Affordability of housing is a major issue in London. Why do you think this is? Who does it affect?
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It is not a question of affordability but availability. When housing demand exceeds supply all housing can become unaffordable to most residents. This is clearly true when we are seeing affordable homes at the current values in most boroughs. The Mayor should use another designation when development is planned or so called regeneration takes place. That is social housing as defined by the ownership or control of properties. We should aim to be radical and refuse planning permission where developments do not contain a proportion of housing that will serve local community need not some market rate. This could be established by using metrics such as council waiting list, evictions, HMOs, average earnings, priority needs such as homelessness, disability , children or age and need for sheltered and protected homes. The housing strategy should not prioritise pocket homes or high density and height over need in a locality. Developers should have to show how their proposals will reduce these types of problems and also contribute to infrastructure improvement to reduce future council investment over time. Further, the aim should not be prefabs and rabbit hutches at tube or other transport hubs but well planned developments which meet local need whilst allowing some profit for investors. Finally, investment should not be seen as good in itself but by its continuing contribution to meeting local needs and aspirations. Therefore consultation should be real and enduring, commitments made public and investors , builders, local authorities and the Mayor made more accountable through local planning processes not the present system of often secret commercial in confidence deals that largely by pass and hood wink local populations leading to hollowing out of many areas and wholesale population cleansing as social housing reduces in scale and impact. Be bold and the people who want to make money will come forward to work in true partnership with local communities not against them.
The issue of affordability of Housing in London affects most Londoners who are not already homeowners unless they are rich.
Private rents are more than many people's wages and buying a home is beyond the reach of most. There is a desperate shortage of council homes.Unless effective measures are taken urgently we are not going to be able to staff our essential public services.
Housing has been left to the free market and the council house stock has been massively reduced due to the right to buy. A large percentage of ex council homes in London are now let out privately at expensive market rents. The right to buy should be ended as it exacerbates the housing crisis.Also many homes in London are bought by investors as a safety deposit box and left empty "buy to leave " Offering homes to Londoners before they are put on the international market will not solve anything if they are unaffordable.
We need strong punitive measures to stop "buy to leave." where large numbers of homes in London are bought by property investors as increasing council tax for empty properties to 200% is a drop in the ocean to property investors. Councils or the GLA should be able to impose very large fines and ultimately compulsorily purchase empty properties. They also need the resources to monitor this.
We also need a massive program of council house building. It is vital that regeneration of council estates does not reduce the number of council house units and that the residents are balloted before any demolition. Where public land is used we need the maximum number of council houses to be built, not flats that most Londoners cannot afford. We should stop using the term affordable when it is not.
For private tenants we need the government to bring back rent control and security of tenure. Berlin regulates against people letting out whole flats to short term visitors due to the shortage of rented accommodation for its residents. It would be good if London had the power to do the same.
The 'Right to Buy' policy robbed London of its 'Council Housing Stock' and, as a consequence of the lack of replacement housing to make up for that disaster, the housing market has never been the same since. A proper 'Council Housing' policy, which provides those who do not have the means to purchase, needs to be restored.
The price of housing in London is unaffordable to most people on low and medium incomes. This is the case whether we are looking at housing to buy on the open market, or the private rented sector. Council housing is increasingly scarce, particularly with local authority borrowing caps and demolition of council estates, and housing associations are increasingly commercialised and morphing sinisterly into private housing corporations with near market level rents. Even more disturbingly, there are more and more Londoners in acute housing distress, up to and including street homelessness, which is increasing exponentially. Key factors influencing this are deregulation of private rents and the roll-out of Universal Credit. Government needs to tackle both of these urgently.
What Londoners, and people living in other cities and towns in Britain need is a new generation of council housing at low rents. This will need legislative change, which London's mayor along with other mayors should work for, to lift the local authority housing cap. Public land that becomes available MUST be used for public purposes, e.g. council housing, and NOT sold off to developers. Substantial borrowing may be necessary, but this will be offset by rental income. It will also create a virtuous circle by creating tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of jobs for construction and associated workers who will create a demand for goods and services produced by other workers, thus growing the economy.
The Mayor must not be fixated on home ownership, This is not possible for many, whilst others have no desire to become property owners. Money for 'Starter Homes' tends to benefit the better off. Let us give the benefit to the many not the few: Build Council Housing!
Hi, I understand that we need more housing ,what I do not understand is why planning is being considered for such building as the plan put forward to Hounslow council for an 8 storey ,commercial ,residential and shops to be built on an office car park of No.21 high street in Feltham. It will overlook and tower over a junior school and playground at the rear and side and another school and playground on the side of the proposed building (with a narrow road between it and the second school). It would also be towering over Feltham Green and pond , a major green site and a winner of a Green Flag this year. Feltham has many sites that could be used and so has the rest of Hounslow. That side of the road has 4 and 5 storey blocks but at a distance from said schools ,Green and pond and do not spoil views of the area ,but even a two storey would. The other point I wish to make is that we have more then enough shops here in Feltham,
Government subsidies to support first time buyers and extremely low interest rates have increased house prices for all people.
More good quality housing needs to be built, with good size rooms and good quality materials, but not covering every patch of greenery in London. Many of the houses/flats being built are of poor quality materials and would not expect to last for 50 years, let alone the 100+ years that my Victorian house has lasted.
Making the seller pay stamp duty rather than the buyer would also put the horse before the cart - the vendor has generally made a profit on buying and selling, so why not let the Exchequer gain from that, rather than making the buyer pay? This would also reduce house prices.
Removing VAT (20%) from home improvements would also encourage better use of the existing housing stock.
Perhaps following recent incidents, people will think about fire safety (and gas, electricity and water safety too) along with the materials that are being used. In Waltham Forest (Walthamstow), there are many developments putting up new blocks of flats. The best quality ones seem to be created under an Almshouse banner where the budget seems to be ringfenced and higher build standards mandated.
Further north but still within the M25, dwellings are being built on floodplains. Some of these houses were flooded before they were even finished and sold! More intelligence (and fewer personal opinions) are needed in planning permission decisions.
Can we have an end to the nonsense that defines an affordable rent as 80% of market rent.? Overall, rents should be reduced such that they are commensurate with people's earnings. Of course some private landlords would regard such a move as an infringement of their liberty. The only answer to this is that liberty consists of a general access to goods, services and culture in the widest sense of the
term. It should not be regarded as being defined by the private ownership of property.
Landlords are able to charge extortionate amounts of rent because they can, because there is insufficient regulation, insufficient housing, and insufficient alternatives available.
I have read some of the comments on here and I agree with so many of them. I live in Waltham Forest run by Labour who I thought were in favour of helping working class workers get affordable homes. The council leader cares very little for the long-term residents saying that we should just rent privately (when all we can afford is a room privately) or leave the area. So despite living and working in the borough for over 25 years I can see that the local MPs care very little about the middle and lower earners in the borough. They continue to support these unaffordable new builds labelled (SHARED OWNERSHIP) and in Waltham Forest all of the affordable and social housing goes to migrants who have been in Britain for less than 10 years.
SELF FINANCING LOCAL AUTHORITY SHELTERED HOUSING.
Local Authorities or Housing Associations could acquire land and build sheltered housing for people aged over 65. Tenants who had sold their own property would pay an advanced rental payment equivalent to the cost of the build but not the cost of the land. (In Greater London Build Costs are roughly £2,500 per square metre). Hence, a flat with a floor area of 50 square metres should be available at an "Advance Rental" of £125,000. This would entitle the tenant to live in the property for the remainder of their natural life. When the tenant dies, the property is returned to the Local Authority or Housing Association who would give it a makeover and remarket it to another advance rental client or even a monthly rental client. Clearly, if the Housing Authority focussed on advance rental clients (which means they recover the full cost of the build at the beginning), they could immediately start building another sheltered housing development.
For the tenant that means affordable housing when compared to buying outright and it is achieved by the Local Authority acquiring and retaining the land. The tenant has the additional protection, should they succumb to dementia, that their Lease for Life property cannot be fraudulently sold through identity theft.
The Local Authority or Housing association that hold the Head Lease or Freehold on the land would be re-marketing the property every 25 years on average (hence it becomes a self financing model).
There is a short term opportunity to attract baby boomers who own their property into good quality sheltered housing. The price and the moral is attractive for them as they know that by doing so, they are paying for affordable housing for themselves but which will benefit the next generation and the next and so on. This should encourage Authorities to construct buildings that will last not only this century but also the next
Thanks for all your suggestions. What do you think needs to be done to tackle this?
1. Let private developers build more homes
2. Subsidise the supply of cheap homes for those on low incomes
3. Subsidise shared ownership homes for first-time buyers
4. Lobby the government to increase taxes on the most valuable homes
5. Increase the number of homes available for part buy/ part rent
6. Require developers to include more genuinely affordable homes in their developments
7. Ensure that when public land is sold off it includes a higher proportion of affordable housing
8. Increase the number of low rent homes for homeless Londoners
Do you support these proposals? Which do you think will be most effective? Why?
Don't increase the number of part buy/part rent homes as it props up a bubble.
9. Affordable is mandated at a multiple of the average salary for the area, rather than as a percentage of market value. e.g. 3.5 time average annual salary.
Then you can require more affordable housing to be built as part of developments.
I agree with encouraging business to move out of London or prioritise remote working is key.
I think there're a number of ways to help with the housing shortage, that aren't just -
Build more houses, though with a growing population that is also a big requirement. Some other things can be done and locally driven others need to be national.
Empty properties: If a property owner in an area where there is a housing shortage is not living in the property, renting it, or actively in the process of trying to rent it, or renovate it, there should be higher council taxes and property taxes. The charges need to be high enough to stop people simply buying and holding empty property.
Rental regulations: landlords should be licensed and properties checked.
Concentrated centres of employment: There are huge numbers of jobs that these days can be done from home. It makes no sense to have lots of people living in a city like London and it's suburbs in order to commute into an office to do work that can be done from a home anywhere in the UK. We have small towns and villages around the country that are dying because in order to work we all have to move to big cities. The national government could create incentives for businesses to move out of London and or stop requiring their employees to show up at a central office. Fast internet access the country and better transport so when you do have to go in it doesn't take all day, would mean people can move further away from the cities.
Don't just build houses: the town I grew up in is in the London commute belt and has doubled in size on the last ten years. There have been no new roads, schools or hospitals. There are also no more trains running into London than there were previously, the result is that if people can afford it they move closer into London to make the godawful commute shorter.
The problem exists because we have built an economy on a property bubble. This has been taken advantage of by the baby boomer generation to the point that millennials have half the net worth at the same age. https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/21/why-wealth-is-the-ene...
Due to this the idea of property prices returning to their actual value is so abhorrent to a certain generation we have invented ways to keep prices artificially high. These include, Help to Buy, Part Buy / Part Rent, and the removal of Stamp Duty for properties under £300,000. These are all policies that do not actually help first time buyers, but instead keep the market at an inflated rate.
Prices in markets may go up as well as down was the old adage, we no longer have a market but a developer lead racquet.
Why cant we use 'kit houses'. There are lots of good quality ones which can be quickly constructed. These can be laid down anywhere without much trouble, all that would be needed would be access to amenities ie water, electricity, sewerage, gas
Can I also suggest that the Mayor London's office consult organisations that specialise in innovation and collaboration in urban design such as http://futurecities.catapult.org.uk/ or one of our world class universities.
For-profit developers are the problem - they waste precious space on flats for people who can afford higher priced homes (of which there is less need) and also on people who don't even live in those homes or who don't even live in London. It is not in their interest to help people on modest salaries who need homes and communities.
Why can't we make it so that only non-profit housing associations are allowed to build in London over the next few years - building much needed cheap and innovative housing solutions. We could call upon the world class architects and urbanists that work in London and want to fix this crisis through design.
If you put the challenge out there the people with expertise will start proposing more of the kinds of solutions we need.
Affordability of housing and affordable housing are two entirely different topics. Affordability of housing is caused by supply and demand. Since the between the wars building era we have failed to build the homes that an expanding nation requires. In the 1930's we would not think twice about building on green fields or farms if there were buyers wanting their own homes. For social rented homes councils built cheaply on local authority land or used compulsory purchase to do so, these were created for people unable to afford to buy their own homes.
After WWII it took until the baby boom to start needing significant numbers of homes again. This lead to the creation of tower blocks as being the answer which created a quick fix solution for homelessness. They were never the best places to live but at least they were somewhere to call home. Over the following 30 to 40 years building homes was met with much opposition from those that had already established themselves in London and the suburbs and did not want more people to join them. Step up the guardians of the green belt and CPRE who would have you believe that there is not a single scrap of land to left build any more homes. Constant lobbying and not in my back yard (nimby) attitudes meant that the development of new homes was something of distain and that house builders were some how parasitic creatures threatening to destroy communities. In the 1930's a house builder would stand proud of his achievements but sadly not today.
the price is higher than NUAA..
Affordability. This is a word that’s meant to be comforting & those in power say it with compassion that affordable housing is going to be built.
I find that word scary & completely out of context with reality without being properly defined.
No one is saying what or how much for affordable is.
No one is defining.
How about we work it backwards.
How much does a nurse or a teacher get paid ?
How much is a uni leavers first wage ?
Is that person single or with a partner ?
Are they divorced ? Without kids, with kids ?
Lots of stats out there saying how much people get paid per type of work.
Entry level nurse = £18k, Middle £23k, Experianced. £33k
Police - No qualification entry £19k, Constable £23k, After 7yrs. £38k
Graduate entry £19-22k, Then depends on skills, type of job etc.
It’s much more complicated to get a mortgage now & an affordability check is used now rather than just based on 5x income, but for the sake of simplicity.
Homes should be built to those finance scales in order to qualify as affordable.
Use new designs, modular, pocket, new technology, factory builds, new materials. A new way.
Entry in to work averages at £19K for the above trades. Multiply by 5 = £95k
Build micro flats, that are now calculated as affordable.
Few years later, still single ? Stay in microflat & save or upgrade to a pocket home costing £115k ( 5x £23k ). Not single, then 2 people’s income £46k ( x5 = £230k pocket home.
This is my opinion of how housing needs to be calculated to get people on the housing ladder & to give people homes AND a life.
We all know property prices have got way out of control. Affordability needs to be attainable !! It is not at the moment.
The sale of these homes needs to be strictly controlled so it is 1st time Buyers getting on the property ladder & not let out for profit.
It should be the government that pays for constructors profit margins & encourage building.
Greedy property developers are making new housing expensive and unaffordable for normal Londoners on average salaries. Why can't we make it illegal for for-profit developers to operate in London at least when it comes down to residential builds?
Why can't we grow a culture that favours housing associations that put normal people's housing needs first?
People will argue that this will make the city look boring but these property developers make the city look boring anyway and hike up the prices to line their own pockets.
Why do we need to rely on these greedy companies when it is possible to construct buildings where everyone involved gets fair pay and normal Londoners can buy them - the entire industry needs harsh regulation - there is no shortage in London of construction workers, architects and engineers. We don't need the middle men.
Supply and Demand are forces beyond the mayors control, but simply concentrating on more supply will be a never ending task that can never achieve affordability in the long term
This will continue until every piece of land capable of being built on is covered with flats, when that is done the low rise ones will be replaced with high-rise
When new housing is built, no further investment is made in amenities, there are very rarely more tube stations, fever libraries GPs or hospitals, and longer queues
When there was not enough water, Thames water built a desalination plant which draws water from the Thames to Supply North East London. There must be an environmental impact building and operating this facility.
The more housing there is the more people there will be. Cars are blamed for pollution. People drive cars. More people, more cars, more pollution, less quality of life. There is affordable housing, an abundance of water and less stretched public services in other parts of the UK.
The Mayors proposed licensing of landlords will add bureaucracy and cost that will ultimately only favour letting agents. Any costs the Mayor imposes will likely be matched by agents who will charge landlords, and use it as a reason to increase rentals again. This is a potential 'own goal' by the Mayor in terms of outcome but if the agenda is about gaining power and control perhaps that is a price the Mayor feels renters have to pay
Some of you have mentioned there is not enough housing.
What would help with this? Who is responsible for building more homes?
the councils and mayor office are responsible,
you need to stop the sale of land for peanuts to developers who then only build a small proportion of lower cost (yet still unaffordable) properties. council land sold to developers should be a minimum of 80% genuinely affordable homes not the current premise of affordable
Genuine question - Why is council tax linked to house value? I rent a room for very high rent (obviously) in a Georgian terrace in Hackney. It's worth a lot of money and falls into the highest council tax band. But this doesn't reflect the reality of the four of us who live there. I earn way less than the average UK salary and don't really get why I pay such high council tax when I don't use more services than the next person and I don't benefit from the high property value. I don't think the old system reflects the reality of the current market - with loads of low paid workers living in houses and paying the mortgage for their landlords on houses that were originally home to one family.
As for general affordability, council housing should never have been sold off. It's still happening isn't it? Despite all the evidence of a growing crisis. Nobody is building truly affordable housing. My partner and I both work full time, over 45 hours a week, in professional jobs. Can't afford a place in London even if we went in with his sister too. Tiny flats starting at £450k aren't affordable. Can't save for a deposit anyway because I spend about 70% of my salary on rent/bills, most of the rest goes on food.
The property developers are getting away with murder. Allowed to buy their way out of social housing obligations and consistently falling short of the targets.
As a country we would benefit from a 2nd and 3rd city that competes with London culturally. This is happening slowly but maybe if schemes were in place to incentivise young entrepreneurs and creatives to start up in a different city, Manchester, Birmingham etc. then things would speed up. More investment in these places and we should definitely move the seat of government outside of London too. Loads of jobs would go with it, it would be fairer for the country and more representative, and the Houses of Parliament are crumbling anyway, with huge repair bill, so now is the perfect time to do it.
A quarter of all properties in London or almost 800K, represents social housing thus already affordable. There is also financial support (Housing benefit) to help people meet the cost of their private rent (£260 per week for 1 bed).
Almost half of the social houses are occupied by 1 resident and a quarter of them have 2 residents (70% in total). Less than 800K persons from a population of 9M in London occupy two thirds of all social houses. Of these 60% are economically inactive (300 – 400K) and the remainder are retired, full-time carers, long-term sick or disabled. Relatively few social houses are actually occupied by families with children.
As part of the wider discussion I would like to understand the criteria of awarding 200 – 250K social houses to a population of 300 – 400K who are economically inactive without being retired or having a health issue. To put things into context, there are less than 7K new affordable homes being built in London per year.
Personally I do not think that the existing stock is used efficiently at all and new builds will not solve a deeper problem if anything it will exacerbate it.
No doubt the developers themselves contribute to the unaffordability by using loopholes that allow them to claim that a required proportion of "affordable" housing would make some projects commercially "unviable". This is greedy, cynical and self-perpetuating and should not be allowed.
i agree - also i think its a total conflict of interest for developers to be funding the mayoral candidates