The Question of Affordable Housing

August 3, 2022 Icon 3 mins read
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Introduction

Everyone wants to own their own home, it’s their dream and most achieve it. Back when our parents and grandparents were buying houses, they were a lot cheaper than they are now. In the old days a house would cost £20,000, nowadays that would just be above the average deposit rate. Nowadays house prices are much higher, and many seem to think that where aren’t many affordable houses. In this article we look at the current housing market and explain it simply.

How Affordable are Houses Right Now?

The ONS (Office for National Statistics) has recently published a report on house prices. The report acknowledges that house prices have increased dramatically over the past two years. However, it also reports how the average house price costs nearly nine times the average national salary. Again, looking at the ONS the average UK salary is £25,971. Meanwhile the average house price is £278,00.

Earlier we spoke about how many years ago it was a lot cheaper to buy a home. Now of course accounting for inflation people earned a lot less however, that’s not the only factor. The average UK salary in 1980 was £6000 yet the average house price was £23,287. In 1980 that meant that house prices were 3.8 times higher than the average wage, in 2022 its 8.7.

This has led to many housing experts to say that buying an affordable house is simply a fantasy. Many are confused at whilst the growth of house prices has been rapid the growth in wages hasn’t. This has led many to speculate and show concern at this seemingly bleak future.

Why is it now more difficult to buy an affordable house?

One thing we have to take straight into account is inflation. We all know inflation is high right now, it’s at it’s highest for many decades and this will have an effect. When inflation is high that means everything else becomes more expensive however, this is not the sole reason for the lack of affordable housing.

The main issue is that if we compare to 1980 there just simply aren’t many houses. Back in 1980 the population of the UK was 56.31 million, today its 67.2 million. Whilst the population has increased by nearly 11 million, we haven’t been building as many houses to meet the demands. To put it simply lots of people want houses, but there aren’t any available. This means that affordable housing becomes more and more difficult because they are lots of people clamouring to get one.

What are the solutions to affordable housing?

The obvious solution is to build more houses but its more complicated than that. The UK is a small place and there are currently limited available brownfield sites left. This then begs the question do we build on greenfield sites? These are sites that have never been built on before and we would be destroying large amounts of greenery in the country. This is why in many cities like London we are seeing modern new tower blocks being built. With these we are able to home far more people in less space as regular houses and they are quickly becoming popular.

There are also plenty of schemes that help out first time buyers get onto the property ladder. These include the first homes scheme and lifetime ISA’s. To read more about these click here!

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Oliver Rose

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