So when faced with a dilemma and economic challenge – instead of tackling the challenge – why not just kick the old people out of their houses to make way for families with children?
I first heard this report on Radio 4 and then found this article I am still not sure how I didn’t crash the car.
A recent report from The Intergenerational Foundation has suggested that elderly people should be encouraged to leave their homes to make way for others further down the housing market to get on the ladder as everyone moves. Rubbish!
Put aside all emotional outrage at this stupid idea and look at the real issues here!
- Elderly people with families can rearrange their living arrangements if they want to – they don’t – as their mobility and eyesight weakens – they desire familiar surroundings.
- Say you kick granny out and persuade her to sell – where will she go – into one of those stinky old people’s homes – no wonder she wants to stay put even if she can’t afford the heating!
- Mortgages – so she goes – how are you going to get a mortgage – with lenders lacking the confidence to cross the road without a committee meeting – how will you raise the finance?
- Say the family does get a loan – in a rare working two parent house hold they can prove the income required – who do they sell to? With the average age of a person buying their first home at 35 years old – that’s the age of a family with young children – surely the people that want to move into granny’s house.
The solutions being banded around include:
- Freeing up more land to make it cheaper – why not build on all green space and have done with it
- Forcing landlords to sell empty homes – A great idea, near me a Housing Association left a property empty for 8 months!
- Controlling population growth through immigration (possible merits countered by impact on business growth and being part of Europe)
- Banning second homes – so the only people wanting to live in the sleepy idyllic areas that house most second homes, namely the south coast, are locals with local businesses – or maybe the unemployed because commuting to work wouldn’t be worth their while!
- Moving in with granny as an extended family …. A recipe for disaster?
- Build more council houses – in 2010 just 1,320 were built – that sounds like a plan but who would fund it…
- Oh, another idea – get the council to invest its own pension scheme in the develop – now that’s creative thinking…
What about just getting lenders to lend money!
We are riddled with fear. Fear stands for false expectations appearing real! Lenders are so scared that borrowers will default that they would almost rather not lend!
What about a sensible approach to lending – expect a cash deposit for an equity stake in the property and then borrow against the rest. The buyers would return, the market would move, the prices start to rise in line with demand and therefore the loan would be safe guarded against default or negative equity.
Or one more idea – stop Estate Agents earning commission based on unrealistic house valuations and make a panel of three surveyors to view each property – to ensure realistic valuations about worth, demand and condition. Then granny can sleep easy in peace and parents maintain their sanity as they manage their own growing families.