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Housing

Five times more affordable homes needed each year, claims charity

The government needs to build 600 low-cost rented homes every week, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, or risk a shortfall of 335,000 homes by the end of parliament

Social housing

The lack of affordable housing being created, combined with an on-going cost of living crisis, is leaving more and more people priced out of the housing market.

And now new analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation [JRF] – an independent charity that funds research into social policy – suggests that the delivery of affordable housing is currently 30,000 per year less than is required.

The deficit caused by the undersupply has already reached 180,000 and will lead to a see shortfall of more around 335,000 homes by the end of Parliament in 2022 if current trends continue.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation housing shortfall
JRF-housing-shortfall-drop-in
The affordable housing supply shortfall is expected to hit 335,000 by the end of parliament Credit: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

In other words, 600 more affordable homes are required each week – a rate higher than the 100 low-cost rented homes-a-week pledged by the government. With council capacity only covering around an additional 15,000 properties, housing associations will be expected to pick up the slack to manage a further additional 15,000 every year.

JRF are calling on the government to focus on the supply of low-cost rented homes in its forthcoming Social Housing Green Paper. It is hoped that this will reduce upward pressure on rent prices, quell the rising number of people living in poverty and save the government billions on the Housing Benefit bill.

Private rents are unaffordable for low earners in over half (53 per cent) of England with 171 out of 323 local authorities across the country. The analysis also claims that even the cheapest rents are unaffordable for residents in the bottom 25 per cent of local earnings with rent costing more than a third of wages.

The most unaffordable rents can be found on parliament’s doorstep in Westminster, making up 79 per cent of pay packets where nearby Chelsea and Kensington – where the Grenfell Tower disaster took place – sitting at 77 per cent.

The rates sit at 40 per cent or more for much of the south, encompassing constituents in some of the country’s most marginal parliamentary seats, as well as in areas represented by government ministers and shadow cabinet.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of JRF, said: “The Prime Minister has recognised that the housing market is broken and it’s welcome that the government wants to get the country building the homes we desperately need. But this must include homes that people on low incomes can afford. The government’s existing plans risk falling far short of the numbers of affordable homes required to ease the strain on families facing eye-watering private rents.

“Voters across all wage brackets want to see action on housing and it is simply not right that so many people in our country are locked out of the opportunity to build a decent and secure life because of crippling housing costs.

“The forthcoming social housing green paper must commit to increasing the supply of low-cost rented homes. The government can start by building 78,000 genuinely affordable homes a year. By fixing our broken housing market, we can help release people from the grip of poverty.”

An MHCLG spokesman said: “We have delivered over 257,000 affordable properties to rent since 2010 and have unveiled plans to cap tenancy deposits and ban letting fees to tenants.

“We are also investing £9bn in affordable homes to increase the number of properties which will also keep prices down for renters.”

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