Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Selfish boomers under-occupy and hoard housing.

Charity calls for help freeing up family homes

More subsides for the boomer generation at the expense of others. Older people should be encouraged to move into smaller homes to help tackle the "housing crisis", a charity says. The Intergenerational Foundation calls for tax breaks to encourage downsizing and help free up some of the estimated 25 million unused bedrooms in England. More than half of over-65s are in homes with two or more spare bedrooms, which could be used by families, says its report based on government figures. *** The campaign group also urged the government to consider replacing council tax with "a proper land tax, to reflect the social cost of occupying housing, particularly housing that is larger than one's needs". ***

Posted by khards @ 08:28 AM (2083 views)
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16 thoughts on “Selfish boomers under-occupy and hoard housing.

  • This is a topic I bang on about at every opportunity so its great to see someone has carried out a detailed analysis of the English Housing Survey to back it up with facts. Ive just had a look at the report (here http://www.if.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/IF_Housing_Defin_Report_19oct.pdf ) which is full of killer graphs showing tenure shift trends by age band etc.

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  • There was some old woman being interviewed on the radio this morning about the spare rooms in here house and how she did not want to downsize *because she did not need to. The also said that *if you bought a car then you would not be acused of hoarding a car so how can you hoard a house. There was no attempt from the BBC interview to explain to her why.

    * A swift change to the tax system, perhaps changing the council tax bands towards LVT would make her need to move.
    * The interviewer should have explained that supply of new properties are throttled by the elite/government where car supply is actively encouraged.

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  • The issues of underoccupation/downsizing and the building family homes on the greenfield need to be drawn together. The lack of the former justifies the latter. Otherwise the Campaign for the Protection of Privileged England get it all their own way at the expense of the younger generations.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Yeah! People are gradually cottoning on!

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  • Maybe after a winter with astronomical fuel price rises these folk rattling around in oversized houses will realise that downsizing to something more affordable is a shrewd move.

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  • There will be housing protests before anything happens, I guess that the protests will start once the number of pissed off people have grown to a critical mass in around 4/5 years time. Not sure that the occupy protests will achieve anything in the housing arena.

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  • ‘More than half over 65s’ – Not exactly Boomer territory.

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  • charlie brooker says:

    @khards

    Perhaps the BBC interviewer should have told her that cars are taxed on the basis of their CO2 emission and this is a proxy for a tax the number of seats.

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  • Comments on the BBC this morning tended to center on the notion that if older people downsize, they’ll be competing with young people for the smaller homes, and that no-one can afford to buy their larger houses anyway.

    The notion that is a desirable course of action is typical of those who fret about ‘concreting over the countryside’ – whereas the solution is blindingly obvious – just build more..

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Khards, it’s “tyranny of the majority”.

    After WW2, a majority of voters were private tenants, so there were votes to be had in taxing land ownership, allowing new construction and building council housing. This worked absolutely fine until the 1970s when owner-occupiers passed fifty per cent of households, at which stage, there were more votes to be won from reducing taxes on land ownership; preventing new construction and selling off council housing.

    Owner-occupation has now gone into reverse, we’re down from 72% to 69% over the past ten years or so, so the tyrranical majority still wants light taxation of (and heavy subsidies to) housing, no new construction etc, and the Home-Owner-Ist system will stay in place until o-o levels drop back to the low fifty per cent range.

    All very depressing.

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  • Charlie,

    With the intelligence of the woman being interviewed I am sure she would have replied ‘well I pay council tax’

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    UT: “if older people downsize, they’ll be competing with young people for the smaller homes, and that no-one can afford to buy their larger houses anyway”

    I take it that you realise this notion is palpable nonsense? People can’t sell houses for more than buyers are willing to pay, so it’s quite possible that prices of small homes will rise a bit and prices of large homes will fall a lot, but the idea that the big homes would just stand empty while old people live in small homes (having sold their big houses to..?) and young people live on the street just doesn’t stack up.

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  • Indeed MW – so the oldies rent them out via the council and taxpayer to large immigrant families

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  • It’s all about the demographics. Sadly it will take 20 years or so before the number of baby boomers tail off and things turn around. At least things might be better for our kids!

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  • @13 – That is around the time I may return to the UK.

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  • “The Intergenerational Foundation calls for tax breaks to encourage downsizing and help free up some of the estimated 25 million unused bedrooms in England”
    Here’s a tax break for you, at the next budget they should say Capital Gains will be payable on the sale of houses, at one rate for first house and a higher rate for additional houses, and Stamp Duty abolished, to be implemented in 2 years time. Then see how much server space Rightmove need!

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