With homelessness at an all time high and affordable housing at an all time low, are we ever going to see this change?
With house prices reaching unprecedented highs in recent years, first time buyers have really struggled to not only save up enough for a deposit but to meet the massive repayments. Furthermore, affordable housing and council housing has seen those in desperate need be stuck at the bottom of waiting lists indefinitely; which in turn has fuelled the amount of people sleeping rough.
Can something be done before it's too late?
The average house price in England has recently hit £298,000, which has increased by almost £60,000 since 2017. In fact, the average house price in England has gone up by over £120,000 over the last decade. These are shocking statistics, and with prices only looking like they will increase further, first time buyers are put in a continuously worse position.
But what is responsible for this? Endless amounts of inflation? The cost of living increasing year upon year? Research has found multiple home owners are having a massive effect on the housing ladder.
As many houses are now brought and owned as buy to lets, which takes a large percentage of available housing of the market and in turn, pushes up prices. But owning a second home Is having an equally huge impact.
In the village of Chapel Stile, located in the heart of the Lake District, almost 85% of houses are second homes which has made house prices for locals so high. The average income is £20,400, which is significantly below the national average as there simply isn't any high paying jobs available due to how reliant the Lake District is on tourism. There are many examples all across the country where locals who where born and work there can no longer afford to live there.
Accessing social housing
With there being such a short supply of houses, prices have of course risen astronomically. As a result of these massive increases have meant those in dire need for emergency/social housing physically can't access any.
In 2019, only 6,338 social homes were built in the U.K, which has fallen by 84% from 2010; despite there being almost 3.8 million people in need of social housing.
Ethnic minorities have been found to have been victims of inequality in housing as well. In the U.K, Black families are far less likely to be home owners than White or Asian families, and that 48% of Black households were living in social housing.
As a result of the pandemic, more and more people are loosing their jobs which means they can't afford the massive repayments on their mortgage or rent and are on the edge of homelessness before they knew it. The true effects of this will be known over the next 12 months as huge inflation rates and rises to cost of living are expected to leave millions of households seriously struggling.
When will the Government intervene?
With more people struggling than ever and with no clear end to this crisis coming to an end, surely the Government have to step in before it's too late? Policies like the 'Help to Buy' scheme were introduced to try to help first time buyers to buy a new build property with only a 5% deposit. But it was not long ago this was announced to be ending in March 2023, there has been lots of backlash calling for further action.
The majority of experts have been labelling the 'unresponsive housing supply' as the real root of the problem. Their major criticism of Governmental policy is that they are not interjecting on a big enough scale to acquire enough land to build enough homes on. With the modern day phenomena that is the ageing population, there is less and less housing being put up on the market so building more housing estates is a logical step.
In 2019 however, there was an 11 year high in the amount of new build properties built and yet prices did not stabilise or decrease at all, which raises questions about the feasibility of this.
Until the Government level the playing field by introducing tough legislation against the exploitation of poor, working class, or first time buyers through extortionate prices which only reduce millions of people into poverty or debt to be able to afford this then the question has to be asked, how many more millions will join them?