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PricedOut misses out on Wolfson Prize but finalists’ proposals are encouraging

Earlier this month, the shortlist for the 2014 Wolfson Economics prize to design a new Garden City was announced. The finalists include many heavyweight thinkers from the world of planning, development and urban design.

The competition – devised by Tory peer and Next chief executive Lord Wolfson – coincided with George Osborne’s Budget announcement for a new ‘Garden City’ at Ebbsfleet, as a solution to solve the UK’s ongoing housing crisis.

Launched in November last year, with an initial deadline at the beginning of March, the competition posed the question, “How would you deliver a garden city which is visionary, economically viable and popular?”

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The ball is in the government's court as the Bank of England opts for light touch mortgage controls

Commenting on the Bank of England's stability report, Duncan Stott, director of the affordable house price campaign PricedOut, said:

"Mark Carney has today made it clear that that the Bank of England does not see it as their job to keep house prices under control. These light touch regulations mean we must look to the government to bring painfully high house prices back in line with what ordinary workers can afford.

"The prospects of a further 20% rise in house prices through to 2017, as predicted by the Bank of England, are deeply worrying. With wages rising at just 0.7% per year, we are calling on the government to actively target an end to house price inflation so that earnings have a chance to catch up.

"The housing market has far wider economic and social implications than the Bank of England's narrow focus on financial stability. While mortgage lending controls are a vital restraint on house prices, we also need the government get to grips with the dearth of housebuilding and the perverse incentives created by UK property taxes."

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More bad news for first-time buyers

The ONS figures released today show that first-time buyers are paying nearly £200,000 for their first home. This is simply unaffordable for ordinary people, and will leave most younger adults with no choice but stay put in unsuitable rented accommodation or depend on their relatives for shelter.

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How the government's new "How To Rent" guide fails to deal with reality

Most of the priced out generation are stuck in the poorly regulated private rental market. There will soon be 10 million of us dependent on private landlords for our home. So today the government has decided to publish a guide on "How To Rent" in England. In a hypothetical world where homes were abundant and the rental market was functioning properly, maybe his guide would be enough. But the reality is that the rental market across much of the nation is broken by a chronic shortage of homes and short-termism that leads to tenants looking for shelter out of desperation rather than out of carefully-planned choice.

Let's go through this guide and see how it fails to deal with reality:

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People bring the housing debate to Parliament

The Houses of Parliament are not inviting buildings. That is changing with the People’s Parliament. Formed with the goal of bringing tricky political issues back into the fold, all are welcomed to discuss the nature of the problems we face and what solutions might be acceptable.

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