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The Observer: "Home ownership: how the property dream turned into a nightmare"

"In this exclusive extract from his book, The Default Line, the economics editor for Channel 4 News traces the origins of the housing bubble, and argues that we're condemning a whole generation to paying absurd prices for what is a basic human need – and it doesn't have to be this way"

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"... Remarkably, through the credit bubble, the likes of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley boasted to investors that Britain's 'very limited' rate of housebuilding supported their doomed strategies. Successive governments delivered that help.

"The deal for Britain's young has transpired as follows:
pay taxes,
pay high rents, and
endure the sharpest points of austerity,
in order to help support a housing system that is delivering wildly expensive houses, or none at all, and to help bail out the failed banks that were built on that system.

"Are we going to load the burden of adjustment from a decade-long bubble on to people who happen to have been born in the 1980s and 1990s? Progressive voices keen to redistribute through benefits have said very little about the overarching negative redistribution caused by the trebling of house prices. All political parties claim to want to foster 'social mobility', yet it seems that where you live will be determined more now by where your parents lived.

"The recent history of property in Britain is wrapped up in notions of freedom and the social mobility of owner-occupation and right-to-buy. Yet right now, Britain faces a return to a more traditional relationship with the land, in which property is the principal agent for holding back opportunity for all."

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