Older readers may remember the property boom which engulfed Tokyo from about 1986 to 1991. The apocryphal statistic was that land under the Imperial Palace was worth about as much as the state of California.
The bursting of that bubble — as well as one in the stock market fuelled by loose monetary policy, financial speculation, corporate cross-holding and dodgy accounting — was followed by the Japanese economic stagnation that persists to this day.
What many readers may not realise, however, is that housing in parts of London is now more expensive than for Tokyo at the peak of that boom. Read more
Back in September we calculated that the average London house had earned more in the previous year than its average occupants.
The difference then was small, a capital gain of £38,729 in the year to July, against a post-tax income of £38,688 in 2011, the last year for which the ONS has statistics.
Fast forward the best part of a year and your London house has had a raise, is flicking through the Audi catalog and considering exotic holidays. Read more
Or London’s Green Belt, at any rate. For the uninitiated it is the giant girdle of farmland that forces the UK metropolis to maintain the figure it had in its twenties — the 1920s.
So here’s a suggestion that isn’t actually that radical: nationalise bits of it and build on them. Read more