A home is the most expensive asset anyone is likely to buy. House prices dominate dinner party debates, public policy and economic thinking in the UK. The buying, selling and borrowing against property has huge impacts on the economy and the property market has been linked to the last two downturns. Understanding how it works (and where it doesn’t, such as with homelessness) is an essential part of seeing how economics works. The housing market also has a major effect on the economy. An inadequate housing supply, or a poorly functioning housing market, constrains economic growth.

But not everyone owns their own home. Many people rent, either ...

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