As a young professional in London, I'm part of a generation of people who rent because they can't afford to buy. When I explain to my Dad what I'm paying for the one-bedroom flat I share with my girlfriend, he gives me a look that basically says 'Are you absolutely insane?'
He's obviously right. It is insane. But that's the reality for lots of people in London who can't buy a house and therefore have to accept rents that are totally out of whack with the rest of the country. The most expensive rental property in my home town of Mansfield is this four bedroom house on the market for £950pm. I don't know why I checked that. It's just made me sad.
Anyway, the reality that many people are trapped into renting because property prices are even more out of kilter with rental prices.
Therefore the idea floated by George Osborne that Brexit could cause house prices to crash by up to 18% was met with a sense of glee by several people my age. 'Sign me up' they tweeted. 'I might be able to afford one then!' they exclaimed. A friend of mine wavering between in and out suggested that this might convince them to vote to leave the EU. Lara Prendergast wrote in The Spectator that if Brexit solved the housing crisis, then bring it on.
And I understand the thinking. I'm desperate to be able to afford to buy my own house. But to act in a manner that would damage the economy for everybody in order to achieve that personal goal would be not only be astoundingly selfish but would also be rank stupidity.
Because that's the reality of a vote to leave the EU. You can argue the extent to which Brexit will damage the economy, but the evidence is overwhelming that it will damage it. Whether it's the Treasury saying it'd shrink GDP by 6%, or the IFS saying it'd extend current austerity measures for at least two years, or PWC saying it could potentially cost 950,000 jobs, there can be little doubt that the initial direction of the British economy would be downwards in the event of Brexit.
Is that a price really worth paying so that some relatively affluent, middle class professionals like me can afford a house? Potentially putting a million people (potentially including yourself, don't forget!) out a job so that a tiny group of people can buy one bedroom flats in London? Because let's be clear, Brexit isn't going to solve the housing crisis as The Spectator's headline emphatically claims.
Housing developments are not going to leapfrog the tangled web of planning and nimbyism because we sever ties with Brussels. New homes are not going to appear overnight if we pull up the drawbridge. Local authorities borrowing power, which places huge limits on their ability to build houses, will not be enhanced by Brexit.
The only people to benefit will be those who already have deposits sitting idle but cannot afford to buy at current prices, a problem that primarily exists in London and the South East. An 18% drop might help them, if they're lucky enough to keep their job and they're able to still get a mortgage in a climate where banks will be less willing to lend.
But it isn't going to help someone coming out of university with no savings. It isn't going to help a young family unable to save money each month because of a squeeze on wages and increasing cost of living.
And a drop in house prices is not going to make anyone feel better if Brexit puts them out of a job, regardless of their circumstances.
So yes, I'd love to be able to buy a house. Few things would make me happier right now. But I am absolutely not going to vote to plunge the economy into turmoil in order to do it, and neither should anyone else.