Posts with tag: solving the housing crisis

RICS Urges Government to Help Older People Move House

Published On: September 24, 2015 at 11:58 am


Categories: Landlord News

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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has urged the Government to help older people downsize in order to solve Britain’s housing crisis.

Elderly homeowners that have paid off their mortgage but now under-occupy their properties have been in the news recently.

Earlier in the week, it was reported that Lynda Blackwell, Head of Mortgages at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said older homeowners that “sit quite happily in a very big house”1 should be encouraged to downsize.

The FCA responded, saying it is not its policy to make older homeowners move house. Read more here: /fca-says-its-not-policy-to-get-older-people-to-move-home/

RICS Urges Government to Help Older People Move House

RICS Urges Government to Help Older People Move House

Elderly homeowners who do wish to downsize say that they are often prevented from moving because they have left it too late, they cannot face the prospect of moving house, or the cost of retirement housing is too high.

Now, the RICS has joined the discussion, stating that if older people want to move they should receive support from the Government to do so.

In its residential policy review, the RICS urged the Government to help older people who wish to downsize. It says the measure could release £820 billion of property assets, or 2.6m family homes.

It adds that all new build developments should include a compulsory proportion of affordable rental accommodation and that second-homeowners should be encouraged to sell their properties or put them up for long-term tenancies.

Head of Policy at the RICS, Jeremy Blackburn, says: “Britain’s older homeowners are understandably reluctant to move out of much-loved but often under-occupied family homes.

“Clearly it’s an emotive issue and one that needs to be treated with sensitivity, but we would like to see central and local government provide older people with the information and the practical and financial support they need to downsize if that is their choice.”

He suggests: “This might include offering a fund to support with moving costs – Bristol City Council is already piloting a great scheme along these lines – or perhaps a Stamp Duty discount.

“Almost a third of over 55s have considered downsizing in the last five years, yet we know that only 7% actually did. Greater support for those looking to move could release 2.6m family homes.”

He explains the need for more homes: “The most consistent feature of the housing market over the last 18 months has been a distinct shortage of new sales instructions. Average stock levels on surveyors’ books have dropped to lows not seen for at least three decades.

“If we are to get to grips with this country’s housing crisis, we need to look at supply-led measures across Government and the wider industry in order to get the market moving.”1 

In a blog on the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ website, Sue Anderson writes: “The real debate is about how to address the current lack of (perceived) choice for older homeowners who would like to move, but feel they can’t.

“No one, as far as we know, is suggesting that older homeowners should be forced or guilt-tripped into doing anything they don’t want to do.”

Read more of the blog here:

Earlier in the year, Legal & General also published a report on the issue, which can be found here:


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.



YMCA Launches Accommodation Project for Homeless People

“While working out how to support homeless people back into employment, education and accommodation isn’t easy, one thing is certain,” says Denise Hatton. “We need to build more affordable homes.”

Hatton is the CEO and National Secretary of YMCA England, which is launching a new accommodation project for homeless people this week.

For decades, our governments have failed to build enough homes to meet demand. As a result, the cost of homeownership is now out of reach of many young people, including those leaving supported or temporary housing.

The current Government is determined to build 200,000 starter homes by 2020, but housing charity Shelter has found that families on an average income will be unable to afford these homes in 58% of local authorities and families on the new national living wage will be priced out in 98% of the country.

“Building more homes will help solve the housing and rental crises, only if they are affordable to those who need them most,” states Hatton.

Y:Cube is the new scheme from YMCA, launching in Mitcham, South London. The development includes 36 self-contained, one-bedroom flats, each with its own bathroom, living room and kitchen inside a 26 square metre unit.

“They are factory built off-site and installed for just £55,000 each,” explains Hatton.

The YMCA has created the scheme to provide “move-on homes” for young people who are ready to leave its accommodation, but cannot move into private rental sector housing due to high costs or lack of availability.

This is a situation that “we found that more than half of our residents in supported accommodation were facing earlier this year,” says Hatton.

Meanwhile, nine out of ten YMCAs have turned away a young person due to “capacity issues”.

Hatton argues the need for the new project: “For the charity to help as many young people as possible, it was essential we came up with an affordable model of housing for tenants to move into, freeing up YMCA places for other vulnerable young people.”

The weekly rent at the Y:Cube development is set at around £145. This is 65% of market rent in the area and soon, a single room in London will cost the same as renting a Y:Cube flat.

“Building high-quality accommodation at a lower cost and in a short timeframe was key for the development,” Hatton continues. “We are expecting the process from finished construction in the factory to the scheme being fully habitable to be completed in under five months.”

She adds: “These cheap, quick and high-quality homes are being seen as a smart investment and we are working on future projects with several local authorities and housing providers.

“They can be quickly assembled and easily relocated, offering flexibility to local authorities that may have land available for five to ten years or even longer.”

Hatton concludes: “We know Y:Cube alone will not be able to solve the housing crisis, but it will go some way to offering an alternative model of housing and, more importantly, an alternative model of thinking to politicians.

“Traditional approaches to resolving financial problems in the housing sector as well as ending the homelessness crisis have not worked.

“If we want to get serious about this issue, politicians need to start thinking and building outside the box.”1 


Current Stock will Solve the Housing Crisis, Says CML

Published On: September 4, 2015 at 10:40 am


Categories: Landlord News

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The Chief Economist at the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) says that better use of current housing stock is the key to solving the country’s supply crisis.

Bob Pannell states that it is clear that the country needs more new homes.

However, he also believes that for the crisis to come to an end, several issues affecting the use of existing stock must be addressed.

Current Stock will Solve the Housing Crisis, Says CML

Current Stock will Solve the Housing Crisis, Says CML

Pannell argues that even if Government policy helps to create 300,000 new homes in the UK over the next ten years, 90% or more of the housing stock that will exist in 2025 will already be built today and will be lived in.

He insists that it is obvious that demand is being boosted by migration, increasing life expectancy and the rise in the number of single-person households. But he also lists a number of factors that he thinks the Government should address to help solve the crisis:

  • An ageing population that owns a disproportionate amount of housing – which is under-occupied – and is reluctant or unable to move.
  • Rising demand for rental property, as house price growth continues to exceed earnings and first time buyers have no housing equity, unless it is from their parents.
  • Although landlords help to improve the level of rental homes, they often wish to expand their portfolios and thus do not release much property back onto the market.

Pannell says that promoting more activity within the current stock will help: “Helpfully, Government policy often focuses on encouraging new housing construction, and this is essential – although not sufficient – in helping deliver a long-term solution.

“But we should not forget that the vast majority of housing supply in any period comes from those selling existing stock. Promoting more activity across the market as a whole may help to encourage both more efficient use of existing housing and the marketability of new homes.”

He continues: “In particular, the Government should not forget that taxation plays an important role in influencing liquidity in the property market and the efficient use of housing.

“Recent reforms may have improved the structure of Stamp Duty by removing some of its price distorting effects, but it is difficult to disagree with the Institute for Fiscal Studies, that these reforms have transformed Stamp Duty from a very bad tax into merely a bad one.

“It’s tempting to say that we are still recovering from the effects of the credit crunch. And while that’s true, a range of deep-seated and inter-related problems in the housing market is holding back a recovery in transactions.

“They present fundamental and long-term challenges, and will not easily be solved.”

He concludes: “As a result of these factors, we now have a dysfunctional housing market, beset by long-term structural problems that are difficult to address.”1