Property is big business in the UK, as it is in most countries. But the way housing has been managed in this country has faced increasing criticism in recent years, with some suggesting that current policies will turn the UK’s cities into ghettos.
Many of the criticisms aimed at UK housing policy tend to revolve around the fact that renting is so expensive, and that mortgages are unattainable. The English Housing Survey revealed that private tenants spend 43% of their disposable income on rent, and social housing tenants 29%.
The idea of owning a home is also beyond most people’s realistic expectations. Even those who have the capital to put into property – such as buy to let investors – are likely to see a return of around 6% a year because house prices are so high. This is still over double inflation, but arguably not the immense cash-cow it is sometimes painted as.
Children are more frequently living at home for longer, which leads those families who can afford it to directly help their offspring onto the property ladder. This sum is estimated to be around £2bn per year.
Some parts of the UK’s cities are beginning to see overcrowding due to the lack of affordable housing, leading to the assertion that Britain’s cities could be ‘ghetto-ised’.
In London, where many would go to find work, rents have become prohibitively expensive, with only the super-rich able to afford the capital’s property prices. In terms of ownership, central London properties are often left empty and are merely investments for their wealthy foreign owners.
Many believe that building more properties is required to meet the needs of ordinary people – people who work hard and earn decent money but are still unable to consider buying their own home. However, with no national house building program, and no money in council coffers to being local ones, there appears to be no governmental move to address these issues.
Some point out that even though change may be required, many people are tied into the current system, and any huge alteration to the status quo could see them out of pocket – including some people who take out our unoccupied property and landlord insurance policies.
And so the debate on the housing crisis rages on. As always, leave your thoughts below.