Letter: Is Concreting Over the South-east of England Really The Answer
From: Bernard Parke
Hon Alderman and former Mayor
In a recent national press report we are told that house prices in both Oxford and Cambridge have soared.
This is said to be due to the strong demand from students for accommodation in both cities. It is also said that another factor is cash rich buy-to-let investors who find the student need for housing an attractive market.
Such lets are mainly on a short time basis which tends to give liquidity to such assets.
Buy-to-let, unlike unlike the traditional mortgage market, is unregulated and as such hits the owner-occupiers as both sectors are competing for the same properties. This in turn drives up the prices making homes even less “affordable”.
It would seem that Guildford, is also subject to this trend for we see such estates as Guildford Park Avenue and now Ashenden fast becoming student housing areas.
It is frequently stated that the answer is for us to build more houses, but would not such a policy lead to any new housing stock being subject to the same fate?
The country’s biggest buy-to-let landlord, Fergus Wilson has said in The Times (July 1) that Britain must “concrete over the south-east of England” to solve the housing crisis. Is that really the answer?