We can't rely on the cyclical property market to solve the housing crisis - but we can take advantage of those cycles

Martyn Evans index

If a slump is on its way we need to give councils the freedom to snap up cheap land and build homes on it

A friend who is never wrong on this stuff told me over breakfast a couple of weeks ago that we are heading for a significant downturn in the property market. Working in a business that operates on very predictable cycles, it didn’t come as a huge surprise to hear him say this. Of course, even though we’ve been there before many times, each cycle, especially the down-swing bit, has its own particular impact based on what came just before and the prevailing economic and political climate.

And what a climate. As the manner of our Brexit becomes ever more unclear and the knock-on political effects polarise the main political parties, it’s becoming more and more difficult to set out even a range of scenarios to enable sensible planning for the short to medium term.

When I pushed my friend to explain why he was so certain, he told me of a couple of deals he’d done recently to sell some property assets he’d bought just before the last recession and which he was only just now getting to a place where they could be profitably packaged and sold. He didn’t have trouble finding a buyer. “Too many people offering too much money,” he said. “Silly money.”

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