New figures released today show that young people across the country are struggling more than ever to live independently because of the cost of housing.
How Many Homes, a new research project commissioned by the Town and Country Planning Association, found that the housing requirement to meet projected household formation until 2031 is actually lower than previously anticipated - but this is because younger people are already finding they cannot afford to form independent households.
Housing shortages and the resultant high prices and rents mean that young people are living with parents or in house shares for longer, rather than forming a household of their own. Rising student debt levels and potential future welfare reform are likely to make their position even more difficult.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the Town and Country Planning Association said “This research shows that, while it looks as if the projected number of needed homes has dropped, this is because many people now can’t afford their own home – either to rent or buy - and are living with parents or other people longer than they would like to.”
“The government needs to see this as a wakeup call. It has already fallen behind on their targets for house building, and this is now having a devastating effect on young people. More needs to be done to build the necessary number of high quality, affordable homes for people who need them.”
Starting in 2011, a minimum of 220,000 homes are needed each year to 2031 if housebuilding is to keep up with projected household growth – and even this is not enough to enable couples aged between 25 and 34 to have the same chance of living in their own home as their counterparts in 2011.
Of the new homes needed, a staggering 55% are needed in London and the surrounding area. In contrast, in the north east, the number of new households is expected to only rise by 11% over 20 years.
The research, based on statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government and Office of National Statistics figures, was conducted by Neil McDonald, (previously Chief Executive of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit) and Professor Christine Whitehead (LSE) was launched in Parliament by Lord Best today.
Christine Whitehead, co-author of this research and Emeritus Professor at the LSE said “One of the biggest concerns is that couples aged between 25 and 34 – at the time when family formation is at its highest - are expected to be less well housed in 2031 than their counterparts in 2011. And if house building cannot be increased at least to the projected levels other household groups will find themselves in the same boat.”
The research also shows that the government is already falling short of its targets to build new homes. Only 54% of the homes required have been built since 2011. To catch up by 2020 with the number of homes suggested by the projections we need to build over 310,000 homes a year over the next 5 years.
This research was funded by the Lady Margaret Patterson Osborn Trust, and Places for People.
David Cowans, Chief Executive of Places for People said: “The government may have an ambition to build more homes but this research shows that, to provide the homes where they are needed, much more still needs to be done. Housing is part of the essential infrastructure that this country needs to prosper and on the current delivery rates, this pressing need will not be met.”
“Government needs to work with the public and private sectors to arrive at bold and radical solutions to ensure that, together, we can get on with housing our nation.”