Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Housing woes - oh, and they're in the UK

Dear old William Rees-Mogg has a typically pithy article in the Times. Change the context to NZ, and his comments are still apropos. Especially the ones about the four conditions for a cartel. From the article (my numbering added):

"1. license housebuilding, so that no one could build a new house without a licence, or even rebuild an old house or a redundant barn.
2. encourage developers to maintain large land banks in order to benefit from rising prices.
3. leak out new permissions only after long periods of delay.
4. combine this with an unlimited flow of mortgage credit and relatively low rates of interest.

If you restrict supply below the market clearing level and increase funding, you will inevitably create a bubble and you will lock people out of the market."

The wisdom of the old geezer: two of my go-back-to books by this guy are the rather apocalyptic "The Great Reckoning", published in 1992, which foresaw in rather exquisite detail the rise of terrorism among other things; and "The Sovereign Individual", published 1997, which foresaw the break-up of the world's larger and more unwieldy entities, and the privatisation of states, armies and other traditional nation-state apparatus, on smaller scales. Blackwater, anyone?

Prophetic stuff.

And wonderfully different to the asswipe smush (one square only, though) served up in the name of analysis in our own little deranged dominion.

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