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Shortfall of 600 rental homes a week, says charity

Words: Laura Edgar
Affordable homes for rent / iStock-613765260

Nearly 600 low-cost rented homes need to be built every week if the ‘broken’ housing market is to be fixed and low-income families are to escape poverty, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

The analysis suggests that the government will deliver fewer than 100 new low-cost rented homes a week.

Unless it “ramps up” the supply of such housing, there will be a shortfall of 355,000 affordable homes by the end of this Parliament.

JRF wants the government to use its social housing green paper to commit to building 78,000 affordable homes a year, or 1,500 a week. This would “ease the pressure on families trapped in the expensive and insecure private rented sector”.

The organisation noted that rents in London, the South East and the Home Counties are the highest, with up to 40 per cent of earning going on rent.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the JRF, said he welcomed the fact the prime minister has recognised that housing market is “broken” but the government’s plan “risk falling far short”.

 “Voters across all wage brackets want to see action on housing and it is simply not right that so many people in our country are locked out of the opportunity to build a decent and secure life because of crippling housing costs.

“The forthcoming social housing green paper must commit to increasing the supply of low-cost rented homes. The government can start by building 78,000 genuinely affordable homes a year. By fixing our broken housing market, we can help release people from the grip of poverty.”

JRF analysis in numbers:

  • 1,500 low-cost rented homes a week – or 78,000 a year – are required in England.
  • On average, 47,520 homes have been built a year since 2011. This amounts to a shortfall of 182,880 homes over six years.
  • 577 new affordable homes are needed every week to make up the average 30,000 shortfall.
  • In 171 out of 323 English local authorities, the cheapest rents are unaffordable for residents in the bottom 25 per cent of local earnings. In these areas, the cheapest 25 per cent of rents would cost people on low wages more than a third of their earnings every month.
  • There are 19 seats targeted by Labour where low earners are paying more than a third of their earnings on rent. For the Conservatives, there are 11 seats on their target list where low-earners are facing high housing costs.

Image credit | iStock