The decline of ownership, and meaningless means
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.Read more
The London estate being torn apart by evictions
If ever there was a case for the reform of private renters' rights it's this.
Residents of Dorchester Court in Herne Hill all rent from the same landlord, Manaquel Ltd. In recent years, the company has tried putting up the rent by 30% in many cases - some of the residents managed to negotiate a lower increase, but are still paying much more than before.
This year, instead of having their tenancy renewed, the landlord has been issuing them with section 21 eviction notices - giving the tenant 2 months to leave - without giving them a reason or any option to stay.
[photo: Brixton Buzz]Read more
Starter homes: another attempt to ignore the housing crisis
"Generation Buy". Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. For baby boomers and Generation X, buying a home was taken for granted, and no one calls those cohorts "Generation Buy". But David Cameron seems fond of the phrase and if it means that he’ll stretch every sinew to make it happen, fine.
First time buyer numbers plummeted a decade ago from a peak of 600,000 to 300,000 today, hence the rise of generation rent. Most private renters still want to buy a home, and the government recognises this; George Osborne said before this year’s election that he wants to double the annual number of new home owners.
But the Prime Minister won’t change anything about home ownership with the policy he talked about in his speech to Conservative Party Conference. “Starter homes” are his latest wheeze, following the failure of Help to Buy to revive aspiring home owners’ fortunes. These privately built homes will be sold at a 20% discount to first time buyers. If house prices keep rising at current trends, that means that in 2018, you’ll be able to buy a new-build flat at 2015 prices. Sorry Dave, but I won’t be opening the champagne quite yet.Read more
How to fight a rent hike in 10 steps
There's a lot of muttering right now from the landlord lobby that they'll be putting up rents because of changes to the tax regime and expected increases in interest rates.
The threats would sound scarier if rents weren't already going up faster than inflation. The fact is many landlords will use any excuse to put up the rent when they get the chance. Many others value their tenants, and won't.
If you face a rent hike, you don't need to accept it. We've put together a 3 minute video on what to do to avoid paying too much.Read more
Renters pay £30 a week for government housing failure
Inflation is one of those annoying things that you just have to accept and deal with - the official target is, after all, 2%. But that gives the government no excuse to allow rents to go up the way they have.
Since 1998-99, when the government started collecting data on housing costs in the Family Resources Survey, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the measure they currently use for inflation, has risen by 38%. In the same period, the median weekly rent (according to the FRS) has gone up by 80%. If rents had just matched inflation, renters would be an average of £30 better off a week.
Zero inflation, but not if you're a private renter
The government has made a big song and dance about the zero inflation rate - for the first time in years the cost of living isn't rising. But that only applies if you don't have to worry about the rent.
Today the Office for National Statistics published the latest private rental inflation figures, which stand at 2.5% across Great Britain, and 3.8% in London.
The UK Housing ‘Crisis’: Are You Profiting From It?
A blog from guest writer Zeph Auerbach asks - how much personal responsibility do we have for the housing crisis?
Now that the election is over, and Eurovision is a distant memory, London turns back to its favourite moan: the housing crisis. I frequently share this moan with my mixed group of friends: some renters, some homeowners, some letting out the odd room or flat. This conversation always seems to have an 'in it together' atmosphere, as we berate the property speculators, the oligarchs with vacant mansions, and most of all our government, which clearly sees its role as sustaining the rise in house prices (Help to Buy, pension reforms, reductions in stamp duty and so on).
But we ignore the elephant in the over-valued and under-sized room. This is an elephant which you'd see, if you looked hard enough, lurking in the corner of almost every Independent or Guardian article decrying the housing crisis. The elephant in the room is simply this: we find ourselves on opposing sides of this ‘crisis’ and for some of us this ‘crisis’ is something we profit from and sustain.Read more
Social housing sector makes its pitch
There have been not one but two reports out in the past 24 hours which advise the government how it can boost housebuilding at the lower end of the market - something that was woeful under the past government with its slashed grant funding and so-called affordable rent.
In a bid to shake off the toxicity of the "affordable" tag, the National Housing Federation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Savills have produced a report into how living rents could be set and underpin an increase in housebuilding of 80,000 homes a year. Based on what is affordable on low incomes, their local "living" rents are set at roughly 40% of the market rate - instead of the 80% the government claims is affordable. Just £3bn of public money a year could fund this programme.Read more
UCL Rent Strike
On 3rd July, there will be a mass demonstration over the extortionate rent levels charged by University College London to their students.Read more
Want a decent place to live without robbing a bank?
Then ask your parliamentary candidates to support rent control
Looking for an affordable, stable place to live in London? Then you’ll have to move into the big house. Prison, that is.Read more