Crisis? What Housing Crisis?

By Londonist Last edited 116 months ago
Crisis? What Housing Crisis?

By greything via the Londonist Flickrpool
The Mayor has published his strategy for tackling London's housing crisis. And we can't fault him for being over ambitious.

Boris says he’s committed to creating more family sized ‘affordable housing’; and he wants to expand shared ownership schemes, so that you don’t have to do a worthy job like nursing to play. Overall, he reckons, it amounts to a ‘transformational commitment to halve severe overcrowding’ by 2016. (Quite how leaving half of those struggling with 'severe overcrowding' exactly where they are is 'transformational', we're not sure, but never mind.)

What the report doesn't do, though, is offer any plan to actually cut the cost of a home in this city. Last March, the Mayor released a faintly frightening report on the city's housing market which showed that - despite a fall of nearly 10% - the average London home still costs £314,000. Optimists have recently piled into the market looking for bargains; but, it said, with mortgage lenders now asking for a massive deposit and the soul of your first-born before they'll give you any money, affordability may have actually gone down.

It's not all bad news. Rents are in freefall as landlords, petrified of selling at the bottom of the market, have flooded the rental sector with empty homes. And there are a few bargain areas left (in Barking and Dagenham, for example, the average home costs a mere nine times the average salary at £227k).

But ultimately the report makes depressing reading for anyone who hoped one day to own their own home in this town. Without the kind of massive building programme that no one seems keen to provide, it concludes, ‘even a large short-term fall in house prices will not prevent housing becoming progressively less affordable over the next two decades.’

So, if you're one of those who are lucky enough to have a £70k deposit sat around, this is the perfect time to get on the ladder. The rest of us will just have to rent - or settle for moving to Barking.

By Jonn Elledge

The London Housing Strategy is out on public consultation until 31 August. Download the full document here.

Last Updated 27 May 2009