Monday, July 14, 2008

Britain's Small Housing Problem

Angela Knight, head of the British Bankers' Association, has tried to draw a distinction between the current problems in the UK housing market and the situation in the United States. She is quoted in the Observer saying:

'In America, they have lent money to people with no proof of income to buy five-bedroom houses. That has not happened in Britain.'

Well, I suppose that's broadly true, five-bedroom houses being thinner on the ground in this country than in the continental United States. In the US the average house is around 2200 square feet, in the UK it is around 800 square feet. That is, the average American family rattles around in a property almost three times larger than that occupied by their British cousins.

In Britain it would hardly be surprising if the money lent to people with no proof of income was used to buy flats and small houses. So Angela Knight seems to be saying no more than:

'Everything is fine. In America houses are much bigger than they are here. So can everyone stop worrying?'

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