Britain is currently going through a big housing shortage. But what does this mean and what’s the answer?
What Does the Housing Shortage Mean?
The housing shortage in the UK means that there are simply not enough homes for everyone. This has a whole host of effects on the housing market as well. For example, when demand outstrips supply (as is currently the case), prices are pushed up and up. This means it’s more expensive than ever to buy a home.
This is a problem for young people in particular. For most people under the age of 30, the idea of buying a home seems like a distant thought because they’re being priced out of the market. All the research shows that young people are buying fewer homes than previous generations, and they’ve now been labelled Generation Rent. So what are the answers to this problem?
Force Landlords to Sell Disused Homes
There are roughly a million empty homes in Britain at the moment. Considering we’re going through a housing shortage at the moment, the number of empty homes is simply unbelievable. It doesn’t make any sense to allow these homes to go to waste when they could be used by families in need of a roof over their head.
But how can you get around this problem and put those homes to proper use? Many of them are owned by landlords who are not renting them out. The only way to solve this problem is to force landlords to either sell their disused properties or put them on the rental market.
Build More Homes
One simple solution to the social housing shortage is to build more homes. So, why is this not already happening? Well, some houses are being built, but nowhere near enough to keep up with the demand on the market. So, surely they can just build more? Well, apparently it’s not as simple as that.
Firstly, there is a lack of funding and spending coming from central government. Determined to spend less, the current government is not prepared to build the homes required to house everyone in the country. There is also the problem of planning regulations. Land is in short supply, limiting the amount of building that can take place. Plots of land can be found at http://ballantynes.uk.com/land-and-development, but more need to be made available.
Ban Second Homes
This is seen as quite a radical measure, and there’s not much chance of it being put into practice. But a lot of people feel that if we don’t have enough homes to house the entire population, maybe we should free up houses by banning second homes. This kind of measure would hit the richest and free up space for the poorest.
The problem of holiday homes is huge in some parts of the world. For example, if you go to an area of the country like Cornwall, 5% of all homes there are second homes. So a big slice of the properties there are left unused for the vast majority of the year, only being used in summer.