The result is that the people who live close to the city are 1) young and childless (-free, whatever), 2) old and retired, 3) too poor to leave, or 4) rich enough to have gardeners and send their kids to private schools and pay a premium for a nice house closer to the city. This leaves out parents with two OK or one good income, who move to the distant 'burbs or commuter towns even if they'd rather live closer, because they can't afford private school.
I pay less than that for a mortgage on a 4 bed in the suburbs, and most of that is equity repayment. Ie the cost is about 1/10th of the price of renting.
When you have kids, in the UK you need to own as otherwise you're stuck with a 3 year lease at most, if the landlord decides to whack up the price, or simply sell up, you get maybe 2 months to move. That's a pain when you're a young professional, but when the kids are at school and you can't find anywhere available in that tiny time period, you're screwed.