Broadly speaking post war Britain has been the bastion of home ownership and our expectation and focus of home ownership has driven the Englishman’s home is his castle ethos and of course separated us from most of our European neighbours where renting is the norm. To see the BBC News headline today about the Conservative Party’s intention to build more council homes is most interesting in many ways.
It is a most interesting change of direction and surely a clear acknowledgement that the housing market has changed, people’s expectations have changed and maybe (cynically) that many are driven by ‘flashy’ possessions rather than a focus on home ownership.
We have commented on the shift in the property market many times before so I will try and not repeat myself but she change in direction is more than evident. The days of renting being perceived to be the ‘poor’ end of the market is simply no longer true with all walks of life renting due to a number of reasons and many will rent for life as the home ownership obsession changes in line with house prices, deposit requirements, financial commitment, other desirability items and much more. It may seems strange thing to say but consider that most families and couples now holiday abroad regularly and drive newer more expensive cars. Personal car leasing popularity has exploded for example. These things alone were not common practice some years ago but they are now. There are many reasons why people rent but social expectations do take a driving influence.
For the Conservative government to push ahead with more council houses might seem a strange direction for the Conservative Party but surely it will appeal to voters, reflects the true change in the property market and may even have a marginal leveling effect on rising rents.