Housing Costs Outstripping Wage Growth

Manx property prices are increasing: In 2020, average property prices[efn_note]This ‘average property price’ is a complicated statistic subject to a lot of unclear processing by the Isle of Man Government – it appears to exclude outlier values, to possibly exclude some commercial property transactions, and so on. I have requested the underlying data from the Isle of Man Government, and hope to publish more details in the fullness of time.[/efn_note] increased to £285,064, an increase of 7.2% compared to 2019 according to the Isle of Man Government.

This new data released by the Isle of Man Government adds new evidence to support our calls to fix the Manx housing crisis. We’ve led the campaign to draw attention to this problem of housing costs outstripping wage growth for some time now.

A Bad Game of Musical Chairs

The current housing system is like a bad game of musical chairs, with the people of Mann fighting desperately to get a seat. Since we have insufficient housing for everyone, bullies are not giving young families of Mann a fair go to buy a house and build a family home. It is like a game of musical chairs where only the strongest and toughest kids get a chair.

We need to fix this system, so that instead of a limited number of chairs to fight over, we must build enough chairs (homes) for everyone. Instead of removing chairs like in a traditional game of musical chairs we need to add chairs so that even the slowest and most peaceful children can get a chair. We need enough homes for everyone – and to stop foreign speculators from bullying out the young families of Mann. Our island should not just be a haven for the rich, but must provide enough homes for the people of Mann.

We need to build and renovate homes in inner-Douglas for the people of Mann to create lives and build families. It is absurd that big parts of Lord Street, Fort Street, Parade Street, Walpole Street, Regent Street, North Quay and South Quay are in ruins. Building housing there will make housing more accessible, create good jobs and protect our environment.

The centre of our town should not look like a desolate bomb site

Build more affordable housing

For many Manx families, their biggest cost is the cost of housing: rent and mortgages. In the 2010s, a median house cost 9 times the median Manx earnings, up from 5 times median Manx earnings in the 1990s. Homes are out-of-reach for many people, discouraging our children from building a future on our island.

The best way to make more affordable housing is to build more housing. We need more private and public housing so that owning your own home is not an unaffordable fantasy for many Manx families. This will create jobs and environmental benefits.

As the Member for Douglas East, Michael Josem will fight for housing to be constructed on Lord Street, Parade Street, Walpole Street, Regent Street, Fort Street, South Quay and North Quay.

This will help ease the Manx housing crisis, it will improve our environmental performance, it will help to rejuvenate our town centre, and it will help create more good jobs for Manx workers. It is achievable and clear.

Scrutinise foreign purchases of Manx housing

Manx housing should be available first to families to build homes and lives. Homes should not be speculative financial instruments. The purchase of Manx land and housing by foreign speculators should be carefully scrutinised.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.