I am inclined to think that thisrecession could have far-reaching consequences in terms of housing. It is a comparatively recently that the ownership of one’s home hasbecome the overwhelming orthodoxy. It does in theory have advantagesover other forms of access to housing. But it has been carefullyorchestrated for the advantage of the financial and buildingindustries; why should people want to join a housing ladder asopposed to having a home of their own. The word ladder impliesmovement and aspiration, reaching ever higher. It makes it somehowshameful to be content with your existing home. It leads in manycases to people spending all their energies climbing it, buying ahouse, upgrading it in some way, selling it and moving upward. Wouldit not be better for the soul to have a nice Sunday afternoon walkwith friends and family than to spend it re-papering the lounge forthe umpteenth time.
However, if lending and thereforeborrowing persists in being difficult for several years to come asbanks encouraged by government attempt to return to the previousstatus quo, even the theoretical advantage of house owning may becomeless attractive. We have had an extended period of time whenrepaying a mortgage on a rising value has been beneficial but amortgage on a static value may not be so good.
It is claimed that there is a chronichousing shortage. If the government were to genuinely support alow-cost housing initiative and instead of providing the banks withthe wherewithal to rebuild their funds, which they so foolishlysquandered, left them to sink or swim on their own and instead pouredthe money directly into house building that shortage could be reducedand house values could be stabilised. This would allow a variety oftenancy and part or joint ownership schemes to be created which wouldperhaps suit a higher proportion of the population than the presentone size fits all mortgage system. It would also remove the, as ithas turned out, false projections of ever increasing GDP and wealthnot based on goods produced but on goods consumed. It is obviousthat no politician with an eye to short-term popularity would suggestconsumer led increases in GDP was a work of the devil but we haveheard about consumer this and consumer that for several years withoutanybody, politician, journalist or other public figure, campaigningagainst it. We the people have been badly let down.