Wishful thinking - it's never been a free market: Let us count some of the ways it Ain't a market:
- Dopey zoneration policies by economically clueless TLA's which serve to foobar the price of the land under them Hooses
- A cosy Building Materials Duopoly, untrammelled by ComCom, hostile to new entrants and highly protective of their own cartelised patches
- Consents, and other regulation, subject to local brown-cardy-staffed monopolies which have yet to recognise that Time = Money so have complete freedom to inject Time and Modest Fees into every activity under their baleful purview
- A building industry composed of thousands of two-bit builders, clonking up houses in a manner which would not be unfamiliar to a 19th century carpenter, all vying for the same few high-end-of-market jobs, because that's where the munny is, leading to highly inelastic supply at t'other end
- A regional price floor slipped in under all house prices by economically clueless Gubmint schemes like Welcome Home Loans (criterion - can you Fog a Mirror?) which ensures house prices - new or old - are sticky on the downside
No doubt, common taters can think of more ways it ain't a real 'market'.....so 'it's own devices' has, shall we say, a very particular meaning.
It means, being left in the gentle claws of the Opolists, rent-seekers and ticket-clippers.