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REPORT: 17.5 Million People Impacted by the UK Housing Crisis

A shocking report has laid bare the extent of the UK’s housing crisis, revealing that a staggering 17.5 million people (1 in 3 adults) are impacted by the UK’s housing crisis, with 3.66 million people in England alone living in overcrowded accommodation.

Jointly commissioned by the global project management firm RPS Group and the Land Promoters and Developers Federation (LPDF), the report highlights what life is like for many of those unable to get on the property ladder. Delving deeper beyond the phrase, ‘housing crisis’, the damning report exposes what the term actually means for the lives and mental health of millions of people across the country.

It’s been well reported that house prices are on the rise across the UK, yet behind the headline-grabbing figures lies the uncomfortable truth that for many, getting on the property ladder is now harder than ever before.

With house prices (on average) now exceeding the quarter of a million pounds mark, the report finds that a person saving £311 per month would take ten years to afford a 15% deposit. Conversely, in the same ten year period, the average house price in England has gone up by £69,000 (38%).

Last year meanwhile, the average cost of buying a home was 7.84 times the cost of the average income of £30,800. However, back in 1997, the average cost of buying a home was a mere 3.54 times of the then average salary of £16,500.

Source: LPDF – The Housing Emergency Report

When you combine the effects of the figures above, the fact that the government are woefully short of their 300,000 new home target, and the chronic lack of housing in the UK it’s no wonder why many would-be first-time buyers are stuck in a cycle of renting.

The feeling of helplessness at being unable to get on the property ladder is made worse when you consider that the cost of renting has (on average) gone up by 46% in just over a decade, while the average income has only gone up by 21.6%.

On these points, RPS Planning Director Cameron Austin-Fell said: “In drawing together key information on the state of the housing market, we can see quite clearly the scale of challenge ahead, a challenge which affects real families and those held back from the first rung of the housing ladder.

“RPS recognises the key role the LPDF plays in bringing these issues to the fore. This report will add to a growing library of information published by the LPDF, to continue the debate, and give those with the power for change the information they need to tackle the emergency head on.”

Looking briefly at London, it’s important to understand that while rents have fallen in the capital during the pandemic, this occurs amid a rise in home working and the subsequent departure of workers to bigger properties outside of London.

As shown above, the cost of privately renting in the capital is still prohibitively expensive to all but the highest earners. According to a recent study, as much as 69% of a persons pre-tax salary goes on rent for a one-bed apartment in some of the most expensive areas of the capital.

Beyond financial concerns, the eye-opening report also shines a light on the fact that in total, 17.5 million people (that’s 1 in 3 adults) are impacted by the housing emergency in some way, either living in overcrowded, dangerous, unstable and unaffordable housing.

LPDF Chairman Paul Brocklehurst said: “Sometimes in the debate around how many houses we need to build in this country, and where, we lose sight of the impacts of our collective failure over many decades to build enough homes. This report summarises those impacts. They are stark.”a

Reportedly, 1 in 5 adults across the country state that housing issues negatively impact their mental health and wellbeing.

Source: LPDF – The Housing Emergency Report

Highlighting these concerns, Paul concludes: “The consequences manifest themselves in health, social and labour mobility outcomes and therefore on the wider economy. Let us be in no doubt there is a crisis.

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