There was very little in the Autumn 18 budget to address the ongoing housing crisis across Britain.
Neither was there anything specific to deal with the increasing homelessness, with rough sleeping more than doubling since the numbers for 2010.
There was nothing much either for private renters, when the swiftly rising number of households in this sector cries out for change.
There wasn’t much to help those in home ownership either, other than a slight extension of the stamp duty cut for shared ownership properties.
At last year’s general election, the worsening housing crisis clearly became political for the Conservatives, as younger families and renters turned out to deprive the government of its assumed majority!
The backdrop is the dramatic growth in the private rented sector (PRS) over the last 20 years, meaning that renting privately is now the new norm and is no longer seen as a transitional form of tenure simply for students or mobile young professionals.
Instead, this sector is now housing more people for longer periods of their lives, including low-income groups, families with children and young people under 35. Unfortunately however, private renters are, in many cases, paying a higher proportion of their income on housing costs than either homeowners servicing mortgages or social renters. This is a particular concern for those on low and/or insecure incomes, as unpredictable earnings make it ever harder for them to meet their monthly housing costs.
On the plus side, one advantage to tenants renting in the private sector is that whenever they should need to re-locate, they can simply end their tenancies with a single months notice and move.
Another advantage for those renting from the public sector is that social housing provides a more secure anchor than what’s available for those renting privately.
Either way however, it’s abundantly clear that more affordable housing is urgently needed, whether to buy or to rent but the knee-jerk reaction of simply building more houses in every corner of the country that it appears feasible to, isn’t the right answer.
What is the right answer is to change the way all houses are priced, so that prices accord more closely to buyers’ actual ability to afford them in the specific locations in which each house-move needs to happen. The problem of the finance industry capitalising on house price rises won’t be solved by those with financial interests!
The Hendry Solution addresses this problem directly and comes up with a new, and innovative way to achieve this. It sits separately from but right alongside the need to start increasing the overall stock of housing, both for purchase and for rent, whether in the private or the public housing sectors. In essence it deals with the matter of having a continually rising population in a far more equitable way than is currently the case.
For a fully reasoned explanation of how this may be achieved, economically, please go to:
The Hendry Solution: Full details of our proposals for properly reforming the UK housing market..
Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation