Feb 112013
Housing costs: London versus the rest

I live in Stockport and I am often surprised about housing costs (buying or renting) being quoted. I “sort of” knew that London and the South East are more expensive. This article collects together some information revealing some big differences. My view now is that London is such a special case that it should always be analysed and quoted separately. The impact on people, and the policies that might be needed, shouldn’t be lost by considering only broader averages such a “region” or “country”. The experiences of people in London can’t be generalised to England or the UK, and English or UK . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Feb 082013
Brief analysis of young house-buyers in latest English Housing Survey

People concerned with the difficulties faced by young people wanting houses will probably be examining the latest English Housing Survey. As expected, there are some misleading news articles: Home ownership collapses to its lowest level for 25 years: Millions of families and first time buyers priced off the property ladder News articles quite accurately point out that people under 35 only own about 10% of the houses. An important missing question is: “how many should they own?“ Here is a more informative view. This graph comes from the tables released with the survey; the orange columns show how 100% of the houses are . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Feb 072013

It should be blindingly obvious that comparing trends in house prices with trends in food prices is not justified. It is hard to believe that the people writing and promoting such articles honestly believe it is justified – it would raise the question of how they had enough working brain cells to operate a word processor! BBC: Food costs: ‘£50 chickens’ if food tracked house prices Daily Mail: A roast chicken for £50 and a £10 pint of milk: The price tag of food if costs had risen at the same rate as house prices In fact, of course, they probably . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Feb 062013
Percentages of various groups in the electorate - extended

Previous posts have provided graphs of the proportions of various groups in the electorate: Percentages of various groups in the electorate over the last 35 years Baby booms in the electorates of the last 6 Prime Ministers I want to publish a graph with two more age groups plotted, because these groups are discussed either alone or in comparison with other age groups. It is often unclear in discussion whether it is a general age group at a particular time or a cohort defined by birth dates that is being discussed. Here they are age ranges; obviously their members currently . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Feb 052013
The age of first time house buyers

It is well-established that the average age of first time house buyers is greater than it was a few decades ago. This graph is from today’s BBC article Have young people never had it so bad? There are various reasons for this. One reason that tends to be neglected is that the average age of the end of full time education is also greater than it was a few decades ago.  If one of the factors involved in buying a house is the number of years spent earning money to contribute to a deposit on the house, then there would naturally . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 282013
Is the Intergenerational Foundation losing the plot about pensions?

Here is another post on the Intergenerational Foundation’s blog: The blog post appears to have been triggered by, and certainly quotes, a shoddy article “INSURANCE OR RIGHT?“, based on 1908 pension law,  at the Longevitas Ltd website. Then it appears uncritically to assume this demands an urgent national debate. The UK has been debating state pensions for the last century; why does re-examination of a 1908 law warrant such an urgent debate? What new information renders the results of previous debates invalid? In summary, the Longevitas article says: “At the root of this problem is the little-discussed question of whether an old-age . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 262013

I don’t know enough to judge whether this is scare-mongering or credible. The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries claims “New research from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries shows that continuing to ignore resource constraints may have substantial financial, political and social costs“. The report itself and its evidence are contained in these PDFs: PDF: Resource constraints: sharing a finite world – Implications of Limits to Growth for the Actuarial Profession Accompanied by PDF: The evidence and scenarios for the future I found this via New Scientist, which says: “Aled Jones of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues drew . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 242013
Comments on "Spending Power Across the Generations" by the Intergenerational Foundation

These are comments on “Spending Power Across the Generations” by David Kingman, published on 23 January 2013 by the Intergenerational Foundation. I was directed to the report as follows: In summary: It is about “spending behaviour”, not “spending power”. It it restricted to a small range of items being bought. It is about “age-groups”, not “generations” or “cohorts”. There is no real “intergenerational” content. It identifies recent trends. So a more accurate title would be: “Some recent trends in spending behaviour by different age groups”. Ways of comparing generations I was working on this section before I knew about this report. . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 142013
Review of "What Did The Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?" by Francis Beckett

I have just bought and read “What Did The Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?” (subtitle “Why the Children of the Sixties Lived the Dream and Failed the Future”) by Francis Beckett. I’ve reviewed it at Amazon.co.uk, giving the book 1-star, the minimum. Here is that review plus 2 diagrams and Further reading. “This is an autobiography in a historical context, not about baby boomers!” The author makes it clear from the start that the baby boom he is discussing is not what others talk about, and that his sources are very narrow and unrepresentative. This book says much more . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 102013
Some baby boom myths

Lots of people talk about “the baby boom”. Lots of people make claims about “the baby boomers”. Here are some of the myths held by lots of people. I have written this article as though I am having an informal argument with you about these myths. I accept that you may not believe them all, or indeed you may not believe any of them! Please forgive my style. Myth 1: There was a baby boom from about 1945 to about 1965 Myth 2: The weight of numbers of the baby boomers gave them undue political influence Myth 3: The baby . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]