Freelance journalist writing about housing and social policy since 1992. For more possibly interesting stuff I'm on twitter @jules_birch and I have another blog at www.julesbirch.wordpress.com
Blog Posts (706)
Alex Morton’s move from Policy Exchange to the No 10 Policy Unit is a powerful symbol of something – but what exactly?
It’s the time of year for predictions and the prospects do not look good for anyone struggling to get on to the housing ladder or afford their rent.
Will housing be a winner or a loser in George Osborne’s autumn statement? Here’s my live blog. Updated 17:00
Is it too much to imagine David Cameron telling his aides in Downing Street to ‘get rid of all this facts crap’?
The draft London Housing Strategy is the boldest attempt yet from a Conservative administration, but it still does not go remotely far enough.
Jules Birch contributes to:
Comment on: Gloomy forecast
Dan - yes it is a sentiment survey but that is what surveyors say has happened to prices ('last month saw prices pick up sharply as a net balance of 58 percent more respondents reported price growth'), as opposed to their expectations about the future
Realist - yes, I think that's part of what the CML is saying. And, yes, forecasts have been wide of the mark before, but so too have predictions that we've learned our lesson, new measures are in place to prevent a repeat etc etc
Comment on: Help to rent
Thanks for the comments
Realist/Anonymous: It doesn't feel much like 1996 to me either. I think Savills is referring to a similar point in the cycle
Dan: Point taken, it is only a forecast. Those are experimental ONS stats though. I find it very difficult to work out what is really happening with so many different indices knocking around, some covering asking rents, some just new rents and some all rents.
Comment on: Out of credit
Good point about the stick and carrot, Joe.
On claimant commitment, the report says: 'The Department plans to apply the claimant commitment to all Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants by April 2014. The claimant commitment aims to help advisers to manage claimant job search activities. Under Universal Credit claimants will be expected to complete 35 hours of job search per week and the claimant commitment can be used to manage more demanding expectations of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants from April 2014.'
Comment on: Out of credit
Good point Colin - though see Liam Byrne calling for cross-party discussions on way forward. Still seems to be support for key principles of UC but can they be delivered?
Comment on: Shared vision
Thanks Frances. Several comments I received on twitter back up what you're saying about problems with the resale market. The Shelter report argues they are partly the result of scale - having more stock would make the whole sales process easier because it could be opened up to more people.
Isn't the obvious problem with Help to Buy 2 though (or the old DIYSO offering shared ownership on secondhand homes) that it tends to pump up demand (and prices) without doing anything about supply? Without something to counteract that it would just reinforce the fundamental problem that housing costs too much in relation to incomes.
Obviously there are upsides and downsides to any policy but the Shelter report sets six tests for success that I think are a useful way of looking at any scheme: meeting people's aspirations; affordable to a wide range of households; simple and comprehensive; consumer-friendly; offering scale and long-term commitment; and addressing the housing shortage. It argues current shared ownership fails on the 3rd, 4th and 5th but Help to Buy 2 fails on the 2nd, 5th and 6th.
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