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Time to buy up and sell out?

Dear Auntie, All my mates talk about these days is property, property, property. They're buying up places in areas that are up and coming with plans to sell them on when the price is right. They keep harassing me to do the same, saying it's a necessary 'investment' because by the time I retire there will be no state pensions left. While the idea of no longer paying fat-cat landlords is tempting, homeowning goes against all my political principles: driving up house prices hits the poor the hardest. So should I continue to prop up the landowning class or buy up and sell out? Yours, Property is Theft

October 1, 2004
2 min read

Dear Property is Theft,

If I was your financial adviser, I would have only one piece of advice: if you earn a good wage from a secure job, buy, buy, buy. But if your commitment to what we used to call socialism is real, there are other ways.

You could join or form a local campaign to defend council housing ( the more people involved, the more chance of reversing government’s commitment to scrapping local authority provision.

But if your faith in local democracy is the same as mine, then how about squatting? There are more than 300,000 empty houses and thousands of hectares of disused business property to choose from. Consult the Advisory Service for Squatters.

If direct action sounds too much like hard work, go cooperative. You can either join an existing housing co-op and pay dirt-cheap rent in return for helping to run and maintain the scheme.

Or you can form your own by buying a house with a bunch of mates, getting a mortgage and loan from an ethical building society or bank like Triodos or the Ecology Building Society and forming a limited company, which then pays the bank. If it all goes pear-shaped and the company folds, you can walk away having only lost your lump sum (and your mates).

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