How do people afford UK property prices

The British speak of the "housing ladder", the real estate manager: They buy a small apartment shortly after starting their professional life. Their value increases over the years. If they move in with their partner, the booth is sold at a profit and a larger one is acquired. After the birth of the children and the first salary increases, they also sell this place and invest in an even more spacious and beautiful one. Step by step it goes up the ladder - and it is moved happily. At least that's how it used to be.

Today many of Her Majesty's young subjects do not even make it to the bottom rung, especially in the south-east of England in and around London. Because real estate prices there have risen rapidly. Instead of buying a fancier apartment every few years and moving in there, young professionals stay longer with their parents or live permanently on rent. Ian Shuttleworth can easily understand this development in his data sets. The social scientist from Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has now published a study on moving.

The trend is clear: between 1971 and 1981, 55 percent of residents of England and Wales changed their address at some point. In the period from 2001 to 2011 it was only 45 percent. This means that one million fewer people have moved in the decade than before. The decrease is "most significant when moving less than ten kilometers," says Shuttleworth. So when moving within a place, by people who have looked for and found a more suitable place to stay for themselves. The researcher says that housing shortages and high prices are the reasons for this decline.

Another cause of the minus is demographic change. Society is getting older and older people move less often. In addition, workers are willing to commute longer distances, also because road and rail connections have improved.

Rich people from around the world are buying luxury real estate in London

The fact that normal wage earners cannot afford housing in and around London is the result of supply and demand: the metropolis attracts workers from all over the UK - and abroad. Rich people from all over the world also like to invest in concrete gold on the Thames; they are buying luxury properties that occupy scarce building land. In any case, far too few apartments have been built for years.

To remedy this, the conservative government wants to relax planning regulations; Municipalities should issue more permits. The fate of the Greenbelts is controversial. These green belts are rural areas around large cities like London. They are intended as green lungs, the metropolises should not proliferate. Therefore, it is difficult to get a permit to build new buildings. However, critics are calling for the protection to be softened because of the housing shortage. But that would upset Prime Minister Theresa May's conservative regular voters in the affluent Greenbelt villages. So nothing will change here for the time being. The bottom rung of the real estate ladder will remain inaccessible for many in the future.