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  • Mal McCallion

Property 'is only for the rich now'

Updated: Dec 11, 2023


A report in the Guardian today declares that Office for National Statistics (ONS) data proves property is now the preserve only of the rich.


'It has been two decades since a household with the median income could afford a mid-range-price house in England', quotes the article and the stark data looks to back this up. But it doesn't really stand up to the 'looking out of the window' test, does it?


There are plenty of properties being bought and sold - not as many as last year, for sure, but still an amount not too far away from the average.


If everyone apart from the extremely well-off can't afford homes then who's buying them?


Of course there is a real issue about affordability - at over 7x average earnings, house prices are way beyond the 4.5x that used to be considered the unbreachable barrier before prices plummeted. Yet we're an island without enough properties, basically - and it's getting worse.


So hand-wringing articles leveraging one set of data to justify a headline aren't particularly helpful. More so are creative plans to overcome this supply-side shortfall - turning disused offices into homes is a really good idea, providing, of course, some thought goes into it.


Undoubtedly we will be swamped with further data encouraging us to fear the worst for ourselves and our children. It might be nice if, just once, a balanced feature came out that acknowledged the difficulties but also constructed some opportunities around it.


I won't be holding my breath, however.



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