Why we need to build more affordable housing26/08/2014

Why we need to build more affordable housing

According to recent research published by Shelter, over 80% of homes on the market are unaffordable for first-time buyers. Add to this a BBC report, highlighting 62 areas across the country which are less affordable than London (yes, less affordable than London), the way forward is clear - we need to build more affordable housing.

Rural housing crisis

More research, this time from The National Federation of Housing (NHF), suggests that rural communities have been hit even harder than their town dwelling counterparts when it comes to unaffordable house prices. The research takes local salaries into account to map the affordability of homes for the people who live in those areas. So, if the average London salary is £39,920 and the average house price is around £400,000, based on these figures, average house prices are 10 times the average salary.

Based upon the average house price/average wage (the affordability ratio) the 5 least affordable areas of rural England are:

  1. South Buckinghamshire
  2. The Cotswolds
  3. Chichester, West Sussex
  4. Waverley, Surrey
  5. Sevenoaks, Kent Source
    NHF/Land Registry/ONS

The Cotswolds

In the Cotswolds, where house prices are around 19 times the average salary, the undersupply of affordable housing has priced many locals out of both the market and the area. Over the last four years, 556 affordable homes have been built by Cotswold District Council. In order to help, the council has also given local people who are on its housing list a higher priority.

Young working adults – no choice but to stay at home

Elsewhere, young people are also struggling to get on the housing ladder. In a poll, again conducted by Shelter, 48% of all 20 to 34 years olds (young working adults) have no choice but to remain living at home with their parents simply because they can’t afford to buy or even rent a place of their own!

Many local authorities and housing associations have long lists of applicants seeking accommodation or looking for part ownership/affordable housing. It’s a huge problem and the longer we hold off building affordable homes, more and more people will be squeezed out of the housing market before they can think about getting a foot on the ladder.

And, as we are talking about building more homes, we need to ensure that they are ventilated correctly. Making homes as energy efficient as possible to help assist families and individuals on tight budgets to avoid the fuel poverty trap is important but we also need to pay close attention to the ventilation requirements of a new build home.

By using materials such as triple glazing, cavity wall and loft insulation to make the homes we build as ‘air tight’ as possible, natural ventilation is prohibited and what we install to ventilate has to be right or the health and comfort of the future occupants could be at risk.

Nobody wants to live in an environment that suffers from condensation damp and black mould. Sophisticated heat recovery systems are all the rage but there is a cost effective and efficient alternative – Positive Input Ventilation (PIV). To find out more read the Miller Homes Case Study on PIV for new build.

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