Guest post from our series on Property Futures, by Rayhan Rafiq Omar, from The Unmortgage:
Looking back from the future of property
It’s been 20 years since the United Kingdom exited the EU, opening up this small but wealthy collection of states to massive change.
While some of that upheaval was negative: farmers went out of business en-masse as the UK government didn’t fully replace subsidies provided by the common European market.
On the other hand, the U.K. attracted inflows of capital and skilled labour from the most unexpected places across the Commonwealth.
Technologists from India, entrepreneurs from the Caribbean and Pacific rim and a whole host of highly skilled workers from Africa were welcomed to a UK that saw a massive outflow of people from Europe afraid of a population that increasingly was anti-Europe in the wake of the European project rapidly unraveling.
Much of what used to be farmland was provided with permitted development rights to create ‘English Villages’ linked to the major cities by Hyperloops paid for by the socialist government that was elected soon after then Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to resign amidst an embarrassing referendum defeat.
While the scale of young people flooding to London did not abate, campaigns like Create Streets managed to sway public opinion with clever use of technology. They used tools like Land Insight to show where streets could be built to increase population density and create lots of mini-Kensingtons across the South East of England.
By now Generation Rent has completed its transformation into Generation Unmortgage. Their kids, nearing the age when they themselves fly the coop, have less tension about housing thanks to widespread institutional investment in shared ownership.
Britain went from a nation with landlords owning £1.2tn of property and homeowners having £1tn in outstanding mortgage debt, to one with over £2tn of residential property owned by pension funds.
Those pension funds weathered another three property recessions thanks to the Liability Matching characteristic of residential property, which continued to outperform every other asset class through all the intervening economic cycles.
Even the two Presidential terms of Donald Trump in the US did little to dampen the pace of change in the world away from fossil fuels and into even more intricate globalisation.
The world is now super-connected with Internet beamed from the skies for free, bringing the Earth’s 9 billion population unprecedented levels of prosperity.
E-commerce and intense competition for last mile delivery fulfilment in the £1tn a year logistics industry finally broke the back of paper money, with the world now exchanging electronic currencies at spot rate via a whole host of Mondo-style mobile only banks.
We expect the first colonisation trips to Mars, sponsored by Tesla-X (after the merger of Elon Musk’s various enterprises), to leave Earth this year.
They’ll take with them the latest biological building materials, which will be grown in the newly found reservoirs on the red planet.
In the ashes of capitalism, socialism’s time didn’t last very long as the onset of free global internet access brought down many governments across the world, as Big Brother lost his ability to keep track of both people and money.
Much of that money, which used to be kept in old style banks and under people’s proverbial mattresses, increasingly found its way into real estate.
Sadly, property never became more affordable. But with the world looking toward Mars, none worried too much about life’s daily grind.
Company bio: The Unmortgage
Opening up Owner-occupied residential real estate as an asset class for pension funds. Occupiers get capital to buy a home up to 10x their income with only 5% down, and pension funds get paid inflation-linked rent on the portion the occupier doesn’t own.
Author bio: Rayhan Rafiq Omar