A strange coalition – the house building lobby?

There is a coalition supporting more housebuilding; on the political front most parties support more house building; the development sector including developers are also in favour. Then there are the various groups concerned with affordable housing or the homeless and finally the commentariat consisting of various media outlets.

With such a broad and united coalition it might appear that more house building is a good thing, yet such unanimity belies the fragility of the evidence.

It is understandable why developers want more housing, more means more profit and bonuses for directors. Yet despite their reference to meeting need in reality developers cater to a market, one which is created and controlled in large part by the development lobby. They build houses to make a profit focusing on luxury housing, investment properties and the like not affordable housing.

Housing charities have an understandable concern for those in need, yet often fail to appreciate that simply building houses does not allow them to reach their objectives.

As for politicians, a combination of a desire not to attack vested interests (and presumably donors in some cases) and ideological hang-ups mean that building more houses is regarded as the easy option.

The commentariat suffer from a lack of understanding of how the housing market works, a failure to question received wisdom and a total inability to look at evidence. A good story is better than a factual understanding.

A common thread running through the comments of many supporters is to blame someone else – the old, so-called nimbys. Blaming the rich and powerful is not acceptable and questioning sacred cows such as population growth is not permissible!


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