quo vadis

The Future of UK Property

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I spend a lot of time on the M5. Not as much as a professional driver, but at least 10 hours a week bombing north to south,  south to north.

Motorways like the M5 are the arteries which carry the life blood of our country about. If you want to know what people are buying, have a look at what’s going up and down the ‘backbone of Britain’.

We have shipping companies, retailers, hauliers of everything from live animals to kitchen timber, bespoke fabrications, train axles, even 50ft yachts make their way along the motorway. What I have noticed recently is a rise of the number of static homes moving down the road.

I’m not a gambling man, but if I were to gamble on one thing happening over the next three decades, it would be a significant rise in the number of people moving out of proper houses into retirement static homes.

It makes perfect sense to me. The baby boomers have huge property wealth, and potentially thirty years of lifestyle to fund. They have looked at what their pension pot means in real terms, and realise it doesn’t mean very much, and so are cashing in their casino chips, and undertaking the ultimate downsizing to raise funds to live well in their final decades.

It needn’t have been this way, of course. But the government, any government, was never going to deflate the housing bubble in the UK once it was blown up. Instead they just kept on blowing it up and up in the hope the lack of decent housing supply would stay off the ‘pop’ until they’d left office.

Many people bemoan the lack of new build housing in the UK. Personally I’m not in the least bit concerned. For every new static home I see moving down the M5 means a proper house coming back onto the property market. As the baby boomers retire and perform the ultimate in downsizing, not only are we getting a flood of new properties on the market, we may very well see an oversupply of the kind of properties that real people can actually afford. This means only one thing, falling prices all round. Developers may be building new condos in London, but most Londoners don’t even know what a condo is. Investors in China however….


An increasingly regular sight on the motorways of Britain

Even though I’ve bought a house, I’m all for falling house prices, even if it means negative equity for a period. For too long the UK Govt has focussed on property price rises at any cost. We don’t want high living costs, we want low living costs. We don’t want lifetime debts, we want freedom. We don’t want money tied up in bricks and mortar, we want innovation, sustainability and new technology to improve our lives.

The U.K. has long been obsessed with property, and rising property prices (as if it was a good thing), so much so that almost everybody I meet is a multiple property owner. Even people I work with in their early 20’s are part time landlords and landladies. I wonder which provides them with more income, working or owning property. When market saturation has reached the point where people with a 20k salary are BTL landlords, it says a lot about the state of the market, and where things are headed. Behold the future of uk property.


This post has already been read 753 times!

baby boomersEconomicsPensionsPropertyStatic homeU.K. Property market' Andrew • April 14, 2016

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