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Rental ‘black hole’ trap for almost three-quarters of would-be homeowners

A major new survey reveals how almost three quarters of would-be home owners believe they are trapped in a rental “black hole”.

Seventy-one per cent of respondents to a national poll, carried out for the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents almost 400 local authorities in England and Wales, said they were “not confident” about the prospects of buying a home. Those not currently owning a home in Wales (83 per cent) and Yorkshire and Humberside (82 per cent) were particularly pessimistic.

The survey also reveals that almost two-thirds of mums and dads (65 per cent) have given or anticipate they will have to give a financial leg-up to their children or other family members to enable them to buy a home. Meanwhile, almost 30 per cent of parents giving or planning to give financial support are concerned about the impact this will have on their financial position in retirement (37 per cent in London).

Almost two-thirds of people (63 per cent) think it will be harder for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder in five years than it is now (73 per cent in London). Most people aged under 30 have little confidence in their prospects of buying a home (70 per cent of 18-24 year olds not currently owning a home and 59 per cent of 25-29 year olds have no confidence). The survey was conducted by Populus Data Solutions, on behalf of the LGA.

The findings support the LGA’s call for a raft of new measures to help tackle the housing crisis head-on – staving off an ever-swelling swathe of householders priced out from getting on the housing ladder and providing more much needed affordable homes for the 1.7 million households on the housing waiting list. The LGA has set out a blueprint for the first 100 days of the next government, tackling the key issues facing Britain today, which include reforming the current house building system.

LGA Chairman Cllr David Sparks said:

“This survey lays bare the full extent of the current housing crisis.

“A generation of parents who thought they’d paid off their mortgages are now finding themselves having to foot the bill for their children’s mortgages. The housing bubble is not just a London issue it’s a national problem being felt in urban and rural areas in every region.

“The shortage of houses in this country is a top priority for people, but buying a house is increasingly out of reach for many. Over the last two Parliaments, the number of people under 45 who can afford their own home has fallen by a fifth.
“Our plans would see half a million new homes built, transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of families. Councils have set a precedent in the past and shown they can deliver housing on a large scale. It’s time the next government learned from the past to build for the future.”

The LGA is calling for:

  • The Government to put in place a meaningful incentives scheme to encourage private developers to speed up the delivery of housing which already has planning permission. Incentives should include reducing up-front costs and risks through early discussions with developers; guarantees and phasing payments for infrastructure. This would be alongside financial penalties through the Community Infrastructure Levy and council tax system where planning permission has expired. This will bring forward the estimated 60,000 homes on hold or classified as ‘shelved’ in 2013 and speed up the delivery of private sector homes more widely, delivering an estimated additional 90,000 homes.
  •  The Chancellor to create council-led local land trusts with powers to pool surplus central and local government land for housing and make decisions about its disposal. Trusts would operate on a ‘build now, pay later’ model to support large sites to come forward with necessary infrastructure and affordable housing, a model which could also be applied to private sector landowners. This would enable 140,000 homes to be built over the next Parliament.
  • An immediate removal of the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap, to be replaced by the same controls that apply to any other council borrowing, leading to 80,000 homes over five years. This would be in addition to the estimated 80,000 homes councils plan to build in partnership with housing associations and private developers over the next five years.
  •  The scrapping of the Right to Buy scheme’s complex arrangements for councils and ensuring the discount offered is in line with the local housing market and stimulates sales and that the receipts from sales are retained directly by the council to reinvest in replacement housing. This will allow councils to replace around 50,000 houses sold through Right to Buy.

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