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Will Social Housing exist in a 100 years’ time?

As house prices increase and new build rates decrease, the supply of new homes is insufficient to meet demand; more people are looking to buy but cannot afford it. This puts increasing demand on the private rented sector and increase competition for affordable rented accommodation in social housing.

Trends in house occupation show a decrease in people owning property and a move towards renting:

In 1918, 77% of households in England and Wales were rented.

  • From 1953, ownership started to increase at a faster rate than in previous decades and by 1971, there was an equal percentage of households owning and renting.
  • Ownership continued to increase, reaching a peak of 69% in 2001, nearly the reverse of the situation in 1918. In the last decade the percentage of houses rented has fallen to 64%.
  • Within the rental sector social rental has increased from 1% in 1918 to a peak of 31% in 1981.
  • The percentage of households renting increased in all UK regions and in the last decade. London had the highest percentage of renters, accounting for over half of all households.

social housing in 100yrs1The country is facing up to a housebuilding crisis. A decade ago, the Barker Review of Housing Supply noted that about 250,000 homes needed to be built every year to prevent spiralling house prices and a shortage of affordable homes.

 In England during 2014 private builders began building on approximately 115,000 new homes. In the social housing sector only just over 23,000 new builds were started. On the basis that there are around 1,500 housing associations this means that an average of only 15 new homes per association are being built.

This is at a time when an estimated 1.7 million people are on the social housing waiting register in England.

Social Housing in 100yrs 2New figures show there are now more tenants in the private rented sector than the social rented sector in England, but the number of owner-occupiers is at its lowest for a decade.

The figures all tell the same story of a story of massive social change and if social housing is going to continue into the 22nd century then new approaches to providing affordable social housing need to be made. Shared ownership, shared occupation, regeneration and relocation are just some of the ideas which are currently gaining popularity. Other innovations need to be created in order to meet demand and prevent homeless levels and the resultant social problems from increasing.

© Chris Potter, 2015

Posted Monday, September 21st, 2015 by Chris Potter

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