Selling Vacant Social Housing could Raise Money for New Properties.

by Mark Johnston

Selling Vacant Social Housing could Raise Money for New Properties.

It has been suggested in new research that around 240,000 new homes are required each year to keep pace with demand.

More than one million people under 30 will be locked out of home ownership and forced to rent by the end of the decade, a study has warned.

As the number of households steadily grows, so the shortage of properties needed to house them is brought sharply in to focus.

Demographic change is set by life expectancy, fertility rates and levels of migration. Therefore the latest household projections show that by 2033Englandwill see an increase of 232,000 households a year.

Without urgent action to improve the rental market and build more properties, up to 400,000 risked being “excluded completely,” mainly less well off families, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warn.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation programme manager Kathleen Kelly said: “We need to avoid turning a housing crisis into a homelessness disaster.”

On 21 November last year, the government published its Housing Strategy for England. This was entitled ‘Laying the foundations’, the strategy set out a series of measures which aimed at tackling the country’s housing crisis. There can be no denying that, as a country, we need to build more houses.

The problem is that after umpteen reports by a string of eminent people we seem to be no nearer to increasing the supply of affordable (in the broadest sense of the word) homes for ordinary citizens.

The National Housing Federation (NHF), the homelessness charity Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing called on the Government to do more after finding it to be failing on five out of 10 key issues.

Housing minister Grant Shapps said housing plans were taking centre stage in the economic recovery. But he added: ”I am under no illusions that we still have a long way to go.”.

The current economic and financial climate makes the immediate challenge of housing all the more vital.

A recent report by Alex Morton, head of housing, planning and urban policy, has claimed that selling off the most expensive social housing could raise £4.5 billion which could potentially be spent on building around 80,000 to 170,000 new social homes, whilst also creating around 160,000 to 340,000 jobs a year in the construction industry.

There are currently approximately 816,000 social housing homes which have a total value of £159 billion, £71.9 billion of which is in London.
Figures have shown that 3.5 per cent of these homes become vacant every year, which when sold off after debts have been paid would raise £4.5billion.

Selling expensive social housing as it becomes vacant could create the largest social house building programme since the 1970s.

The current government, it states is committed to increased housing delivery and has announced a wide range of policy changes aimed at removing the blockages to development. However, only the passage of time will tell how successful these measures will prove to be.



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