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Housing Shortage

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UK Housing Shortage
Houses Needed
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News Article One

England running out of new homes

Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 19:05 GMT, BBC News.

UK Housing Shortage

England will face a huge housing shortage in 20 years, according to a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The study by the research charity suggests that the supply of houses is falling behind demand even faster than was previously thought.

And the Duke of Edinburgh has entered the housing debate by suggesting a new housing allowance for key workers in south-east England. He said it was the most "flexible and responsive" way to make housing affordable, but the government has already rejected the idea.

The foundation's findings were presented to a conference on Tuesday along with a call for more low cost housing. The report warns that the impending property shortage will hit London and the South East hardest, while in the North and Midlands there is the converse problem of low demand, leaving empty and abandoned properties.

Knock-on effects

The group said there was demand for around 210,000 new properties a year in England, but just 154,000 new homes had been built each year during the past five years. Unless more homes are built, it would lead to a shortage of 1.1m homes in 20 years, it warns.

The knock-on effects could be an increase in homelessness and employees in the public services, such as teaching and nursing, unable to afford to buy their own homes.

Prince Philip told the conference these key workers needed "a system for supporting the occupant rather than the house". The duke said: "[It] would also be able to cope with the opposite situation where someone in their own or in rented accommodation loses all or a significant proportion of their income.

Social issues

"From this point of view it would seem supporting the occupant is a more flexible and responsive method of providing affordable housing."

Lord Best, director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: "In our view, housing shortages are set to become one of the most significant social issues of the next 20 years. Unless we act now, shortages will lead to overcrowding and homelessness."

"But they will also have knock-on effects for the whole of society, driving up house prices in areas in high demand, inhibiting economic growth and making it harder for good quality public services to be delivered."

Houses Needed

The report findings, which are being presented at the foundation's Centenary Housing Conference in London, come as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported that property shortages were driving house prices up.

The foundation said the bulk of new homes could be built on recycled brownfield sites.



News Article Two

Housing demand: the issue explained

Matt Weaver,, Friday 27 May 2005

With the acute homes shortage in the south causing rising homelessness and a surplus in the north blighting communities the government has devised programmes to try and solve the crisis. But whether they will work is far from certain. Matt Weaver explains

Building Site

If demand for housing was evenly spread across the country, there wouldn't be a problem. But with a surplus of homes in the north and acute shortages in the south, demand is extremely uneven. This mismatch in supply and demand is the source of one of the most intractable issues currently facing policy makers.

It also has some extreme consequences.

The scarcity of affordable homes in the prosperous south has resulted in rising homelessness. The number of people forced to live in temporary housing has rocketed to 100,000. For the first time since records began severe overcrowding of homes is on the increase. At the same time soaring house prices have prompted families to camp for weeks outside discounted former Ministry of Defence homes to secure a bargain.

Meanwhile in the north and the midlands the collapse of manufacturing and heavy industry has left an over supply of homes. In popular areas of the north house prices are rising as fast as in the south, but over all the government estimates that there are more than one million homes in the region judged to be in "low demand".

At best these homes are difficult-to-let for landlords, and the high turnover of occupants creates unstable areas. At worst homes have been empty for years blighting large areas. In some cities whole streets have been abandoned and property can be bought for next to nothing. In a handful of cases brand new publicly-funded housing has had to be demolished because no one wanted to live in it.

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