I was reading a local discussion group on an interwebs platform recently. I live in a little village at the base of the North Downs, it’s even in an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Having said that the village has an history of being for the working classes. There used to be a brickworks at the river and this village housed the labour for that business. As far as I know the bricks for Buckingham Palace, or some of it, came from the Burham Brickworks. The brickmakers have gone. All that remains is the wharf and a few foundations, there’s an old railway route that went to the quarry, other than that the villages here are the legacy.
The discussion group had an image of a four bedroomed detached house for sale in the village. It was on the market for slightly over £400,000. This already seemed over the top to me but the very next comment was:
Shame you couldn’t get more for it.
This made the left-wing me want to spout. This country has a problem with social engineering over the last forty years which insists that owning a house is good and everyone’s aim. The population has also been conned by the media into thinking that rising house prices mean wealth and that any increase is a good increase.
[I am writing this before Brexit. I suspect the whole shebang is going to hell in a hand cart post-Brexit. This country is on the verge of collapse at the moment. Financially. Socially. Politically. Environmentally. I honestly fear what next year will bring. We already know mental health issues are on the rise because of the Brexit concerns in this country. What hope?]
Let me write that number again. £400,000. For a house with no large garden. A house with four bedrooms. In a less than desirable village underneath the flightpath for a small airfield. I was and am still shocked. To afford this house you probably need to be earning more than £80,000. Maybe I’m in the wrong employment sector. I’m not sure how I personally judge what is over-priced. I don’t want a four bedroomed house. I can’t afford to move. Perhaps this is personally motivated reasoning that just because I am unable to move I feel annoyed. Maybe I’m biased? I’m not sure where this communication is going.
What’s surprising to me right now is I’m looking at the £400,000 and thinking maybe that’s not so bad. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe houses are worth that? Maybe my own prejudices are affecting my thinking. Maybe only people earning loads of fucking money should be able to buy a medium sized house? This is what the media and society have done over the years. They have normalised extreme house prices. They have affected how the population think. They have made all manner of societal expectations normal.
Here’s the thing. If children grow up in an area and then go to get jobs that are available locally shouldn’t they be able to afford a house in that area? Is this privileged thinking? I don’t know. Two bedroom terraced houses in the village are “worth” around £230,000. Nearly a quarter of a million pounds for a little house. With just two bedrooms. What? At a time when wages aren’t rising [many having gone down in real terms over the last ten years] this seems ridiculous. You need to earn £40,000 to afford even a two up two down house in this village. If you work in retail you aren’t going to be earning that. This market system is bollocks.
Now, if you consider the sell-off of council stock to private organisations this means there are very few affordable places for people to live if they are on a lower wage. They are then at the mercy of the buy-to-let market where landlords have all the protections because this country is full of Tory assholes. This country has been brainwashed over the years and we’ve all been turned into selfish empathy-lacking wankers.