Property industry a 'market failure'
The property industry has been a market failure, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper argued at Housing 2012.
Polly Toynbee, speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester yesterday, said: ‘The property industry has proved to be a massive market failure in predicted and unexpected ways. ‘The private sector didn’t build in the boom and is not building in the bust now.’
Housing had moved up the political agenda, she told delegates, as people on higher incomes had now been affected by the lack of housing.
Housing should be a ‘commodity not a casino’, she said. ‘Those who own their own homes have become reluctant gamblers.’
London’s deputy mayor for housing, land and property Richard Blakeway at the same session suggested the current climate and recent changes in housing presented an ‘opportunity’ for the sector. ‘There’s a real opportunity for the sector to step up and grab of some of these opportunities and shape the future of housing policy and investment,’ he said.
He also wanted to see more affordable homes for the service industry, such as those who worked in retail, hospitality and restaurants in London, he said, and low cost home ownership properties.
Housing providers needed to ensure they are using their capacity for borrowing and providing land to ensure the increased supply of homes, Mr Blakeway added.
Andrew Harrop, secretary general of the think tank Fabian Society, revealed his organisation’s research at the session which showed only 16 per cent of the public of public want more tax to be spend on housing, while 35 per cent want less tax and less spending. It also discovered 8 per cent of people believed government spending went on housing when in reality it is 3 per cent.
‘Supply [of housing] has not increased and we need proper property taxation,’ he told delegates.
Mr Harrop also suggested: ‘It would have benefited the housing market if we had had a bigger crash at the time of the crash … our housing is still unaffordable.’
‘I think we as a sector need to think hard about how we might turn spending streams into capital funding now,’ he added.
The Chartered Institute of Housing and Inside Housing’s report on social housing and social mobility (SMASH) was launched at the session.
Head of the SMASH taskforce Lord Richard Best said: ‘Social housing is good for social mobility.’