One of the biggest causes of the UK’s current housing crisis is the fact that there are not enough properties to meet demand. This means that house prices are increasing rapidly throughout the UK, leading to a large amount of people not being able to afford the properties that are currently available on the market. This is why the coalition government has funded a number of housing projects across the country, however many of these are facing issues. Here, Just Landlords looks at these issues in more detail:
Britain is only an island, however it is also one of the most influential countries in the world. This is why a number of people choose to migrate here each year in order to look for work and a reasonable lifestyle. However, the rate that the UK’s population has increased over the past decade has been much faster than anyone expected, meaning that there is now a huge amount of pressure being placed on the property, private rental and social housing sectors. This is one of the reasons that the coalition government brought in the spare room subsidy (otherwise known as the bedroom tax) in order to incentivise those living in properties larger than they actually require to downsize. Unfortunately, even with a deduction in their housing allowance many are refusing to leave their homes, meaning that there is still a large waiting list for those requiring social housing.
The most obvious way to solve the current housing crisis is to create more housing, ultimately reducing house prices and enabling more people to purchase their own properties. However, even though the government are funding numerous projects across the country, creating a large amount of properties requires a considerable amount of time, resources and labour. Many of those who are trying to organise new construction projects are currently struggling with the fact that there is not enough skilled labour or construction materials readily available, delaying construction projects even further. Even though building more properties is the most obvious way to solve the housing crisis, it also takes the most time, which means we won’t reap the benefits for a number of years.
Those that live in England are generally proud of the fact that we have a number of green and picturesque areas, which is why any form of construction project that will diminish these areas is usually protested against heavily. This means that there are large proportions of the UK where construction companies will struggle to get permission to build, and even if they do they may still have to deal with protests and objections from local residents. In a recent article for The Guardian’s Economics Blog, Larry Elliot highlighted this issue by stating that: “More homes have been built in Doncaster and Barnsley in the past five years than in Oxford and Cambridge. Surrey has more hectares devoted to golf courses than it does to housing. These two facts explain a lot about the UK property market.”
Cost of Living
The cost of living crisis is something that Labour party leader Ed Miliband often refers to, as a large percentage of people living in the UK are still struggling to afford basic necessities. Therefore, even if more properties were built many would still struggle to afford monthly mortgage repayments, especially if the Bank of England increases their base interest rate in the near future as is expected. Furthermore, the current government is still implementing austerity measures along with their welfare reforms, meaning that many people who rely on benefits are seeing a reduction in the amount they receive. Landlords are also concerned with the fact that the likelihood of tenants falling into rent arrears is also extremely high at the moment, meaning they have to rely more heavily on their rent guarantee insurance. This issue also discourages landlords from expanding their property portfolios, leading to less available housing in the private rental sector.
Even though we are regularly hearing that the UK is now recovering from the recession, the fact of the matter is that it is still having far reaching negative effects on the property and private rental markets. It may take years for the housing crisis to finally be solved, and until then many people will struggle to find reasonable and affordable places to live.