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Tenubracon

Damaging Social Effects Of Unaffordable Housing

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In today's Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/15/housing-supply-family-job-social-cost

"The north-south divide can be summed up, broadly speaking, like this: in the north there are homes, and in the south there are jobs. The economic and physical infrastructures of Britain don't match, in large part because successive governments have encouraged private property ownership over, well, pretty much everything else, as a source of individual wealth and security.

At a personal level this can lead to grimly limited choices. Say you have the offer of a house, and the offer of a job, but the house is 250 miles away from the job, and neither is close to your family and friends. Desperate to do the right thing, you take the house and commute to the job, kipping over on air beds and seeing your family at the weekends. Your family and community commitments suffer, however, because your spare time is spent travelling and you don't spend all your time in one place.

The housing minister and the Department for Work and Pensions together assume that a mere nudge in the right direction – such as capping housing benefit – will lead us to sort out the clash of housing costs and structural unemployment for ourselves. Southerners will commute north to live but not work, and northerners will commute south to work but not live.

Christine Whitehead, of Cambridge University's centre for housing and planning research, believes "a significant part of this government does not believe in the concept of housing need". Instead it bases its concept of social housing provision, in particular, on whether there are enough rooms in individual houses to accommodate the whole of the population, which there are. It only has to get overcrowded households to swap with underoccupied ones.

Last week the National Housing Federation's David Orr put it this way: "The government says people will move, but if you live in Lewisham, where your friends and family are, why are you going to move to Burnley, where there are houses but no one you know?" He stressed that the coalition won't even think about new social housing before it has tried shifting families around the existing stock so that no household contains a spare room.

Growing up in multiple-family housing was a common experience before a concerted push in house-building in the 1960s. By the end of the 70s, there was a housing surplus – itself as disastrous as the shortage of housing is now. The surplus created the phenomenon of hard-to-let estates, often on the edges of cities, where public transport was poor and jobs harder to get to.

Housing supply has been directed and managed by national government since the war. The coalition's localism bill has removed all national and regional housing targets, supposedly to "free" communities to propose their own developments and to encourage local authorities and other agencies to bring empty homes back into use. At the same time, housing associations will be expected to use rental revenue, not government grants, to fund new house building.

The government estimates that 155,000 "affordable" new homes can be built over the next four years using the increase in revenue that social landlords will receive by setting rents at 80% of local market value. That's all well and good in Liverpool, where you can rent a two-bedroom house for £450 a month, or roughly half of gross earnings if you're a sole wage-earner with a full-time job at the national minimum wage. In London, where a two-bedroom flat costs £1,200 per month, a "social rent" of £960 forms three-quarters of full-time earnings even if you're on the London "living wage" of £7.85 an hour.

The coalition's view is that government has no role beyond (minimal) tax collection. It doesn't see why someone shouldn't move from Lewisham to Burnley, if there happens to be a suitable dwelling there, because once they're safely ensconced in a house – which, in all likelihood, will be empty because the previous occupants did as they were advised and moved away to find work – they'll miraculously start their own small enterprise which regenerates their local area and makes them a decent living.

However, areas that have struggled to attract private sector investment, and are about to lose the safety net of public sector employment, are hardly in a position to encourage new businesses by forking out for their products. Homes and jobs need to be matched with each other for areas to thrive. As the geographer Danny Dorling points out: "Solving housing shortages within areas in the UK is not simply a matter of converting larger houses to flats and somehow "redistributing' rooms".

The Cabinet Office minister, Oliver Letwin, is conducting a review of housing policy with the aim of finding out why more homes aren't being built. He'll need to start by acknowledging that no one in his government actually wants there to be any more housing than is absolutely necessary. Scarce resources make people work harder."

Apart from the appeal for public sector funding, not a bad article. Why are the MSM only now catching up with the idea that expensive housing is bad for society? Articles like this should have been appearing in the Guardian years ago, but I guess the writers were too busy deciding how to spend the windfall from their house - "It's worth 750k now, and we only paid 150k for it don't you know..."

Edited by Tenubracon

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All around the world people are moving one by one to vast metro areas. Even many mid-size cities seem to be losing people to the mega centers. And of course young adults and immigrants are heading to the mega centers.

What most countries do works quite well.. they simply allow developers to build more housing units in said mega centers. As the land price rises and people don't want to commute so far, the developers build upwards. Clusters of really amazing condo buildings with a full suite of amenities. From those condo clusters the city gets the density to support things that are not possible in a spread out metro. Like world class subway systems.

Cities are even moving to allowing Condo tower to be built right in business districts so people can simply walk to work.

Forcing people to stay with one or two story dwellings makes no sense for London which the greater area has over 12 million people.

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Christine Whitehead, of Cambridge University's centre for housing and planning research, believes "a significant part of this government does not believe in the concept of housing need". Instead it bases its concept of social housing provision, in particular, on whether there are enough rooms in individual houses to accommodate the whole of the population, which there are. It only has to get overcrowded households to swap with underoccupied ones.

aka an efficient market, something which statists are so terribly frightened of because it puts them out of a job

Last week the National Housing Federation's David Orr put it this way: "The government says people will move, but if you live in Lewisham, where your friends and family are, why are you going to move to Burnley, where there are houses but no one you know?" He stressed that the coalition won't even think about new social housing before it has tried shifting families around the existing stock so that no household contains a spare room.

what sh*te

you would move for the work, same as it has been for 1000 years. utter c0ck.

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In today's Guardian:

...By the end of the 70s, there was a housing surplus – itself as disastrous as the shortage of housing is now.

********. Disastrous for whom?

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"Christine Whitehead, of Cambridge University's centre for housing and planning research, believes "a significant part of this government does not believe in the concept of housing need".

And I suppose Cambridge University does? Probably one of the biggest buyers of land and property in the Cambridge area.

What about the damaging social effects of buying housing stock and renting it to rich foreigners under the guise of student accommodation? I don't suppose that matters though? Right, Christine? Right?

Sorry, bad day. :P

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"Christine Whitehead, of Cambridge University's centre for housing and planning research, believes "a significant part of this government does not believe in the concept of housing need".

And I suppose Cambridge University does? Probably one of the biggest buyers of land and property in the Cambridge area.

Good point. Cambridge has one of the worst housing stocks in the country. The unversities lobbying to keep any development away from Cambridge and forcing it to commuter towns like Huntingdon, Ely, St neots, Newmarket, Haverhill, Royston etc is almost wholly responsible for the traffic chaos there too. The university want the business, but wont allow any of the infrastructure to cope with it, forcing that onto surrounding areas.

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I must be the exception to the rule then as I'm looking to move from my current location to an area of England (undecided where yet I need to do a road trip) where houses are more affordable!

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  • 276 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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