Friday, November 09, 2018

Jeff Fairburn’s £75m bonus is nothing when compared to the real problem with house prices.

Aditya Chakrabortty holds that “Jeff Fairburn’s £75m bonus has sharpened focus on the vast windfalls generated by help to buy” “Let’s stop lining housebuilders’ pockets and tax them instead” The Guardian, November 9, 2018.

No, it clearly has not! By focusing on that bonus, which naturally stirs up some envy into all of us, he misses the real issue, namely how much helping houses to be affordable for some, makes these even more unaffordable to others.

So first, let us all shake off that Jeff Fairburn’s £75m bonus. To begin with just take it as if life had dealt him a lottery jackpot. He has most certainly paid much more taxes on it than the taxes that would be paid had that £75m bonus been shared out equally among us all. And I would bet that more than 99% of what purchase power he had left over, has already been returned to the real economy by him buying assets or services.

That “the five biggest British housebuilders together paid out £4.4bn in dividends to shareholders between 2014 (the first full year of help to buy) and 2017” is totally irrelevant when compared to the magnitude of the real problem with houses.

That problem has to do with how much house prices have been inflated by this scheme and so many other distortions; especially like regulations that allow banks to hold much less capital when financing the purchase of houses than when lending to entrepreneurs… those who could be the ones who create the jobs so that house buyers will be able to afford to pay their mortgages and utilities.

Aditya Chakrabortty laments “Without that money from you and me, Persimmon would simply not have made that many sales, nor made that much profit– and its outgoing boss probably wouldn’t have got such a large bonus.” He should look at himself first.

Does Aditya Chakrabortty own a house? Then he should reflect on how much his house has gone up in value because of all the political kindness awarded house buyers. Should he not pay high taxes on that? House builders at least built. What have house owners done to enrich themselves so?

Does Aditya Chakrabortty not own a house? Then he should reflect on how much all the political kindness awarded house buyers has made houses even more unaffordable to him.

Houses are no longer homes; as a consequence of all regulatory and political kindness these have become investments assets too. The day too many house-owners will want to cash in their investment, for instance to pay some retirement costs… will the buyers be there for them? 

Well if we prohibit all political kindness awarded house buyers… as we in fact should so as not to blow the bubble larger, then many if the current buyers will definitely not be there... but then those that do not own houses may begin to find these affordable.

It all makes me remember Alan Price’s “Oh my, my, my, my, my, my, my, it makes you wanna cry. This is the house that Jack built, baby, and it reaches up into the sky”