Latest posts

Housing

Slippery slope

It is time to change our attitude to high land and house prices. What we should strive for is price stability at the very least. This would strengthen our economic competitiveness, and future generations of first-time buyers will thank us - if national politicians ever have the courage to stop feeding the craving of the middle class for exponentially increasing house prices. [...]

Taxing land value is just another questionable tax

There has recently been much public debate about the introduction of a land value tax. To its supporters such a tax promises to achieve several goals simultaneously. On closer inspection, however, the arguments in favour of land value taxation are not convincing. On the contrary, the economic foundations on which proponents of this tax rely are dubious, and there are significant legal, moral and practical problems with land value taxation. [...]

A property-owning oligarchy?

The British seem to be fixated with house prices and follow the development of the property market like the weather report or the latest football results. Prices have been going up and up in the past, and if annual house price inflation occasionally drops to a mere five or six per cent, one can already hear commentators becoming fearful of a slump. [...]

Rising house prices: Nothing to boast about

We believe that implementing both reforms – of the planning system and of local government finance – would make the supply of housing more flexible and deliver the kind of well-designed, spacious, affordable housing in green cities which the citizens of Germany or Switzerland take for granted. We hope that it is not too late to change a system that, to date, has nothing better to boast about than ever-rising house prices. [...]

Better Homes, Greener Cities

The report makes a number of proposals, including allowing local authorities to retain more tax receipts arising from new developments to encourage them to attract new inhabitants to their areas; introducing a Social Cost Tariff worth £500,000 per hectare to compensate communities for the costs of development; and devolving all aspects of the planning system apart from minimum building targets to local authorities. [...]

Planning for better and cheaper homes

Clearly, there is something rotten in the state of UK housing. The rest of the developed world enjoys living in modern, spacious and affordable accommodation. Meanwhile the British are living in houses in which single-glazing windows moving against each other can hardly be cleaned and hot and cold water runs from two separate taps – a caricature of British housing published recently in Germany’s leading quality daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. [...]

Bigger Better Faster More – Why some countries plan better than others

Following the success of Unaffordable Housing – Fables and Myths, which exposed the failings of Britain’s centrally planned system of development, Alan W. Evans and Oliver Marc Hartwich went on a journey in search of alternatives. Interviewing planners, politicians, real estate agents and academics in four countries – Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and Australia – they uncovered how other countries succeed, and sometimes fail, to give people the housing they want. [...]

Local solutions for Britain’s bleak housing market

Britain is a rich, modern and dynamic country but its housing is among the oldest, pokiest and most expensive in the developed world. I am German and have lived in London for just over a year. When my friends and family visit, they are surprised at how sub-standard British houses look. That surprise turns into astonishment and shock when I tell them how much one has to pay for them. I am becoming increasingly irritated at being pitied all the time – and yes. I know I could afford something better in Germany. [...]

Unaffordable Housing – Fables and Myths

Britain’s Soviet-style planning system means that we live in some of the smallest, oldest and costliest homes in the developed world. But is this the housing we want? Unaffordable Housing is the first of a three-part series of pamphlets investigating the causes of, and solutions to, Britain’s housing shortage. Alan W. Evans and Oliver Marc Hartwich ask how Britain's housing has become the laughing stock of Western Europe. [...]