Introducing our housing series: Home Truths…
Britain, like many developed nations across the world, is in the midst of a housing crisis. Ordinary citizens, even those working full time and earning decent wages, are priced out of home ownership and paying exorbitant rents. For young people, those sky-high rents, combined with ever increasing property prices, are making saving for a home all but impossible without help from the bank of mum and dad.
Which is fine if mum and dad – or the grandparents – have the sort of spare cash required for a deposit, but bad luck if not.
The knock-on effect, of course, is widening wealth inequality; a deepening divide between the “property haves” and “property have-nots”.
Since an ever diminishing number are enjoying the security of home ownership, more than ever are facing life at the mercy of (too often unscrupulous) landlords. No wonder people are increasingly disillusioned with a capitalist model in which this most basic of benefits is out of reach. No wonder Jeremy “for the many not the few” Corbyn has, among younger generations in the UK, proved so popular.
The housing market is in fact a perfect example of the crony capitalism that is gripping the West – which is why it is UnHerd’s theme of next week.
At the centre of the week-long series is an in-depth investigation of the UK housing market, “Home Truths”, by Liam Halligan. The multi-part analysis explores the scale of the problem and identifies nine characteristics that help explain our “property apartheid”. Bold reform is needed to break the “iron triangle of vested interests” that Liam identifies, and in his final essay he presents his manifesto for achieving just that.
Alongside “Home Truths”, James Bloodworth takes a look at life at the bottom of the private rental market, Nigel Cameron dips into the murky world of online letting, and Polly Mackenzie rejects calls for more social housing. And look out for our short video on two people’s experience of renting in London. Plus, Henry Olsen interviews Professor Joseph Gyourko on how depressed house prices in America are trapping people in dying communities.