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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Government 'considering rural house price capping'

The government is reported to be considering a policy of capping prices of some homes in the countryside to ensure they remain affordable to local residents.

The Daily Telegraph says a group considering the future of rural areas, overseen by the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, is looking at capping as a result of prices being pushed up by people buying second homes while local wages remain relatively low.

In a discussion document put to the group, it ic claimed that the lack of affordable housing in the countryside will continue to be a "prominent issue" in future.

The newspaper says the document states: "Ideas of what a future rural scenario could look like were discussed, including the idea for mandating ‘affordability’ of property in perpetuity to ensure the property doesn’t get sold on for a higher price and therefore adding to the pressure of providing more affordable housing.

"Attendees debated the viability of rural communities if this pressure was to continue, especially if the rural population grows older and wealthier. It was concluded that the provision of flexible, affordable housing in rural areas would continue to be a prominent issue in the future."

Here is the Telegraph article.

Earlier this year the National Housing Federation described swathes of rural England being prone to becoming ''pensioner pockets'' as young families find themselves priced out of the areas they grew up in. 

West Somerset had the highest projected proportion of pensioner households by 2021, with 47 per cent of households there expected to be headed by someone aged over 65. 

The Telegraph reports that North Norfolk, East and West Devon, East and West Dorset, the New Forest, South Lakeland, the Malvern Hills, Ryedale, the Derbyshire Dales and the Cotswold district also had high volumes of pensioner owners.

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    Lunacy. Let market forces determine by releasing more land around villages. Settlements should be allowed to expand proportionally. Government would be better engaged considering tax incentives to encourage the 'grey market' to sell.

  • Matt Brereton

    Agreed that younger people are being priced out everywhere, not just rural areas. But you can't interfere with the market, and why should pensioners who have saved for retirement and put all the money into property be penalised because someone arbitrarily decides prices are too high in an area? More needs to be done to incentivise jobs and training in rural areas, a new national living wage should also help. But ultimately we need to overcome rampant nimbyism and creaking planning systems to deliver more new homes across the country. I have been to plenty of places recently - in the South East, Hampshire, Derbyshire, Cumbria - where there is sensitive development going on. It's high time local authorities and home-owners realise that a certain amount of development, which allows younger people to stay in the area rather than being dragged into the big cities, is good for local communities.

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    Playing with market forces is only going to lead to distortions as happens every time a government puts its oar into the property market. As someone who lives in a rural community and deals with rural property on a daily basis, the only sane answer to this problem is to build more social housing in and around our villages for rental only, in addition to more smaller houses for sale. The biggest mistake was selling off council houses and not replacing them in those communities. Council houses at affordable rents allow people who will never be able to get onto the housing ladder to rent in perpetuity in their own communities and gives them social stability. It also gives the opportunity for others to save and move out of rented and into the open market, as it always did - and it worked.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    @ Matt Brereton - nonsense! Why can't you interfere with market forces if it's for the good of the country as a whole? No, let's all just sit back and watch house prices skyrocket until nearly everyone is priced out of the market other than rich overseas investors and oligarchs. That sounds like a sensible plan.

    Look how well allowing market forces to dictate things has done for trains, utility companies, supermarkets, etc. It's the same with RM's monopoly in the property industry, the very thing a significant number of agents seem to be railing against. You can't have it both ways.

    We need to end all this free market nonsense. Free market shouldn't mean unregulated and unrestricted - it shouldn't mean the few getting rich off the many.

    It might sound idealistic, but why can't we return to a time where houses are actually affordable and don't cost buyers a small fortune to purchase? A small fortune that leaves them saddled with debt in some cases. What's the point?

    Why can't we return to a time where young people are given hope of actually owning a home? Because, for the majority of 18-30 year olds, that ain't ever gonna happen. Which might be OK if the PRS was up to standard, but it very definitely isn't.

    Why can't we return to a time where house prices going higher and higher, beyond the reach of most ordinary folk, is greeted with dismay rather than cheers? The whole idea that you buy a house and make a load of money - a load of unearned money - from market forces alone is bonkers.

    I'm fed up of people saying we must never interfere with market forces. We've had agents in these very comments saying they would like to see a return to a more stable, rational housing market - one where people don't have to save for 25 years to own a home, one where buyers are encouraged rather than stalled.

    But no, some people would rather wealthy people buying up hundreds of buy-to-let properties and second homes - that they use for about one month a year - in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. Because, you know, that's just the way it goes.

    We've become so afraid of state intervention and public investment in this country that, even when it's the right thing to do, it's outrightly dismissed.

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