- A basic shortage of accommodation, leading to high housing costs, particularly in areas of the country with high employment;
- Popular resentment and opposition to new development, particularly on greenfield sites, and where back gardens or other "empty" space is used up;
- Pressure on parking infrastructure;
- A need to replace old housing stock with new in order to raise standards and save energy;
- An opposition to losing older property where this raises density.
The Conservatives will abolish stamp duty land tax on properties selling for less than £250,000, so that "nine out of ten pay nothing". This will cost a great deal of money of course, and lead to the current "dead zone" between £250,000 and £260,000 being extended by £10,000.
It is hard to conclude that these measures will assist anyone.
The Labour Party appears to promise little of any use, with a pathetic promise of 5,500 new rented homes over the next 18 months. In the 1930s, around 300,000 new homes were built each year, with a recession deeper than we can imagine now. Around 130,000 private homes are built each year; half of the level 75 years ago.
The only way to deal with the housing crisis is to use land efficiently. If this means pulling down bungalows and replacing them with terrace-houses; if it means high density development with limited provision for car parking, then this is a price which our descendants will be glad we paid. If the same approach to housing need as we have now had obtained for a century rather than a quarter of that time, we would have shanty towns outside every city. It is time we grew up.