Lack of affordable housing is a 'national emergency', says RICS

RICS has called the shortage of affordable housing in the UK a “national emergency” and called for a “coherent and coordinated” strategy to build more homes of all tenures.

The organisation’s latest UK Residential Market Survey has revealed a third consecutive monthly decline in supply, with new instructions falling at their fastest rate since May 2009. Unsurprisingly, house prices were “driven up again” in April.

While 33% more surveyors saw prices rise in April, the highest reading since last summer, new instructions slipped to a net balance of -21%: the eighth consecutive drop in the last nine months. Moreover, the flow of second hand stock onto the market dropped in most parts of the country, RICS said.

Alongside this, for the first time since August 2014, respondents reported an increase in prices in every area of the UK due to the “shift in tone” in the London market, where 28% more respondents saw prices rise (compared with 6% more surveyors in March who saw house prices fall).

Near term member expectations for prices and sales continue to point to relatively modest gains, but 72% of members expect prices to rise over the course of the next twelve months. Meanwhile, in the lettings sector, there is no slowing in the growth of tenant demand, which is helping to underpin higher expectations for rents.

RICS said that anecdotal evidence suggests these trends may have in part been a result of uncertainty ahead of the election, they are also reflective of deeper underlying problems. The downward trend in owner-occupation rates across the country is a visible sign that affordability constraints bite ever deeper, as does the squeeze on household budgets from higher rents.

“It is conceivable that the decisive outcome to the election could encourage a pick-up in instructions to agents and ease some of the recent upward pressure on house prices, but it is doubtful that this will be substantive enough to provide anything more than temporary relief. Alongside an increased flow of second hand stock, it is absolutely critical that the new government focuses on measures to boost the flow of new build,” said Jeremy Blackburn, RICS’ head of policy.

“The affordability and availability of homes in the UK is now a national emergency and addressing this crisis must be the priority for the new government. The last time we were building 300,000 homes was in 1963 under Harold Macmillan’s Conservative government, which utilised both public and private building.

“We need a coherent and coordinated house building strategy across all tenures. This should include measures that will kick-start a supply-side revolution, such as mapping brownfield, addressing planning restrictions and creating a housing observatory to assess the underlying economic and social drivers of housing and provide the impetus for solutions.

“Introducing demand-side measures such as extending Right to Buy will not see the Conservatives deliver on their promise of one million homes by 2020.”

Your News

If you've got a story that would be of interest to Builder & Engineer readers, send us an email

Features

2017-05-31 13:33

The rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) will rise by two per cent on June 1 to 12 per cent on all non-exempt transactions. Martin Bennison, managing director at construction finance firm Ultimate Finance, explains what this means for UK construction companies.

2017-05-25 08:41

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is growing in popularity and is now mandatory for centrally funded public-sector projects. Experts and the curious are gathering more and more frequently at dedicated congresses, exhibitions and workshops. Many people are now asking: Where does the UK stand on the issue of BIM and the digitisation of the construction industry?

2017-05-10 10:47

Opening site doors to more females is vital to plugging the construction skills gap, reports Claire Cameron

THE construction industry continues to be plagued by a well-documented skills gap with some suggesting the shortage could get worse before it gets better.

2017-05-08 14:27

If you work on a building site, are self-employed or have a zero-hours contract, you might be surprised to know you work in the ”gig economy”. This is the economy characterised by temporary work and irregular hours, pay and working conditions.

2017-03-29 10:31

Jeremy Gould, VP sales Europe, TomTom Telematics, discusses how technological developments in vehicle telematics have opened up new workflow management possibilities for the construction industry

2017-03-21 09:31

With the demand of oil increasing, it’s estimated that the Earth will reach its full capacity for oil consumption at some point within the next 20 years. This is despite the production of oil decreasing, and the construction industry is no exception to this, reports Niftylift.

2017-03-17 10:55

With construction firms leading the way in drone technology, Claire Cameron takes a closer look at how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used onsite

2017-03-07 16:20

While the physical safety of workers is prioritised on construction sites, mental health is often overlooked, reports Claire Cameron

Free E-newsletter Sign-Up

Sign up for our free e-newsletter

Looking for a company or service?