 result.
However the article didn’t spell out one of the main causes of this problem perhaps because it’s not politically correct to do so. So let’s spell it out. It’s down to the combined effects of planning restrictions and increased population which in turn is mainly due to immigration – though other factors like people living longer are significant.
In Britain in 2013, as in Stalin’s Russia or Nazi Germany, it’s best not to express “unacceptable” political views if you value your career. So I don’t blame anyone who chooses not to mention immigration when discussing shoe box size houses.
The article also takes a de rigueur swipe at profit motivated builders. It says: “While house builders are no innocents in all this…” Really? There was no evidence in the article that house builders were guilty in any way whatever for our “little box” houses.
If it were profitable for house builders to build thousands of mansions, each occupying an acre of land, why wouldn’t they? They’re motivated by profit, aren’t they?
And that all rather knocks a hole in those recent studies which look simply at the FISCAL effects of immigrants and conclude that immigration makes us better off. Yes: if immigrants pay more tax and/claim less benefits than natives (which it seems they do by a small margin), that makes stuff provided by government (e.g. healthcare) cheaper for natives. But of course that completely misses the standard of living hit suffered by natives when they find they have to live in shoe boxes rather than decent sized houses.
You could blame it all on planning restrictions rather than immigration. But planning restrictions are there for a reason, namely that green belts are of value: they are a form of wealth. That is, build on them so as to accommodate immigrants, and the wealth of existing UK citizens is diminished.
I personally have housing to the North, South and East of me, with green fields to the West. If those fields to the West were built on I’d consider myself far worse off. But that wouldn’t show up in the official GDP figures.