Revealed: The True Extent of the UK Housing Gap
The figures are in and are once again painting an unfortunate picture for potential first-time buyers across the UK. Already in the grips of a full-blown housing crisis, research suggests that the scale of the housing shortage in the UK will continue to grow indefinitely as the population swells.
The housing gap – calculated by way of the difference between the number of homes needed to satisfy demand and available housing inventory – has now surpassed a million homes.
That’s according to a new study carried out by the BBC, which suggests that the UK’s lucrative private property lettings market is at least partially to blame for the deficit.
An Escalating Housing Crisis
Analysts and economists had been predicting for some time that the UK was on the verge of becoming a ‘nation of renters’. Now, with an affordable housing deficit in the region of 1.2 million homes, the extent of the gap is taking a serious toll on both the finances and the wellbeing of an entire nation.
Having recently polled approximately 2,000 adults across the UK, the Affordable Housing Commission concluded that around 13% of people are experiencing mental health issues due to their housing situation. Within the demographic considered to be living in unaffordable housing – accommodation costing at least a third of their total income – more than 25% said their psychological health was suffering.
This amounts to millions of people across the UK, for whom everyday life and wellbeing are being adversely affected by the housing crisis.
No Easy Answer
Once again, the shortage of affordable housing in the UK is playing directly into the hands of private landlords across the country. The sparser the inventory, the easier it becomes for private landlords to charge elevated rents and grow their revenues.
Even so, the fact that the UK needs at least 1.2 million more homes to bridge the gap means there is no quick or easy answer to the issue.
In fact, experts believe that based on current home building initiatives and annual targets, it will take a minimum of 15 years to bridge the current gap. Though this does not necessarily take into account inflation and total population growth during this time.
Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Affordable Housing Association suggest that at least 50% of 18 to 24 year olds still live with their families. More alarmingly, almost 20% of 25 to 34 year olds still live at home, primarily due to the inability to afford their own accommodation.
Pressure is building on the government, though the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government remains adamant that improvements are being made.
“Since 2010 this government has delivered over 464,000 new affordable homes, including 114,000 social homes. In addition to this, the social housing waiting list has decreased by 40% since 2012,” a spokesperson commented.
“Last year we delivered more homes than any year in the last 30 years and have committed to delivering a million more in this parliament,”
“We have also abolished the council borrowing cap so local authorities are able to continue to build more social homes, giving families the chance to find somewhere that is safe and secure.”