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Institute of Economic Affairs: "Abundance of Land, Shortage of Housing"

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"... The most likely explanation for [opposition to reform] is that. besides a lot of scaremongering and plain misinformation, these groups were able to revert to straw men, red herrings and blind alleys which have muddled the housing policy debate for far too long.

In the housing debate, supply-side conditions are too often taken as given, and high housing costs, poor housing conditions and overcrowding are then erroneously treated as ‘market outcomes’. This results in a counterproductive tendency to concentrate on what are at best side issues, and more often just non-issues. 

The latest British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA) provides a good summary of the state of the debate. It shows that a majority is aware of the problems in the housing market, but would like to see them resolved without additional development. 

When asked, ‘if the government were going to do something to make homes more affordable, what do you think the most useful action would be?’, 69% of respondents favoured demand-side measures, such as subsidies for home buyers.

Only 5% chose the rather straightforward option ‘allow developers to build more homes’.

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