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The great housing con: why the coming crash will rewrite the UK economy – Audio Long Reads

Britain’s obsession with home ownership was built on a false promise. It is time to rethink the home as a metric of wealth.

Every year since 2009 new records have been set for UK house prices, and every year people have asked how long the market can continue to defy gravity. But this year is different. Mortgage rates have risen steeply, while the cost of living accelerates; the past four months have seen the longest sustained drop in property prices since 2008. And it’s a global issue, as central bankers make borrowing more expensive in an attempt to curb inflation.

Is this a necessary correction or the dawn of a calamitous crash – one that will drive an unaffordable rental market, negative equity and a dearth of social housing? In this definitive account of the property crash, the New Statesman’s business editor, Will Dunn, explores Britain’s doomed love affair with bricks and mortar – from the boomer “house-blockers” at the top of the chain to the Gen Zers with little prospect of buying their own home. “It is a mass exercise in self-deception,” he writes, “a substitute for economic growth. It was a substitute people accepted: the expensive house that sucked up a lifetime’s wages became the savings account, the pension, the inheritance. That wealth is now beginning to dissolve.”

This article was originally published as the magazine’s cover story on 3 February 2023; you can read the text version here.

Written and read by Will Dunn.

If you enjoyed this episode of the audio long read, you might enjoy listening to What drives Liz Truss? The people and ideas behind her economics.

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Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
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  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU