Housing shortage prevents couples from living independently

By Bea Patel, TLE Property Editor and Director of Shop for an Agent

New figures released today show young people across the country are struggling more than ever to live independently because of the cost of housing.

A new research project – How Many Homes – commissioned by the Town and Country Planning Association found the housing requirement to meet projected household formation until 2031 is lower than previously anticipated. This is because younger people cannot afford to buy their own home.

With housing shortages causing higher house prices and rents, young people are living with parents or house sharing for much longer. And rising student debt and potential future welfare reform are likely to make their position even more difficult.

In 2011, a minimum of 220,000 homes needed to be built each year until 2031 if housebuilding is to keep up with projected household growth. But this is still not enough to enable couples aged between 25 and 34 to have the same chance of living in their own home as their counterparts in 2011. From the new homes needed, 55 per cent are needed in London and the surrounding area. In contrast, the North East is expected to rise by only 11 per cent over 20 years.


Apartment with a view overlooking the Capital

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association said: “This research shows that, while it looks as if the projected number of needed homes has dropped, this is because many people now can’t afford their own home – either to rent or buy – and are living with parents or other people longer than they would like to.

“The government needs to see this as a wakeup call. It has already fallen behind on their targets for house building, and this is now having a devastating effect on young people. More needs to be done to build the necessary number of high quality, affordable homes for people who need them.”

The London Economic

New Houses, Prestwich

The research also shows the government is falling short of its targets to build new homes. Since 2011, only 54 per cent of the homes required have been built. To catch up by 2020 with the number of homes suggested by the projections, 310,000 homes will need to be built each year for the next 5 years.

David Cowans, chief executive of Places for People who part funded the research said: “The government may have an ambition to build more homes but this research shows that, to provide the homes where they are needed, much more still needs to be done. Housing is part of the essential infrastructure that this country needs to prosper, and on the current delivery rates, this pressing need will not be met.

“Government needs to work with the public and private sectors to arrive at bold and radical solutions to ensure that, together, we can get on with housing our nation.”

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