So here’s a thought, following a fascinating conversation with Diana Janicki from EMC at lunch today.

Today’s housing market in London is being governed to some extent by the first major social network – the train and underground service. Live closer to a station (mostly built before the end of the first decade in the 1900s) and your house price will be higher. Networks have these sort of unforeseen effects in the long term.

As much of our lives becomes digital, in part because of the increasing use of smartphones as single points of access, we enter into a world where we carry fewer physical cultural artefacts – a posh way of saying books, CDs, LPs and so on. Carry less stuff, and you need less space. When you need less space housing developers will provide less space to maximise yield from the land they acquire. Maximised yield leads to higher land prices overall. Therefore house prices get bumped up.

Fanciful, maybe. But potentially a curious side effect of our digital lives in urban areas.

4 thoughts on “Smart phones push up house prices

  1. Not sure about your theory on the causality. RIBA report shows houses have halved in size since the 1920s.

    My hypothesis would be that population and demand for housing and thereby land plus asset price inflation has been the cause.

    1. The causality is probably utter bobbins, I agree. Whether a clutter-free digital life drives or is driven by house prices… It’s probably a little bit of both, with many other factors in play as well.

      However the internet has undoubtedly now started to shape the retail property market, for example.

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