The housing market. It is not looking great, the rich keeping buying and those attempting to get onto the property ladder continue to find it difficult to do so. The Conservatives are seemingly trying to create a host of schemes to help, but do they cut it and what can we expect to see going forward?
Developing more social housing options makes sense but rather than accept that councils or housing associations, is a necessary investment that prevents far more costly homelessness, the government has focused on private homeownership that really only helps those already financially comfortable. In many parts of the country, affordable homes to rent or buy are unavailable. The housing market that profits is barely regulated and continues to reap the rewards of the wholesale flogging of council housing.
The bedroom tax is ridiculous and prior to Christmas, the government produced a report on the impact of the penalty. With 75% of people reportedly cutting back on food and heating their home
In the areas where social housing tenants are most likely to have extra bedrooms, there simply aren’t many small homes – but lots of family homes. With lower house prices, there’s no motivation to build properties to downsize into. Consequently, households either starve and stay, or move into the more expensive private rental market – costing the government more in housing benefit!
With horror stories about landlords leaving mould, damp and pest infestations Landlords have been able to get away with this as there are so few penalties for bad landlords, what you might not know is that the reduction in legal aid and council budgets has weakened environmental health laws. People in rented properties would clearly have more to be happy about if conditions were better and policed.
Keeping things in perspective selling off government housing at a discounted price and excessive pricing on new-build properties help people take a step onto the property ladder BUT hurts more people than it helps. There are better uses of government money than supporting homeownership when the market is so over-valued: building social housing pays for itself in the long term, helping people turn these properties for a profit does not.
We need to be aware of the long term effects of our housing market being the way it is.