Reader letter: Land cost stops cheap housing

This reader believes high land costs are putting developers off cheap housing. Picture: Supplied

This reader believes high land costs are putting developers off cheap housing. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

So yet another politician has an idea for solving the shortage of affordability of new houses for the young buyers of today (Sajid Javid, Community Secretary). This problem goes back at least 50 or 60 years ago.

When new building was allowed to start again after material and labour was needed to repair and rebuild war-damaged properties in the early to mid-1950s there was plenty of building land available and building workers wanting jobs.

At the time land represented about 10pc of the overall cost of new properties plus there were many new council houses being built for people to rent if they didn't want to buy.

During this period from the mid-50s to the mid-80s I built many properties mostly for young first time buyers, some who I am pleased to say still live in them.

By the late 80s land was getting scarce and expensive. A lot of tradesmen had left the building industry and very few young people were coming into the trade. On top of that higher specifications and expectations where being demanded as well as higher land prices which has brought on the situation as it is today.


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I wish I could be as positive about the future as I am knowledgeable about the past, but I am sorry to say I just cannot see any new scheme working that would make the situation today match that of the past.

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