1. You may have noticed that everyone is talking about house prices, all of the time.
2. Yet for all of this property madness, home ownership is now at the lowest level since the 1980s.
3. And it's the young who are losing out most.
4. The problem is that the price is just too damned high.
5. If everything else you bought had increased in price at the same rate as housing since the 1970s...
6. So what drives up the price? Well, first: we're not building enough new houses.
7. And second, the population is growing faster than at any time since the 1960s.
8. Why not build more? Well first, blame these guys.
9. But this woman should get some of the blame too.
10. As a result, it is impossible to build new houses on fields like these.
11. ...But we need to protect the countryside from urban sprawl, right? Wrong.
12. And it is also pretty difficult to turn London's skyline into something more closely resembling this.
13. We can't build up. We can't build out. Where can we build? Here:
14. What this means is that land is really expensive.
15. Which may explain why British new homes are the tiniest in the world.
So what's the solution? Well, we can change the law.
According to the London School of Economics, if we let London expand by one mile into the scrubby green belt within the M25, we could add 1m new homes. Doubling the density of some of zone 2's neighbourhoods by making it easier to build upwards could have a similar effect. Both would upset people who already own homes nearby—but it would make London's housing cheaper and more spacious for everyone else.
Or we can spend the rest of our lives fighting economic gladiatorial combat, where the people with the most money get the houses and the people at the bottom get to live five to a room in a B&B in Leicester.
OR we can decide that it is more appropriate to have horse paddocks and farmers within a few miles of Europe's greatest city than for ordinary people to be able to afford a house. Your choice.