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Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

The Politics Of Housing

It is still generally acknowledged by all political parties that there is a housing shortage in the UK, and each political party wants to offer the public alternative methods of tackling the problem in an attempt to win electoral favour.

Most political parties see the housing crisis in the UK as a possible election winning issue and each party’s election manifesto promises the general public many things, including further private rented sector (PRS) reforms and the introduction of additional legislation. There isn’t much offered by any political party for landlords, except for the promise to put an end to the private rental sector.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI research published in January 2015 discovered a confusing conundrum, in that:

  • 75% of the public agree that there is a housing crisis in the UK
  • 48% of the public disagree there is a housing crisis in their locality

The publication of each political party’s election manifesto is intended to give the public a clearer indication of the housing priorities of the UK’s next parliament.

However, despite claims of a housing shortage nationally there are still some UK regions that have large proportions of derelict and abandoned properties, many still in a habitable condition.

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Government Seek Bids For Build-To-Rent Scheme

Government Seek Bids For Build-To-Rent Scheme

Build-To-Rent scheme seeking bids from property developers to help bring about the fastest rate of affordable residential property construction for two decades 

UK Government Housing Minister, Mark Prisk, last week announced a second round of funding for the construction of new rental properties and the government are seeking fresh bids for a share of at least £400 Million (GBP) to build new properties specifically for the private rental sector (PRS).

The funding is part of the flagship £1 Billion (GBP) Build-To-Rent fund, which offers support for property developers and property investors who want to get into the private rental sector for the first time.

Mr Prisk said the new Build-To-Rent scheme would encourage investment in the UK’s private rental market and offer prospective tenants a greater choice of rental property. The scheme is intended to run alongside up to £10 Billion (GBP) in government housing guarantees.

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We are now building fewer new properties than when the Queen first came to the throne in 1952!

While residential properties are smaller than in previous decades, property prices have increased and modern conveniences have changed beyond recognition.

The biggest change in the last 60 years has been in home ownership: this has more than doubled from 32% of all households in England in 1953 to 66% in 2010-11.

The Right to Buy scheme in the 1980s was a key driver of the rise, helping to lift owner occupation from 57% in 1981 to 68% in 1991.

However, owner occupation has been declining since its peak of 71% in 2003.

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) trend shows the reverse of the home ownership pattern. The proportion of rental accommodation in the PRS has fallen by two-thirds since the fifties, from 50% in 1953 to 17% in 2010-11.

However, the private rented sector has been rising again over the last decade, after being as low as 10% in 2001.

The proportion of social (council) housing has also risen and fallen over the same period. From 17% of all households in coronation year, peaked at 32% in 1981 and is now just 18%.

201,860 new residences were built in 1951, compared with an estimated 137,000 in 2011.

New house building reached record levels in the sixties with 425,830 new homes being built.

New residential properties have also been shrinking in size. Properties less than 538 sq ft in size accounted for just 9% of all new homes built before 1980, this proportion doubled after 1980.

The types of new properties being built has also changed. Semi detached houses accounted for 41% of new homes built between 1945 and 1964, but represent only 15% of homes built after 1980.

Flats used to account for 15% of newly constructed property between 1945 and 1964, but after 1980, accounted for 20% of all new housing stock.

There has been a dramatic improvement in the quality of residential property of all types since the end of WWII.

In 1947, 42% of households had no bath or shower and 64% had no basic water supply: by 1991, the proportion had fallen to 0.3% and 1% respectively.

Households in the UK with a second toilet have increased from 31% in 1996 to 41% in 2007.

Another noticeable trend has been the fall of the ‘traditional’ family unit household.

The proportion of households in England occupied by married couples has dropped from 70% in 1971 to 40% in 2011. Over the same period, the proportion of single person households in the UK has risen from 19% in 1971 to 33% in 2011.

Single person households are expected to replace married households as the most common form of household over the next decade.

Over the last 60 years the average UK residential property price has increased 7,278% from £2,200 in 1951 to £162,338 in 2011. This is three times the rise in retail price inflation over the same period (2,477%).

UK property prices have risen in real terms in nearly two out of every three years – 38 out of 60 – since 1951.

* Research compiled from a number of sources by Lloyds TSB

Right to Buy scheme set to give first-time buyers deposits

Local authorities across the UK have welcomed the Government announcement to revitalise the Right to Buy scheme by boosting the level of discount.

Money raised from the “Right to Buy” sales of council houses is set to be used by Wandsworth Council to help first-time buyers into private home ownership by giving them a deposit of up to £50,000. It is hoped that other local authorities with long waiting lists for housing will follow suit.

The Conservative led local authority have said they would put money from Right to Buy sales into a pot, from which it would pay first-time buyers – who need not be council tenants – a deposit.

The deposits would be repaid into the pot when eventually sold, and the local authority has also suggested that private developers could contribute to the fund.

Although David Cameron and housing minister Grant Shapps have said they expect one new affordable home to be built for every council house sold under the scheme, Wandsworth made clear that it also wants to use the money raised to help non-council tenants buy a home.

The council has been actively lobbying for Right to Buy to be re-invigorated after seeing a slump in sales from 274 in 2003 to only 7 last year, following the previous Labour Government’s reduction of Right to Buy discounts from £38,000 to £16,000 in most areas.

Wandsworth council wants the ability to set the level of discount itself, and is also calling for council tenants to be able to use their Right to Buy discount to buy privately, thus freeing up social housing.

Leader of Wandsworth council Cllr Ravi Govindia, , said: “The Government’s announcement is an important step towards helping a new generation of people into home ownership. Just as Right to Buy inspired an estimated two million people to buy their home, we need new ideas so that their children can grasp the same opportunities. First-time buyers can no longer rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad.”

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