Housing and the decline of mobility

A bricklayer working on an estate in Aylesbury

Here, dear readers, are some truly terrifying figures. Median prices for property in England and Wales have rocketed 259pc since 1997, while earnings are up just 68pc. The average worker needs to pay 7.6 times annual earnings to buy a home, up from 3.6 times in 1997. In London, the ratio is even higher: the gap with the rest of the country, which was small 20 years ago, is now massive.

No wonder the UK homeownership rate has collapsed to 62.9pc, the lowest proportion since 1985. That is eight points lower than the peak in 2003, undermining the ownership society that is the bedrock of the British capitalist model.

How can such poor and declining affordability possibly be sustainable or sensible? And how can anybody – including those who do own a home – not see that the UK faces a major problem? Creating a division between housing insiders and outsiders won’t help the property-owning majority....


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