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The 'lack Of Supply' Myth


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We clearly don't have an abundance of housing. Sure a shed load of people might lose their jobs and have to sell up soon, but it's not like we've got row upon row of good quality housing sitting around empty. We apparently have 900,000 thousand properties sitting around empty. But where are they? What condition are they in, and if you do manage to track down the owner and ask him if he wants to sell it'll be at market rates. Unless we find the owners of lots of them it's not going to increase supply.

True, nearly everyone is housed. But I think if you look at America, Spain and here, the difference is a huge over supply of properties.

Our "crash" is going much too slowly for my liking. Our bubble was/ is bigger than the states. The fact that we have been building the smallest sized units of housing in Europe, and not really keeping up with demand, means our bubble is deflating less quickly.

Did we in the mid/late 90s?

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people have had less spendable income since 2008, have places like london/home counties/commuter belt crashed, remained broadly flat or gained?

Yep, according to the land reg, London prices have only fallen by 3% since early 2008 (what, around 18% nominally?) - not bad given historically low base rates, 200 billion QE, trashing the £ and stamp duty breaks.

Prices really are resilient there...

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Neo, interesting but I need to question your statement, "average household size is around 2.3 people". How many properties are there in the UK? I often see quoted on here about 22 million. If this is true then there is one mother of a supply issue!

Around 22.5 million households (in England and Wales) X 2.3 = 51.8 million (roughly the England/Wales population)

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Yep, according to the land reg, London prices have only fallen by 3% since early 2008 (what, around 18% nominally?) - not bad given historically low base rates, 200 billion QE, trashing the £ and stamp duty breaks.

Prices really are resilient there...

yes that proves it :rolleyes: I can hear all the hpc corks popping.

3% is clearly a massive crash that disproves any resilience even when compared to 40% in NI and other parts of the country :rolleyes:

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Land with planning permission goes for about £2m per hectare even after the credit has dried up while the same land has a value of less than 1/100th of that for agricultural purposes.

Explain that to me and then I will consider the lack of supply myth.

...er...because you cant house a number of families on a flat hectare of land unless they bring their own caravans?

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yes that proves it :rolleyes: I can hear all the hpc corks popping.

3% is clearly a massive crash that disproves any resilience even when compared to 40% in NI and other parts of the country :rolleyes:

Nah, only from those of us smart enough to live outside the S.E. ;)

Still, how long do you think it'll be before all those savvy investors realise that they would get a better return stuffing their cash in a matress rather than investing in London property?

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...er...because you cant house a number of families on a flat hectare of land unless they bring their own caravans?

But at typical housing density that land with planning permission adds something like £60k to the cost of the house.

If I could buy land at agricultural prices and then build on it I would be £60k better off even letting Barratt or some other developer build the damn thing for me.

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Nah, only from those of us smart enough to live outside the S.E. ;)

Still, how long do you think it'll be before all those savvy investors realise that they would get a better return stuffing their cash in a matress rather than investing in London property?

considering that many of the investors are foreign and trading on weak sterling then never?

as much as I dislike BTL and pwoperdee investors, unfortunately the answer is still probably never.

It isnt just the SE either, there are lots of areas in the country that have remained reasonably well insulated because of the levels of work there or distance to main towns/cities.

I hope that further falls come and once public sector cuts really happen and then filter through to the private sector that basically relies on and supplies the public sector then things should start moving but those main areas will still fare better than other areas of the country imo.

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But at typical housing density that land with planning permission adds something like £60k to the cost of the house.

If I could buy land at agricultural prices and then build on it I would be £60k better off even letting Barratt or some other developer build the damn thing for me.

If you could build houses on agricultural land then there would be no Barrats. There would be no farmers either :D they would have all built shed loads of houses then taken their millions with them somewhere nice :D

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Rents, as far as I can tell, have been fairly stable.

This suggests that it hasn't really become more difficult to acquire a house, it has just become more difficult to shake off scrounging leeches.

There isn't a shortage of houses there are an excess of property parasites.

As for the failure of prices to crash, I think people are confused by the illiquidity which always comes along with attempts at price fixing.

We don't really know what the clearing price of many houses is, because they are not clearing.

Government and banks are attempting to fix prices in various ways including mortgage support schemes, and low interest rates.

Of course, if you think there is a shortage of houses then why not build a few?

Edited by (Blizzard)
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Did we in the mid/late 90s?

What does it matter? Supply can be generated in more ways than builders having built an excess of them. People overextending themselves and then being repoed will increase supply. I'm sure there will be plenty of cheap slave boxes in the next few years. Nice four bed detached houses close to places with lots of work will still be a luxury.

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What does it matter? Supply can be generated in more ways than builders having built an excess of them. People overextending themselves and then being repoed will increase supply. I'm sure there will be plenty of cheap slave boxes in the next few years. Nice four bed detached houses close to places with lots of work will still be a luxury.

The house itself doesn't matter much, it's the land. If I could get a crappy house on a good bit of land, I would simply demolish and rebuild (or more likely extend and renovate) the house.

Hence my comment on building houses. There isn't a shortage of houses, there is an artificial shortage of land. This shortage is artifical because it is created by hoarding, and to a lesser extent by government planning regs.

If there was a shortage of houses, then it would be profitable to build some. Yet the builders have scaled back...

Edited by (Blizzard)
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If there was a lack of supply or a shortage of housing in the UK then by that logic there'd be alot of families on the street as there would be no where to live either rent or buy. A property in my area has been available to let for over a month now and another for sale across the road for over a year now.

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If there was a lack of supply or a shortage of housing in the UK then by that logic there'd be alot of families on the street as there would be no where to live either rent or buy. A property in my area has been available to let for over a month now and another for sale across the road for over a year now.

Well everyone I know who has come back from SE Asia with wives and children are living with their parents as they have missed out on the bubble and pissed away their money on some hopeless scheme to make themselves self sufficient overseas.

I bet there are loads more who have never left the UK who can't leave the parents' home.

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Well everyone I know who has come back from SE Asia with wives and children are living with their parents as they have missed out on the bubble and pissed away their money on some hopeless scheme to make themselves self sufficient overseas.

I bet there are loads more who have never left the UK who can't leave the parents' home.

Misallocation. Plenty of elderly retired people living in massive empty houses.

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Misallocation. Plenty of elderly retired people living in massive empty houses.

Yes. but where there is (or was should I say) some semblance of a free market in land then the oldies can live out there days in their large house while the youth can build there own somewhere else.

I grew up in the US and the rental market there, in the good days, operated on the assumption of a 10% void rate. I could walk into an apartment complex in a nice part of town and they would ask me if I wanted a one, two, or three bed place and how long I wanted to stay. It was like approaching a hotel out of season. And believe me they made money as I invested in apartment real estate investment trusts.

Trying to match households to existing houses is state control gone mad. Massive slack, compared to what we have, is needed.

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Yes. but where there is (or was should I say) some semblance of a free market in land then the oldies can live out there days in their large house while the youth can build there own somewhere else.

I grew up in the US and the rental market there, in the good days, operated on the assumption of a 10% void rate. I could walk into an apartment complex in a nice part of town and they would ask me if I wanted a one, two, or three bed place and how long I wanted to stay. It was like approaching a hotel out of season. And believe me they made money as I invested in apartment real estate investment trusts.

Trying to match households to existing houses is state control gone mad. Massive slack, compared to what we have, is needed.

I agree. I'm not proposing that the government shuffle the houses around, I'm suggesting that the market would if it weren't rigged.

There isn't a shortage of houses, there is an artificial shortage of land. That is caused by hoarding, and to a lesser extent planning laws.

As far as I can tell rents haven't risen over inflation for a decade.

I suppose that we would disagree on the following point. I think that the introduction of a free market in land (or a land-value tax, which is essentially the same thing in this respect) would not cause a significant long-term increase in building.

It would cause the current houses to be reallocated away from the scroungers.

In a nutshell the bubble was caused by banks lending against future promises of confiscation from workers, by land-owners.

Edited by (Blizzard)
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There isn't a shortage of houses, there is an artificial shortage of land. That is caused by hoarding, and to a lesser extent planning laws.

Overly restrictive planning laws are no.2 on list of policy's that are detrimental to the nation's financial health, it's like the government taking a brand new motor and then smashing the wheels off before selling to the public. Their actions deliberately impoverish us.

I guess we can't have the proles opting out of the daily grind though, their landlords do have families to feed

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Now I know bulls regularly like to cite 'lack of supply' as the reason for rampant HPI over the past decade but I recently came across some statistics which appear to undermine this argument.

Between 2001 and 2007:

The UK population increased by almost 2 million. Office for National Statistics

Now, given that the average average household size is around 2.3 people, then we would need around 870,000 homes to house this increase in population.

So how many homes have been built over this period? 1.17 million!! Which by my reckoning is around 30% more than required for this increase in population.

Housing completions 1991-2007

So, is there anything I've missed or can we now bury the 'lack of suply' argument?

You're not taking account of the fact that household size has reduced from 2001 to 2007 - more people live in single-person households - this is one reason why supply (i.e. new homes) is not keeping up with demand (population growth).

Edited by Unsafe As Houses
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Overly restrictive planning laws are no.2 on list of policy's that are detrimental to the nation's financial health, it's like the government taking a brand new motor and then smashing the wheels off before selling to the public. Their actions deliberately impoverish us.

I guess we can't have the proles opting out of the daily grind though, their landlords do have families to feed

I can't understand why more people aren't outraged by the idea of listed buildings.

We're supposed to be obsessed with property 'ownership', but with a listed building you have to ask for permission to hoover the carpets.

If you have to ask for permission, then you don't really own anything.

Surely that makes the whole scam completely obvious to anyone?

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You're not taking account of the fact that household size has reduced from 2001 to 2007 - more people live in single-person households - this is one reason why supply (i.e. new homes) is not keeping up with demand (population growth).

And yet rents haven't increased.

Or have they?

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illegal immigrants dont come up on any census or government data ie they offically dont exist.

That's not true - although the response rate for the 1991 Census was 98%, 94% for the 2001 Census and it will be less again for 2011 - ONS adjust the population counts from their collected census data using a follow-up survey of 1% of the population. So the population counts they publish at various levels of geography are intended to represent ALL persons in that area - including illegal immigrants - not just those who participated in the census.

Although whether their population counts are accurate is another matter :)

Edited by Unsafe As Houses
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I can't understand why more people aren't outraged by the idea of listed buildings.

We're supposed to be obsessed with property 'ownership', but with a listed building you have to ask for permission to hoover the carpets.

If you have to ask for permission, then you don't really own anything.

Surely that makes the whole scam completely obvious to anyone?

100's of years' worth of effective conditioning?

People were shipped off to Oz in their thousands for infringing upon the rights of property owners, asking permission is now second nature.

Edited by Chef
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