What is the solution to the housing crisis? Preston Byrne, author of an Adam Smith Institute Briefing Paper entitled Burning down the house, knows what it is not:
Government is not the solution to the housing crisis.
That being the subtitle of his Briefing Paper. In his penultimate paragraph, he expands on that thought:
… government is not the solution to the housing crisis: government is the housing crisis.
Byrne is giving my next Last Friday of the Month talk, on Friday 25th, in other words at the end of this coming week. His talk will be entitled “Mortgage Subsidies: Why They Didn’t Work in America and Won’t Work Here.”
I’m guessing that this, the italicised preamble at the top of this Briefing Paper, is a further clue to what he will be saying:
Help to Buy will not end the housing crisis. The government’s plans to increase liquidity in the housing market will do little to solve the UK’s long-run housing supply shortage – and do much to aggravate high housing prices while improperly using the state as a risk transfer mechanism. Liberalisation, not intervention, is the best long-term solution for the distorted British housing market.
So, not a bundle of laughs. But Byrne, an American who is now a London-based securities lawyer, is an engaging speaker, and I doubt it will be quite such a grim evening as the above quotes suggest. There is, after all, humour to be found in watching politicians carefully placing banana skins in front of themselves, and then running enthusiastically over them. Even if we’re the banana skins.
More Preston Byrne ASI verbiage here, on this and other subjects (see the links top right).