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What’s behind Britain’s perverse obsession with the housing market?

Combining as it does speculation and private property, the property market seems like the perfect match for the country that codified modern capitalism and gambling. It's taken a global pandemic to reveal its irrationality

By Alexis Self  

Sparked by Margaret Thatcher's "Right to Buy" scheme, Britain’s bricks-and-mortar habit has become a debilitating problem, with serious long-term effects. Photo: PA Images

During one of the 4,000 Zoom quizzes in which I’ve recently taken part, those assembled were asked what it was that the French called “the English disease.” The answer, dredged up along with an ocean floor of other sexual proclivities, was spanking. But if there is any obsession in this country which seems almost pathological, or indeed perverse, in its intensity, it is that with the property market.

No matter what the crisis, there’ll always be a front-page item telling us what it might mean for house prices. And usually, as is the case right now, the prognosis…

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