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Southwood Country Park in Farnborough, Hampshire, previously a golf course, now a local area of green space © Gillian Pullinger / Alamy Stock Photo

Everyone knows we need to build more homes. Why hasn’t it happened?

Housing is seen as an investment asset and high prices put homes out of the financial reach of much of the population

By Jay Elwes  

Britain doesn’t build enough homes. From that one fact, a long chain of consequences follows. For one thing, it means that homes in Britain are extremely expensive. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average salary in Britain in 2021 is £29,744. The average house price in the UK (as of March 2021) is £256,405 and prices have risen 10.2 per cent in the last 12 months. And if you want to settle in London, the average property price is now over half a million. No wonder so many people have chosen to move out.

Big prices mean big mortgages, taken out by the millions who are looking to climb what’s usually called the “housing ladder.” But the “ladder” metaphor, with its connotations of a consistent and inevitable upward advance, is deceptive. Most people who take out a mortgage are so burdened with debt they’ll spend the…

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