A report by the National Housing Federation, Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing has highlighted that while there has been a small increase in new builds, the 109,020 completed homes in 2011 is almost 40% below the 2007 peak of 175,560 – and less than half the number the government admits would be required annually to meet demand.
As well as failing to tackle the ever-increasing housing crisis, the coalition are more importantly failing their electorates via rising homelessness, rising rents and increased overcrowding; as a direct consequence.
The report reveals:
- The number of councils’ “acceptances” of homeless households reached 12,830 in the final quarter of 2011 – up 27% from the period during which the government came to power.
- The autumn 2011 total of rough sleeping counts and estimates, from every local authority in England, was 2,181, up by 413 (23%) from the 2010 total of 1,768.56.
- The areas with the highest numbers of rough sleepers were London (446), the South East (430) and
the South West (337). The North East had the lowest number with 32.
- The number of households living in overcrowded conditions continues to rise, from 630,000 in 2009-10 to 655,000 in 2010-11.
- Since January 2009, the number of Housing Benefit claimants has increased by 724,000, or
17%. The most marked rise has occurred in the private rented sector, where claimants increased
by more than 45%, from 1.1m to 1.6m. Independent research published in March 2012 indicated
that in-work households accounted for most of the increase in claimants during 2010 and 2011.
This suggests that the effects of the recession are creating significant affordability problems, and
that even a return to jobs growth may not help reduce the claimant count.
- The total benefit bill across all tenures rose from £424m per week in April 2011 to £432m per week in January 2012. Nevertheless, the rate of increase has slowed considerably since January 2009, when total weekly expenditure was £328m.
- Despite the welcome increase in 2011, overall new build remains significantly lower than the
119,070 units recorded in 2009, the year before the Government took office. The 2011 figure, of
109,020, compares poorly with the 2001-2010 average of 142,000, and apart from 2010 is the
lowest annual total of any year since 1946.
- The number of repossessions have fallen by several hundred to 17,800 in the final half of 2011. This leaves the total number of repossessions in 2011 at 36,200, down from 37,100 in 2010.
- Some 221,000 households were more than three months in arrears in December 2011. This is
fewer than at any time since the end of 2008 – although still twice as many as in 2004. The proportion of mortgages in significant arrears fell to below 2% of total loans at the end of 2011.
As well as failing the families struggling with high rents, the millions who are on waiting lists and the increasing number of people sleeping on the streets – the Landlord Referencing Tenant Alert Running Total for 2012 is also painting a very bleak picture for the private rented sector;
- Rent Default total for January 2012 = £117,242.23
Property Damage total for January 2012 = £152,148.62
Equalling = £269,390.85
- Rent Default total for February 2012 = £91,705.18
Property Damage total for February 2012 = £105,275
Equalling = £196,980.18
- Rent Default total for March 2012 = £81,981.21
Property Damage total for March 2012 = £69,538.33
Equalling = £151,519.54
- Rent Default total for April 2012 = £75,842.57
Property Damage total for April 2012 = £83,975.42
Equalling = £159,817.99
The shortage of new builds can only start to drive house prices up at some point, due to supply and demand – but as highlighted by this report the problem is that people who cannot afford housing will have no choice but to resort to living in substandard housing; echoing the slums of the 70′s … New Government policy will breed rogue landlords.