Are the Tories failing the UK housing market?
As housing costs rise for both renters and owners, some quarters are seeing a growing level of hostility towards the Tory-led government, as those on lower incomes find themselves priced out of the housing market.
In the 1950s, under post-war austerity measures and a towering debt that was 200% of the GDP, Tory PM Harold Macmillan found a way to ensure that at least 300,000 homes would be built per year to house those on low incomes. By the 1960s, there were over 400,000 new homes per annum being constructed for the growing population.
Flash forward to 2016 and the Conservative government is facing a similar problem, but with a few major differences. As Tory austerity measures continue in the wake of the recession a decade ago (but with a greatly reduced debt 80% that of the total GDP), affordable home builds have slumped to 16,550 between 2015 and 2016.
For some, even more worrying is the fact that many of the ‘affordable’ homes being built still carry a price tag of up to £450,000 – a value that many property selling experts would not consider ‘affordable’.
There is therefore growing concern that the current government is not doing enough to provide for those on low incomes; and the figures appear to be backing up that claim. As Theresa May continues to pass legislation she has fought for as Home Secretary, including the Snooper’s Charter and increased gathering of data from ISPs to monitor internet usage – while also putting forward plans to lower taxation on large corporations – it’s easy to see why the opposition feels as if she’s letting the country down.
“These are all-time low results from Conservative ministers who have washed their hands of any responsibility to build the homes families on ordinary incomes need,” said Labour housing spokesman John Healey, responding to figures related to social rented housing.
“We’ve seen six wasted years with the Tories in charge of housing. They have no long-term plan for housing and they’re doing too little to fix the housing crisis for millions of people who are just managing to cover their housing costs.”
The knock-on effects of this failure are obvious for those looking to sell their homes. With property ownership levels at an all-time low, a failure to help younger generations get a foothold on the property ladder means they will be stuck in the rent trap for longer – and as rent prices continue to rise, the likelihood of them possessing the necessary wealth to gather a deposit for a mortgage is lessening year on year.
For some vendors, selling their house is not a time-sensitive issue, but if they do need to sell a home fast, they always have the option of using property buying companies who will buy any home for cash – at competitive prices and in a faster time frame than traditional estate agents.