Posts with tag: London housing crisis

Harry Potter Style Cupboard Under the Stairs to Rent for £500 a Month

Published On: October 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm


Categories: Landlord News

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Cramped spaces set at ridiculously high rents are not uncommon in London, but it seems the housing shortage is getting worse and worse.

This Harry Potter style cupboard under the stairs has just a mattress crammed into it, but is up for rent at £115 per week, or £500 a month, with bills charged extra.

The cupboard is off the kitchen in the property in Clapham.

Alex Lomax, 23, went to view the home and subsequently posted photographs on Twitter.

The graduate has been searching for somewhere to live in the capital for a month. She tweeted: “I have literally just been shown a bed under the stairs for £500 a month. F you London!”1

She then linked to an advertisement on the website, which does not have a picture, but reads: “One single furnished room available.

“We are looking for a friendly, open-minded and outgoing person to join our house share in a great period house in Clapham.

“We’re a good bunch and like to chill out a lot together – not really looking for somebody that just wants to stay in their room. Room comes with a bed. Bills to be shared – approx. £60 per month each.”2



House Price Gap Between London and Other Cities Widest for 20 Years

Published On: September 25, 2015 at 2:52 pm


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,,

The average house price paid for a home in London has reached a record high of 12 times earnings, and the gap between prices in the capital and other big cities in the UK is at its widest for 20 years, reveals an industry report.

Although recent research indicates a slowdown in the prime London property market, the monthly study by Hometrack shows that the difference in average prices between the capital and other large cities has continued to widen. The report states that the growing gap “highlights a seemingly overvalued London market”1.

Hometrack compiled its report using Land Registry data and statistics from mortgage valuations. It reveals that in Liverpool and Glasgow, homes are around 75% cheaper than in London.

House Price Gap Between London and Other Cities Widest for 20 Years

House Price Gap Between London and Other Cities Widest for 20 Years

The average price paid in the capital is now £437,700, but is just £107,300 in Glasgow and £109,600 in Liverpool. Even in Bristol, where activity has been high, prices are 47% below those in the capital, despite prices rising 16% above their 2007 peak, to an average of £231,300.

The report also found that half of homebuyers in the first half of the year did not have a property to sell, with the change in purchasers putting upward pressure on prices.

Hometrack’s findings mirror those of other reports that there is a shortage of properties coming onto the market. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), for example, claims that listings have fallen for several months.

Within the UK’s 20 largest cities, Hometrack found that prices have risen by an average of 8.3% since September last year, but vary hugely. In Aberdeen, prices fell by 2% over the past year, to an average of £193,000, as the cheap cost of oil caused job cuts and reduced demand for housing.

However, in Cambridge, prices are up 11.2% on last year, with residents and investors fuelling market activity. The average price in the city is now 43.6% above its pre-recession peak, at £388,600.

In London, prices are now a higher multiple of wages than ever before, while in other big cities, the ratio is currently at its long-term average.

Hometrack suggests that price rises could spread, as investors and developers seek more affordable markets.

Director of Research at Hometrack, Richard Donnell, explains the findings: “A changing mix of buyers is compounding the scarcity of housing for sale with rising numbers of first time buyers and investors buying property while having nothing to sell. Only a recovery in the number of moves among existing homeowners or an increase in new supply will ease the current housing scarcity, which seems unlikely in the near term.

“London’s price earnings ratio is at an all-time high, while there remains value in most other regional cities. The pricing differential [with] London could well assist city regions to attract new investment, as the cost of housing starts to influence decision-making for both households and businesses.”1

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) recently reported a lack of homes being put up for sale.

It states that the number of properties listed by each of its member agents dropped by a third in August, to an 11-year low. Agents had an average of 38 homes on their books last month, down from 55 in July.

Additionally, the amount of prospective buyers fell from 462 to 408 per branch.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of the NAEA, says: “There are now 11 house hunters fighting after every available house, which isn’t sustainable.

“First time buyers are finding themselves being squeezed out of the competition, which of course means it’s taking young buyers longer to get their foot on the first step of the ladder, which will in turn increase pressure on the rental market.”1 



Newspaper Readers Offer Opinions on London Graduate Housing Crisis

Recently, we reported that the high cost of housing in London is cutting many graduates from disadvantaged areas off from the best jobs. Now, newspaper readers have given their thoughts on the matter, and whether new student-style accommodation should be introduced in the capital.

Read our story here: /high-london-house-prices-are-cutting-graduates-off-from-best-jobs/

One reader, Adam from Nottinghamshire, calls the idea “ridiculous”.

He explains his reasoning: “The entire point of going to university and getting a good job is to have a good lifestyle.”

After graduating in 2012, Adam moved to London where he got a job in finance. However, he soon left, as, “despite earning a good salary”, he was “living like a student”.

Newspaper Readers Offer Opinions on London Graduate Housing Crisis

Newspaper Readers Offer Opinions on London Graduate Housing Crisis

He concludes: “Graduates don’t want student accommodation, they want high-quality housing for the next stage of their life.”1

David Craig graduated around two years ago. He currently works in central London, but must commute from nearby Essex, where he lives with his mum.

“I’m really eager to get my own property in London,” he says. “I look at apartment prices every day and I’m confused about how they can be considered affordable.”

Although he earns a good wage, he still can’t move into any of the “so-called affordable flats”1.

Eoin, in Leeds, is a little more blunt: “What’s the point of telling us about the housing situation in London when nobody is going to do a thing about it? We’ve known about this for years. It all feels a bit redundant to me.”1

And Mais, living in the capital, has a different approach: “People should stop complaining and concentrate on working hard.

“Many of us have come from deprived backgrounds but worked hard to buy our expensive homes.”

Mais’s motto? “You work hard, you get rewarded, you buy your house. London will always be expensive but so are many other cities of developed countries. Set your goals and go out to achieve them.”1

But graduate Mike, from Berkshire, is one of those affected by the capital’s house and rent prices.

“I have been in a graduate scheme for just over a year now and I am grateful to be working and living just outside London.

“The rent in the capital has been the biggest deterrent to living in London – the amount of money left after paying rent would not justify living there.”1

Eric Donjon’s daughter and her boyfriend are paying extortionate rent for a one-bedroom flat in Brixton. The apartment – the first that they’ve rented together – costs £1,750 per month.

He offers a solution: “In France, they have the Pinel Law, where a flat in a given zone area has a maximum rental value per square metre. Rents in the UK should be capped.”1

But Paul, from South Tyneside, has a different idea: “We need to start building more high-rise council flats and stop Right to Buy.”1

Chris Walters, in Oxford, addresses another affordability problem. He says that rail companies are stopping people commuting to the capital. He believes if the Government stops firms setting high fares, students could live in cheaper areas and travel into central London.

“I drive 80 miles a day into London and the combined cost of petrol, the congestion charge and parking is still cheaper than the rail fare,”1 he explains.

1 Various (2015) ‘We don’t need your student digs, thanks’, Metro, September 18, p.20

Portable Homes Popular at London Design Festival

A celebration of creativity in the design industry, the London Design Festival is currently focusing on the crisis affecting the capital – housing. Innovative designers are presenting ways to tackle the shortage of affordable homes.

Space and costs are the issues affecting many Londoners today, making portable new homes popular at the festival.

The Decorex trade interiors exhibition, from 20th-23rd September, will host the launch of Bert & May’s first box house at Syon Park, West London.

The Bigger Box, part of the interior design firm’s prefabricated home range, is factory-built within 14 weeks and assembled on site in just a day. All buyers need to do is find the land or a flat roof.

Co-founder of Bert & May, Lee Thornley, explains: “We wanted to recognise that space itself is a big thing. And prefab has had the association of being cheap and lacking in design.

“The boxes were born out of a desire to provide really amazing prefabricated living spaces.”1 

The 540 square foot home will be displayed at the entrance to Decorex, where the public date is Tuesday 22nd September. Interested buyers can contact Bert & May for tickets and book a private tour of the home, which has two bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen/living area and a bathroom.

The box house on show will be auctioned at the event by sealed bid with a strong reserve price. The new owner can expect delivery within a week. Visit the company’s website for more information:

In Bloomsbury, two recycled shipping containers have been converted into an energy-efficient smart home installation, providing around 310 square foot of living space and costing about £25,000 to build.

Named A New House for London, it has been fitted with voice activation systems and automated lighting. It will be displayed on Store Street, WC1, from 21st-27th September.

The interactive prototype is perfect for daring Londoners who wish to build their own homes for a much smaller price, now that planning rules are being relaxed and building on brownfield sites is supported.

The property was designed and backed by planning and engineering firm Arup, Carl Turner Architects and The Building Centre. Brazilian mining and tech business CBMM has also supported the project. Find out more here:

London Council Becomes Private Landlord

A London council is taking matters into its own hands in tackling the capital’s housing shortage, by buying a block of flats that it will rent out to private tenants at below market rates.

It is thought to be the first initiative of its kind in the country, brought by the East London council of Barking and Dagenham. The council bought 100% of a private development from construction firm Bouygues and will put 144 new homes onto the market for renters in October.

The development includes social housing, but local councillors decided to try and address the wider housing shortage, which has been described as the worst in 30 years.

Prospective tenants earning under £66,000 per year are eligible for a one or two-bedroom property, while those seeking a three or four-bed home must earn less than £80,000.

A council spokesperson says: “It is an innovative way of trying to do something for generation rent.”

London Council Becomes Private Landlord

London Council Becomes Private Landlord

They deny any social cleansing or attempts to attract more middle class renters to the borough, which is mostly occupied by council tenants.

The spokesperson explains: “It is about aspirational workers, it is certainly not gentrification. It’s about young professionals who need a decent home but can’t afford the market rents which have rocketed in London.”1

Already, 1,000 people have shown interest in the 144 homes, reports Hakeem Osinaike, the Divisional Director of Housing Management at the council.

Barking and Dagenham council members hope that other London councils follow suit.

Previously, councils have tried to tackle the housing shortage by paying private landlords to take council tenants, but this is the first instance where a council has become a private landlord itself.

The purchase of the Abbey Road block cost the council £45m, which was funded through a £130m credit facility, secured from the European Investment Bank at below market interest rates.

It has formed an independent company, Barking and Dagenham Reside, which will market and manage the flats on the council’s behalf.

The properties will be rented out at 80% of the market rent, still making a profit for the council, which will go back into more housing.

Two-bed flats will be priced at £940 per month, almost half of the cost in neighbouring boroughs, such as Hackney, where the median rent for a two-bed property is £1,700.

Divisional Director of Regeneration at Barking and Dagenham council, Jeremy Grind, says: “This isn’t just about housing key workers, such as teachers and nurses, it’s about housing the baristas, waiters and waitresses – people who can’t afford to get on the housing ladder or get access to a council home.”1

Councillor Saima Ashraf adds: “It’s a win-win for our council, taxpayers, residents and generation rent.”1 

The council hopes to add 1,000 flats to its private rental scheme over the next three years.

Councillor Cameron Geddes explains the need for the scheme: “We came up with the idea for Barking and Dagenham Reside because we needed to think of a creative way to build new housing in the middle of an economic downturn.”1

The Conservative housing spokesperson on the Greater London Assembly, Andrew Boff, said the scheme is one of the most innovative in the country, regarding council financing and housing.

He said the development is “fantastic” and could be part of a solution to the chronic shortage of housing in Britain.1 


Architects Attempt to Solve London’s Housing Crisis

New London Architecture has shortlisted 100 proposals for solving the housing crisis in London, by providing desperately needed homes in the capital. Here are a few ideas:

Buoyant Starts by Floating Homes and Baca Architects


Through this project, 7,500 fixed-placed affordable, floating starter homes would be developed on underused parts of London’s canal and river system. The designers would expect the pre-fabricated and customisable homes to be completed in six to 12 months.

Floatopolis by drMM

Floatopolis is another idea for using London’s waterways as housing, reclaiming the River Thames to create water neighbourhoods, including housing, lidos, open-air cinemas, workspaces, cafes and schools.

Community Led Intensification by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) 

FCBS’s plan for increased housing is a community-led development that also creates local positivity. Community members would identify development opportunities in the city through an app.

Ministry of Densification of Suburbia (MODS) by Hal Architects

MODS focuses on London’s fringe areas, but aims to keep current communities together. Homeowners would partner with a development firm to build on underused land in each of the city’s outer boroughs.

Living Arteries by Benjamin Marks

In Greater London, over-ground railways take up 1,522 hectares, but Marks believes this space could be used for housing: “If we built over even a quarter of this at 140 homes per hectare, it would be possible to deliver over 53,000 homes on land currently not considered available for use.”1

The Streets by NBBJ 

This team developed the Circle line travelator plan and is now proposing replacing some of London’s roads with rows of new houses. There are 9,000 miles of streets in the capital and changing some of the road networks could create more pedestrian-friendly areas and community spots.

Y:Cube by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

In partnership with the YMCA London South West, this housing solution offers self-contained and affordable starter accommodation for young people who have previously been without a permanent home. Find out more here: /ymca-launches-accommodation-project-for-homeless-people/

Rooftop (Re)Generation by Bell Phillips Architects

In this plan, pre-fab modular housing is added to the flat roofs of post-war housing estates, which the designers claim are forgotten and could be utilised to deliver more homes. The number of properties on existing estates could rise by around 30%, while open space will be left untouched.

[nest] by Stride Treglown

Also through rooftop modular housing, this project would see homes added to existing retail surface car parks with ten-year licenses. Locals would qualify for tenancies via loyalty cards, by spending money in local shops.