Opinion: Is the UK housing market really improving?
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing
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Throughout the recession, the UK housing market has particularly suffered. With incomes squeezed, very few people have the income and savings to be able to afford a house. As a result, this has not only forced people to become part of ‘generation rent’ but also caused lots of other housing problems with the biggest issue being overcrowding. According to Shelter UK, there are currently more than 400,000 households living in overcrowded conditions.
Although problems in the housing market still remain, there is evidence to suggest that it is looking a lot more positive. For instance, the government’s help to buy scheme has meant that houses have become more affordable for people – having to put as little as a 5% deposit down to get on to the property ladder. As a result this has boosted housebuilding, with construction seeing the first two straight quarters of growth for two years with the housing sector accounting for nearly a fifth of all construction output. As the scheme takes greater effect, it is hoped that it will drastically improve the current housing situation and improve the problems of overcrowding in thousands of households.
Having said this, there are worries about the quality and size of the houses that are being built. Whilst there are new housing developments in the UK that are of an excellent standard and quality, such as the new homes in Norfolk, there are other areas around the UK where the size of the new homes being built has raised a real cause for concern.
According to the Daily Mail, UK family homes have halved in size since the 1920s and overall Britain now has the smallest homes on average in Europe. Some believe that the elimination of the minimum space standards act is to blame for these small family homes. It seems as though builders nowadays are simply looking to gain as much profit as possible by trying to cram as many homes as they can into one area. After all, it’s pretty simple - the more houses there are, the more they can sell and the more profit they can make.
So the real question is: is the UK housing situation really getting that much better? Although there is evidence to suggest that things are improving (i.e. more people being able to get on to the property ladder with more affordable housing) if these new homes that are being built are not big enough to satisfy the needs of large families, there is still a worry that the standard of living in the UK and the overcrowding of homes will remain a big issue.