Producing more homes resurrecting empty properties


Source: Crisis 18.05.2018

Leading housing and homelessness charities call for Government action to tackle the true extent of the housing shortage, ahead of its social housing green paper

New research that reveals the true scale of the housing crisis in England for the first time has been published today by the National Housing Federation – which represents housing associations in England, social landlords to 5 million people – and Crisis, the national charity for homeless people.

The ground-breaking research, conducted by Heriot-Watt University, shows that England’s total housing need backlog has reached four million homes. A new housing settlement is needed to address this shortage, providing a home for everyone who currently needs one, including homeless people, private tenants spending huge amounts on rent, children unable to leave the family home, and even couples delaying having children because they are stuck in unsuitable housing.

To both meet this backlog and provide for future demand, the country needs to build 340,000 homes per year until 2031. This is significantly higher than current estimates (including the Government’s target of 300,000 homes annually), which have never before taken into account the true scale of housing need created by both homelessness and high house prices.

However, simply building a total of 340,000 homes each year will not meet this need – they will need to be the right type of homes. 145,000 of these new homes must be affordable homes, compared to previous estimates of the annual affordable housing need of around 78,000. This means that around two-fifths of all new homes built every year must be affordable homes – in 2016/17, only around 23% of the total built were affordable homes.

The new research also goes further than previous studies, breaking down exactly what type of affordable homes are needed:

  • 90,000 should be for social rent
  • 30,000 should be for intermediate affordable rent
  • 25,000 should be for shared ownership

The research comes ahead of the publication of the Government’s social housing green paper, expected in the summer. The Government promised the green paper, announced in September last year after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, would bring about a “fundamental rethink” of social housing in the UK. The social housing sector’s leading voices, including the National Housing Federation, Crisis, Shelter, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and the Chartered Institute of Housing, are calling on the Government to use this opportunity to urgently redress the shocking shortfall in affordable housing.

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