Here I am, surrounded by boxes again, moving, knowing that next year I will have to move again. I have cleaned and painted the new apartment, and it continues with moisture stains and carpets eaten away by worms. At 46, I have lived in more than 30 houses, and I still do not have any security. " Jan, a Londoner, wrote this post last year, which became viral not only because it reflects a kind of feeling that her fellow citizens empathize with, but because it is a person who has a good job (her salary it's 40,000 pounds a year), and whose partner also has a full-time job.
It belongs to a social category that journalist and essayist Anna Minton describes as "poor middle class," and whose problems are accurately reflected in an anecdote that Jan tells Minton in his latest book, "Big Capital. Who is London for? ': "I had just mistakenly charged a 20-pound charge to my card, and I did not have them. Suddenly, I started crying. " She has a university degree, was working, her life was stable, but she was condemned to live with her two children and her husband in an apartment in poor condition and only two rooms. And if they passed an extra charge, they ruined the month.
The evil of housing
Jan's is one of the stories that appear in 'Big Capital', a critical essay with the evolution of the price of housing, one of the determining factors for the accounts of residents in London do not square. The British capital is one of those cities to which residential malpractice has particularly affected. The scheme, explains Minton, is the following: billionaires from all over the world acquired mansions in the wealthiest neighborhoods, forcing the millionaires, before the price increase, to move to the upper class areas. This moved to the spaces of the upper middle class, and so on. The result was that prices went up everywhere, and substantially. And all at the same time that the number of sheltered housing fell.
Rentals reach such prices that it is difficult for even people with decent wages to pay them
The case of London may seem exceptional, but it is a problem that has spread to many more cities around the world, from San Francisco to Ibiza: rents reach such prices that it is very difficult for even people who have salaries worthy they can face. The income of professors, firemen or waiters is not enough to live in the city in which they must work. From this point of view, it is a worrisome problem, but it does not generate too much social alarm, because such examples are only exceptions. However, this reading tarnishes rather than clarifies: the changes are much deeper than we think.
This summer a word has become popular, 'turismofobia', which is a kind of successor to what was called gentrification, and which consists of a 'low cost' version of what happened in London: certain neighborhoods, or because of influx of tourists through shared rental apartments, or because they have become fashionable among the upper middle classes, raise the price of rents, making it impossible for residents to continue paying, so they choose to move to other districts. These, in turn, raise rents, given the greater purchasing power of newcomers, raise their income, and force those who live in them to move to cheaper places. The end result is that everyone ends up paying the same for worse flats or for worse housing.
If food prices had risen the same as those of housing in the last four decades, today a chicken would cost 50 pounds
This effect, typical of supply and demand, goes far beyond a simple adjustment in the market. Changes in housing are substantial, especially (but not only) for new generations. First, because the cost of a flat has risen dramatically. As Minton says referring to London, "if food prices had risen the same as those of housing in the last four decades, today a chicken would cost 50 pounds." Although the increase in the British capital is greater than that of other places, this is a common phenomenon in the West, and in many areas of Spain has been felt intensely.
And the protected housing?
At the same time, one of the factors that most helped price stability, such as subsidized housing, is steadily declining. They were constructions that were planned to guarantee that this essential good was not out of the reach of the less favored classes. Minton describes in an extensive way what happened in London, and although its mechanisms are different from the Spanish, it is an evil that affects us: the differences are notable between the tardofranqui period