Will The General Election Solve The UK Housing Crisis?

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Different parties are proposing different benefits of voting for them – from joining the EU market again to solving the UK housing market crisis. And the sad thing for us is, all we have to rely on is the government, and if you look at how poorly they’ve done in the last…lifetime, then you’ll know that we potentially don’t have much to rely on. 

Still, it’s an interesting concept. Will we finally have the housing we need at affordable prices? Read on to find out. 

What’s Causing the Housing Crisis?

The UK housing crisis is caused by several factors – the most prominent being that there aren’t enough houses. It’s as simple as that. 

Since 1945, Britain has built 4.3 million fewer homes than it should have – this figure is bigger than the entire housing stock of any other country in Europe. That should answer the question of the housing market crisis. 

To put it another way, we need to construct a city the size of London every year for 30 years to make up the shortfall. To make matters worse, our planning system, which is discretionary and case-by-case, is slower and more uncertain than rules-based zoning systems used elsewhere. 

There are also particular problems with land use. The Green Belt policy prevents urban sprawl and stops us from building on any of that land. It can be a barrier to development in areas where demand is high. 

Labour has called for a strategic review of the Green Belt, which could free up space for new towns and affordable homes, though this would be highly controversial. 

Making Housing More Affordable

Making homes cheaper is more than just building lots. We also have to streamline the system so that they get put up quicker and easier. 

One idea would be to make construction better: for example, you could rent better equipment from websites like modularcubed.co.uk at a much lower cost, which would speed things along no end. There should also be a focus on using modern tools; new software can design buildings in minutes, not months, while 3D printers are already making houses for the homeless in places such as Mexico City. Can we take a leaf out of their book? 

Housing Demand

One frequent issue in discussions about this topic concerns housing demand because of the number of people living in the country – some say they’re too high. 

Nigel Farage claims we must bring net migration down because otherwise, demand for housing will continue to outstrip supply. He’s not alone. 

The government keeps setting house building targets, which turn out not to be enough, according to research. For example, one study found that last year’s aim of 300,000 houses was based on an estimated net immigration rate of 170 per hundred, but it was almost twice that. 

The predictions governments are making must be higher. 

It seems there might be hope yet: housing has been made a top priority by every party leader ahead of next month’s general election. It won’t be easy, but there’s no choice – everybody needs somewhere safe to live with a roof over their heads at a reasonable price, so let’s get on with it now! 

 

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