Britain’s housing crisis

Since Brexit, many previously forgotten issues within the UK have been brought to light. One of these issues is that of public housing.

The UK currently has one of the longest waiting lists for public housing, after the price of houses jumped 151% since 1996. In 2016, there is the highest demand for housing in Britain’s history.

There is a quota of a minimum 200,000 units needed to be built per year, according to experts. However, the government simply does not have the funds. Chancellor George Osborne claimed in the Autumn Statement that he has a goal to build 400,000 more new homes before 2020, and claims to have set aside £4 billion for housing associations, local authorities and the private sector to help make it happen.

“Without incentives in the form of tax relief and more land availability, 400,000 is going to be pretty challenging,” says Martin Samworth, EMEA CEO of US commercial property giant CBRE. People in their 20s and 30s still aspire to own, he says, but “in London in particular, less than half the new houses that are required are getting built”.

There is wide spread panic amongst younger generations who are forced to rent one bedroom apartments in poorer neighbourhoods.

These days, a deposit on a house alone is enough to drive a middle-class couple into debt and the price of houses is almost seven times the average income

This is not an issue seen only within the U.K. Other western countries such as Australia and the United States are having similar problems. Children are living with their parents a lot longer and facing the fear that they might not ever own a home. Home ownership is at its lowest point in almost fifty years and shows no sign of rising.

The number of homeless individuals has doubled since 2010, with roughly 3,569 people sleeping on the streets every night.

A massive 114,790 households applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance in 2015/16, up 11% from 2010/11, says Crisis UK, the national assistance for homelessness. British councils have been forced to spend £3.5 billion in the last five years in a desperate attempt to combat this.

As said by QMUL’s Dr Jessie Hohman, “Since the 1980s we have lost any concept of housing’s social function, and that is why protest movements are gaining ground. Without decent housing, you can’t experience an adequate life in society, but now housing is seen just as an asset.”

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