Proposals this week to implement cheap rents for London's artists show how the the city's housing crisis makes an absurdity of good intentions, and indicates why a closer link to universality rather than targeting is needed to make renting affordable again in the capital.
The issue of foreign investors pumping money into the London property market has once again been raised by last night’s BBC report on a rise in overseas investment in the outer London boroughs, and how this provides competition for first-time buyers.
A version of this article appeared on Inside Housing.
Last Tuesday, the Resolution Foundation dominated the headlines and airwaves with its report into levels of home ownership. Using figures from the Labour Force Survey, their big finding was that Greater Manchester saw the biggest fall in owner occupation from its peak at the turn of the century. It was a pattern seen across the north.
It’s no shock that the housing crisis is gripping the whole country. Our analysis of the 2011 census in 2014 found that ownership levels were already dropping in major urban areas. These figures are a bit more up to date.
While London and the South East have the most insane house prices, buying a home anywhere has become more difficult. This is because wages haven’t risen by much, and more people are in insecure employment, so it’s harder to save and to qualify for a mortgage. House prices became uncoupled from wages before the credit crunch, and didn’t revert to affordable levels after it.
For the rest of the summer, London politics is formally in recess. Yet, the city keeps on moving and the Mayor has been publicly engaged with the housing elements of a number of high-profile developments.
As part of our work, we want to make sure that we're doing the best we can for renters, and a big part of that is understanding your experiences and hopes for the future.
The housing crisis is such a complex beast that there are a range of views about how to fix it - and we'd like to know what yours are too.
That's why we are running a survey until mid-August.
If, like me, you wish this generation had its own Joe Strummer or Woody Guthrie, writing protest songs about the social challenges of the day - i.e. bad housing* - well, you're in luck. A new choir of private renters in London, called Section 21, is being announced this Saturday at Royal Festival Hall in London.
As is so often the case in the week before politicians break for the summer, we’ve had a raft of announcements, predictions and indicators in the last week – including a number of focused reports today from English Housing Survey data.
Coupled with announcements made at yesterday’s Mayoral Question Time (the last until September), private renters in London have a diagnosis and some solutions to ponder over the summer.
But equally, it is hoped that these reports will have brought added impetus to plans being written by the housing team at City Hall, ready to hit the ground running after the summer.
Michael Green is the founder of CaseHub.
Over the past six months, I have been working with some of the country’s leading barristers to put together a lawsuit that proves how most letting fees in England and Wales are unlawful.
The good news is that they agree.
We now need to take that case to court. The good news is that if it wins, renters will be entitled to get their letting fees back, and in future some of them might be stopped entirely.