The Gracious Speech: Housing

Once again, the government has announced grand plans for faster planning and more affordable housing. But given its record, it is doubtful whether grand plans will finally become grand designs. [...]

Das britische Wirtschaftswunder – Schein oder Nichtschein?

Insgesamt sind die Briten heute nach 15 Jahren Wirtschaftswachstum so hoch verschuldet wie nie zuvor. Das werden sie spätestens dann schmerzlich merken, wenn sich der Wohnungsmarkt abkühlt. Denn dass auf den langen Immobilienboom eine Korrektur folgen wird, gilt als sicher. Dann wird sich auch zeigen, was der Aufschwung der vergangenen anderthalb Jahrzehnte wirklich wert war. [...]

Housing U-turn?

Hopefully the debate about PGS is over and the discussion can move on to making the tariff work. If properly designed, it could both strengthen local democracy and help to build the houses this country needs. [...]

Vorsprung durch Technik – learning from German planning

If Britain cannot shift the balance towards more local incentives and decision-making in planning, then good and affordable housing will remain something that the British will only be able to see on TV – when reporting from Germany, says Oliver Hartwich [...]

Kein eigen Heim, Glück allein

Wer in England den Fernseher einschaltet, der hat im Wesentlichen die Wahl zwischen endlosen Variationen aus drei Grundprogrammen: Dokumentationen über den Zweiten Weltkrieg, Kochshows und „Schöner Wohnen“- Reportagen. Insbesondere die letzte Kategorie erfreut sich in jüngster Zeit wachsender Beliebtheit, denn die Briten haben für die eigenen vier Wände eine Leidenschaft entwickelt, mit der sie früher höchstens über das Wetter reden konnten. Nur leider ist Wohneigentum für viele Erstkäufer inzwischen unbezahlbar geworden. [...]

A house price nightmare

The current subprime mortgage crisis in the US was at least partly caused - and definitely exacerbated - by restrictive town planning policies. This has negatively affected affordability and led to a debt bubble which now spectacularly burst. If there is one lesson to learn from this, we have to make sure that house prices are not artificially inflated by planning policies. [...]

The rising tax burden for first-time buyers

Apart from rising house prices, first-time buyers have also been hit hard by the burden of taxation and regulation that is associated with moving house. Buying a property has become more expensive in recent years thanks to increases in stamp duty rates and the fact that stamp duty varies with house prices. [...]

Planning against growth

The planning system has repercussions that are felt far beyond the housing market. Higher land prices affect every area of life which requires land or has a factor of production which is linked to land, whether it is residential housing, industry, commerce or services. Wherever land is needed, high land prices matter. [...]

Time to rethink the national green belt policy

What kind of country is England? If you ask the people living here, the answer you are likely to get goes something like this: England is a country on an overcrowded island with ever-further sprawling cities and a countryside that is under constant threat of becoming covered in concrete by rampant development. According to a recent survey, 54 per cent of the respondents believed that at least half of England was developed with one in ten even estimating the development degree to be above 75 per cent. The reality, however, is far away from this perception. [...]


Planning was introduced in 1947 as an attempt to co-ordinate, but also to promote development. Over time, however, its focus shifted to urban containment and it has become a brake on economic growth. It is high time to radically simplify the planning system to unleash the true development potential of the British economy. [...]