Friday, 11 November 2011

This is not the answer

We keep being told that more and more people are suffering in retirement as they don't have enough pensions, so the article linked above came as a bit of a shock.
Potential first-time buyers should be allowed to use their pension savings to buy homes, according to a new report on how the boost the housing market.
Well - that would go some way towards boosting the housing market, but is it really the best answer?  More money available to buy homes will mean house prices rise, so the problem gets even worse.  Surely it'd be better to find some way to bring house prices down, like relaxing planning permissions?
The number of property sales in the UK has crashed since the recession despite 5m people "languishing on waiting lists", the CBI claims today in its Unfreezing the Housing Market study.
I assume that they mean social housing waiting lists, rather than waiting lists to buy a house.  As far as I know (and my brother is in the process of doing it right now) all you have to do is find a house for sale, plonk down the cash and it's yours.  Sure - there are contracts to exchange and the like, but no waiting lists.  So realistically speaking, how many people waiting for a council house are going to be able to buy a house, even if they could access their pension funds?
The CBI said housebuilding, which is at the lowest peacetime level for 90 years, also needed to be increased. It called on the Government to address "structural housing market failures" and allow offices to be turned into homes without planning permission. 
That at least sounds sensible...

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