“Neil Monnery’s Safe as Houses? is one of the few sane books on housing economics.” — Simon Jenkins writing in The Spectator
There can be few everyday financial issues more important than the price of houses. Whether we own one and worry about its value or aspire to own one and are frustrated by their high prices, nobody can avoid the issue. In the UK, while prices have fluctuated during our lifetimes, overall they have risen steadily and sometimes spectacularly. The accepted wisdom is that houses are a safe and excellent investment for the long term. But are they really as good an investment as we believe? Might the future be different from the past? Are houses really so safe?
This book looks at house prices over the long term in several countries including the UK, the US, France, Holland, Norway, Germany and Australia to find out what has happened to house prices and why. The author illustrates his findings with authoritative data on trends and provides intriguing details including a century long index of UK house prices, an analysis of the value of the White House and a fascinating four-hundred-year story of houses in Amsterdam.
- To what extent are we right to view our houses as an investment as well as a home?
- If prices can rise for decades and then fall for more than a whole generation, then what does the future hold?
- If prices rise further, will houses become unaffordable for many young people? How will that affect our society?
- If they crash, will that endanger our banks once more?
- Are politicians, policymakers and regulators prepared for the true range of possibilities?
Anybody who owns a house, wants to own a house or follows the prices and economics of housing will find this book an accessible, fascinating and door-opening read.