Tag Archives: housing crisis

Nearly a third of renters say they can’t imagine ever owning their own home

Thirty per cent of renters cannot imagine ever owning their own homeA new study has shown that 31 per cent of renters in cannot imagine ever owning their own home.

The research, commissioned by GoCompare Mortgages, also revealed that more than a fifth (21 per cent) of renters think that the removal of mortgage interest tax relief on buy-to-let properties, which came into force in April 2017, will reduce the supply of rented properties in their area.

Some of the tenants surveyed were also concerned that they will face rent hikes as buy-to-let landlords pass on the higher costs. Six per cent said that their landlord had already or will increase the rent as a direct result of the tax changes.

Unsurprisingly, affordability and access to mortgage loans were found to be the main reasons why many Brits rent. Just 14 per cent of tenants surveyed said that they rent out of preference. Half of the other respondents claim that they rent because they can’t afford to buy their own home and 11 per cent were renting because they were currently unable to obtain a mortgage.

In terms of demographics, the survey found that more women (57 per cent) rent than men (43 per cent); 39 per cent of rented properties were single households, 28 per cent were families with children and 23 per cent were couples. One in ten of people surveyed share their home with flat or housemates.


Commenting on the research, Matt Sanders from GoCompare Mortgages said: “Our research reveals that half of all tenants are in rental accommodation because they can’t afford to buy their own home. It now looks like many have given up all hope of ever owning a home and, for some, the changes to buy-to-let regulations are likely to make renting more expensive. In turn, that makes saving for a mortgage even harder.

“April saw profound changes to the taxation of buy-to-let properties which will reduce landlords’ profits and our survey suggests that there is a real concern among tenants that to protect their profits, over time some landlords will increase rents while others may sell-up – reducing the stock of available private rented homes.”

Worries about increased landlord costs due to elimination of mortgage-interest relief being passed to tenants through higher rents may be borne out by new statistics which show that 30 per cent of landlords have increased rents in response to buy-to-let tax changes.

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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Renters in the UK spend average of 62 per cent of income on rent


The extent of Britain’s housing crisis has been laid bare by a new report from the real estate consultancy Knight Frank.

Rising property prices and stagnant wages leave increasing numbers of people with little alternative to renting. Over the next five years the number of renting households is forecast to increase to around 5.79 million, or 24 per cent of the total, up from about 21 per cent today. More alarmingly, renters across the UK spend an average of 62 per cent of their income on rent.

A YouGov survey of more than 10,000 tenants and 26 major investors also found that while at least three-quarters of UK renters are living in homes owned by private landlords, they will increasingly rent from large-scale institutional landlords such as city firms and property companies investing in the growing Build-to-Rent or multi-housing sectors.

James Mannix, head of residential capital markets at Knight Frank, said of the report: “The strength of the UK private rented sector (PRS) has grown demonstrably in recent years. As consumer demand for affordable, flexible accommodation continues to rise, PRS is firmly establishing itself as a key opportunity for institutional grade investment, due to its long-term potential.

Informed by the survey of the key investors and operators in the market, Knight Frank estimates that by 2022, the private rented market will be worth in the region of £70bn.

Young professionals aged between 25 and 34 make up the largest proportion of households living in the PRS. However, there are also significant numbers of renting families along with 50- to 64-year-old sole-occupiers and couples in addition to retirees many of whom spend over half their incomes on rent. Overall, 40 per cent of renters pay more than 50 per cent of their incomes on rent, the report found.

Unsurprisingly, 68 per cent of renters still expect to be living in rented accommodation in three years’ time, with 30 per cent of respondents saying that the most common reason for renting was to saving for a deposit to buy a property, 21 per cent said renting allowed them to live in an area where they could not afford to buy, while 18 per cent calculated that renting was more affordable than paying a mortgage.

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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Majority of London renters spend over half of salary on rent

Most single tenants renting privately in London are now paying more than half of their monthly salary on average to rent a one-bedroom property.

Research undertaken by the property website Sellhousefast.uk which analysed the latest data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the average rent for a one-bedroom property in London is now almost £1,330 per month.

Percentage of salary spent on rent by London borough
Percentage of salary spent on rent by London borough

Despite having the highest costs of any housing type, the private rented sector has the worst property standards. In February 2016, it was reported that 60% of London renters are forced to live in unacceptable conditions. Private renters are also one of the most deprived groups with almost 25% of households at risk of fuel poverty.

ONS data revealed that single tenants in 25 of London’s 32 boroughs are spending more than half of their monthly salary – after income and council tax deductions – on rent for a one-bedroom property.

Unsurprisingly, housing affordability is worst in prime areas of the capital, with those renting a one-bedroom property in Kensington and Chelsea paying  the equivalent of 85% of the average London monthly salary on rent.

The cheapest accommodation for single tenants was in the boroughs of Bromleywell and Havering with the average rental cost for a one-bedroom home coming in at 42% of monthly salary.

Robby Du Toit, managing director of Sell House Fast commented: “As demand has consistently exceeded supply over the last few years, Londoners have unfortunately been caught up in a very competitive property market where prices haven’t always reflected fair value. This notion is demonstrated through this research whereby private rental prices in London are certainly overstretching single tenants; to the extent they must sacrifice over half their monthly salary.

“For those single tenants with ambitions to climb up the property ladder – their intentions are painfully jeopardised, as they can’t set aside a sufficient amount each month to save up for a deposit or explore better alternatives. It’s not only distressing for them but worrying for the property market as a whole – where the ‘generation rent’ notion is truly continuing too spiral further.”

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The billions of corrupt wealth fuelling London’s housing crisis

money laundering london housing

Around £4.2bn of suspicious money is believed to be laundered through the London property market. 

The report produced by the London-based anti-corruption organization Transparency International claims that the purchase of luxury properties by corrupt individuals is also exacerbating the housing crisis by driving up prices in the rest of the city.

High property prices in the capital are also believed to facilitate large-scale money laundering operations by allowing greater sums to be transferred from overseas jurisdictions.

While there are multiple causes of London’s housing crisis, Transparency International claims to have found evidence that overseas corruption and the purchase of luxury London properties is playing a ‘significant contributory role’.

The findings are based on an analysis of Land Registry data for 14 landmark luxury developments, consisting of 2,066 future homes.

The report published this month follows a highly publicized announcement in December by London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, of an investigation into the role played by foreign property buyers in London’s housing crisis.

Transparency International claims up to 80 per cent of properties in luxury developments are bought by overseas investors. Around 40 per cent are sold to individuals from high corruption risk jurisdictions. Much of the remainder are bought by ‘anonymous’ companies registered in the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

London is an obvious destination for much of this money. Luxurious properties in the capital are in very high demand internationally. London prime real estate is renowned around the world as a symbol of wealth and respectability. The UK is also known as a safe-haven for corrupt individuals worldwide due to its political stability and robust legal system.

Money launderers can easily create offshore companies to hold wealth and assets and provide secrecy for the beneficial owners.

Transparency International claims that over 75% of the UK properties under criminal investigation for grand corruption use offshore corporate secrecy. For all criminal investigations analysed, every property that made use of a foreign company to hold property used a company from an offshore secrecy jurisdiction, rather than a major economy.

The organisation is now calling on the government to implement a public beneficial ownership register of overseas companies that own UK land titles. The creation of such a register was originally announced after the May 2016 Global Anti-Corruption Summit.

Poor International Enforcement

Transparancy International’s report comes following  the Public Accounts Committee’s admission that the UK performs poorly in tackling money laundering.

In 2013 only 26p out of every £100 of identified criminal gains was confiscated.  While the estimated loss to the economy through fraud last year stood at £52bn, enforcement agencies collected just £133m. According to the National Audit Office recovery of the money cost taxpayers an estimated £102m in administration costs.

The picture is similar internationally. In 2012 the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that typical law enforcement detection levels for money laundering stand at around one per cent.

Reporting of suspicious activity in the property sector is particularly poor. Between October 2013 and September 2014, estate agents contributed to only 0.05% of all Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

As of July 2014, across the England and Wales, at least £122bn worth of property was held by companies registered in secrecy jurisdictions. Out of 91,248 foreign company-owned properties in England and Wales, nearly two thirds are held via the British Virgin Islands and Channel Island structures.

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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One in ten young Britons would leave the UK to buy an affordable home

First time buyersOne in 10 people aged between 18 and 34 are prepared to move out of the UK in order to be able to buy an affordable home, a survey by Halifax reveals.

Underlining the generational home-ownership divide, a quarter of young people think they will never be able to own their own home, while a further quarter believe the only way they will be able to get on the property ladder will be through an inheritance windfall.

Forty-eight per cent of 1,500 young Britons surveyed said they think buying a home is now harder than ever. Eight out of 10 felt a lack of affordable property was keeping home ownership out of reach, while 14 per cent believe they will end up renting forever Halifax said.

Despite the gloomy picture, the number of first time buyers rose at the highest annual level since 2008 in the year to January, separate figures from the Council for Mortgage Lenders reveal.

Martin Ellis, Halifax’s housing economist, said: ‘Even with the highest number of first-time buyers in the last decade in 2016, many young people still feel they are running financial gauntlet – saving for a deposit, finding an affordable property in the right area and managing to fund living in the meantime.

‘It’s never too early to do some research to help build a better understanding of how much is affordable, the borrowing options available and calculating what’s achievable to help make owning a property more of a reality.’


The average age for buying a starter home has risen to 30, pushed higher by ever increasing deposit requirements.

On average, deposits for first time buyers come in at around £32,321, but can be as much as £100,000 in London, Halifax said.

It is not just sky high property prices and hefty deposits first time buyers are worrying about. Over a third are concerned they don’t meet mortgage eligibility requirements, Halifax said.

While many struggle to get on the housing ladder, Halifax claimed first-time buyers typically end up £651 a year better off than when they were renting.

Although the buy-to-let market and number of people moving up the property ladder stalled in the year to January, the number of first time buyers increased to 340,200 according to data from the Council for Mortgage Lenders.

The CML estimated that gross mortgage lending reached £18.2billion in February, which is 8 per cent lower than January’s total of £19.8billion and just above the £18.1billion lent in February last year.

February’s estimated lending total is the lowest seen since May 2016, which is the month after the Government’s stamp duty hikes on buy-to-let lenders and second home-owners kicked in.

As has been the case since 2013, the number of existing home owners looking to move has stalled, remaining ‘subdued’ at around the 360,000 mark in the last year, the CML said.

In London, the number of existing home owners looking to move has fallen to a 25-year low. Meanwhile, remortgaging activity has increased sharply across the country, rising 20 per cent year-on-year, as people take advantage of competitive rates, the CML’s data showed.

Mohammad Jamei, a senior economist at the CML, said: ‘Mortgage lending is holding up well, but under the surface buyers face mixed fortunes.

‘First-time buyers and customers who are re-mortgaging are driving total lending, while home movers and buy-to-let remain weak.

‘The weakness in home movers means few properties are coming onto the market for sale, which is aggravating a supply demand imbalance that has characterised the market since late 2013.

‘This looks set to continue at least over the next few months, posing an obstacle for would-be borrowers.’

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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Seven disgraceful statistics about renting in London

Rent Costs London

1. London Renters spend 60% wages on rent

The English Housing Survey reports that Londoners spend an eye-watering 60% of their gross earnings on rent. Excluding housing benefit this figure rises to 72%.

Even more shockingly, 16-24-year-olds are forced to pay 88% of their income on rent in the capital. When housing benefit is included this falls to 81%. However this age group is particularly vulnerable to reductions in housing benefit.

2. It is cheaper to commute from Madrid each day than rent in Camden Town

Renting a flat in Camden Town and working in Liverpool street will cost a Londoner £2,128 monthly or £25,532 yearly.

If the same Londoner rented a flat in Madrid’s city centre and booked return flights from Madrid to Stansted from Monday to Thursday, he or she would spend £1,725 a month or £20,708 a year.

3. The average rent on a two-bedroom flat is £707 a week or £100 a day  

Figures from property investment firm London Central Portfolio (LCP) show that the average rent on a two-bedroom flat in central London is a whopping £707 a week.

Average rental prices of rooms in a flat-share in Paddington (Zone 1), can cost around £1100 a month.

Council taxes are also a significant  consideration. Areas like Richmond and Kingston tend to be the most expensive at around £1929 a year.  Cheaper areas include Wandsworth where council tax averages £823 a year.

4. London professionals are being forced to live “12 to a house”

According to Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq, London professionals are being forced to live “12 to a house”, thanks to the soaring rents.

In a House of Commons debate Huq said: “Renting is no longer just a transitory thing for those who are in their twenties. It’s becoming routine for people further up the age scale.

“Many in my constituency in their 30s on good money find themselves sometimes 12 to a house with shared sitting room and kitchen.

“At that age, ‘who stole my cheese?’ should not be a way of life.”

5. By 2025, more than half of people under 40 will be living in property owned by private landlords

Over half of 20 to 39-year-olds will be renting from private landlords by 2025, according to accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers.

PwC economists state that: “For 20-39 year olds, we would expect over half to be renting by 2025, implying a continuing rise in the size of ‘Generation Rent’.

The report suggests that home ownership levels will continue declining to dramatic new levels, dropping below 60% by 2025, as the rise of ‘tenant nation’ looms.

6. The UK has the highest private rents in Europe

A study by British Housing Federation found that rents in the UK are the highest in Europe.

In countries like Germany and Holland, private rents are around 50% cheaper than in the UK.

David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “British renters get a raw deal in comparison to their continental counterparts. Not only do they face crippling rents, but renters in the UK have almost no certainty about whether they will be able to stay in their home from one year to the next.”

7. One in three rented homes are “not fit to live in”

One in three British three homes do not meet the government’s decent home minimum standard, according to 2014/15 English Housing Survey.

A Parliament report published last year admitted that there have been no minimum property standards for private rented housing in England since 2006.

Furthermore, more than 170 tenants are being evicted every day according to 2015 Ministry of Justice figures.  In total 42,728 evictions recorded in England and Wales in 2015.

According to Gillian Guy, CEO of Citizens Advice, “It’s hard to feel at home in the private rented sector. People can struggle to lead a normal life when their home is in a state of disrepair and they could be told to leave at any time. But many feel powerless to speak out.”

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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London Homeowners Slashing Prices As Political Uncertainty and High Prices Impact Demand

London House Prices Fall

London home sellers are having to cut asking prices for their homes and are offering greater discounts as high house prices and brexit uncertainties impact demand.

Lucian Cook, residential research director at Savills claims that price cuts seen in prime central London following the Brexit vote are now filtering through to outer boroughs. “Affordability issues are now a problem after a decade of house-price growth, and buyers are finding they increasingly come up against mortgage-lending limits.”

The latest slowdown in London house price growth comes after home prices in the capital have surged by around 86 percent since 2009. London house prices are now 14.2 times the average buyer’s gross salary according to the research firm Hometrack. This is the highest house price to salary ratio on record and more than double the rate for the UK as a whole.

Data released by the  Council of Mortgage Lenders also shows that there has been a fall of 12 percent in the number of mortgages advanced to first-time buyers in London.  High London asking prices have in many cases now exceeded lending limits allowed to banks under rules set by regulators in 2014.

Central London hit hardest

The house price decline has been most notable in central London. Average prices were cut by 8.2 percent in Kensington & Chelsea on an annualized basis compared with 7.8 percent in July.  Westminster and Wandsworth have been similarly affected recording 7.7 percent and 7.1 percent declines respectively.


In an apparent reversal of typical trends, outer boroughs have been less affected than prime central London. The percentage of sellers cutting asking prices in January rose in all but two of the capital’s 33 boroughs compared with July.

Listings reductions

According to the property website Zoopla, 37.1 percent of property listings in Merton have been reduced.  John J. King, managing director at broker Andrew Scott Robertson added that sales are down “about 25 percent in the past six months, as they were already affected by stamp duty and the referendum made things worse.”

In Kensington and Chelsea 35.4% of listings have been reduced. Estate agents attribute the fall to changes in stamp duty and the effects of the Brexit vote. However, the house price declines may already be leading to greater interest in buying in the borough. Toby Whittome,  a broker at real estate agent Jackson Stops & Staff, claims that “applicants looking to buy are up nearly 40 percent in January, but that doesn’t necessarily result in sales, as people are hoping and waiting for some good news about stamp duty and clarity over the possible impact of the referendum.”

Ealing has also seen a considerable number of price reductions. Following five to six years of steep price increases, 35.4 percent of listings are now reduced. According to Alex Jerram, a broker at Dauntons, a two-bedroom new build in the borough now costs the same as one in Pimlico. “You cannot justify asking the same price for a property in greater London as one in central London. If sellers really need to sell, they have to reduce prices.”

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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Top Civil Servant in Charge of Housing Says Housing Crisis Will Continue Under Current Government Policies


One of the Government’s most senior housing civil servants has admitted that new government policies will not end the housing crisis and that homelessness will continue to rise.

Questioned by MPs about why the Government is failing to build enough homes, the Permanent Secretary to the Department for Local Government Melanie Dawes admitted that Theresa May’s new policies will not stop the country’s housing crisis from continuing “as it has done for decades.” Miss Dawes added that she was “simply being honest” when she revealed that houses prices are set to stay out of reach of those who cannot offered a property and that homelessness will continue to rise.

The revelation  comes less than one month after after ministers launched a new White Paper “Fixing our broken housing market” which promised radical policies to solve the housing crisis and increase the supply of new homes.

When asked whether the housing crisis will ever resolve itself, Miss Dawes claimed that “It will continue as it has done for decades, I agree, and that will show itself primarily in affordability and in some places in homelessness”

Revelations about the UK’s inability to tackle the housing crisis comes as average house prices have surpassed ten times the average salary in some parts of the country. In November 2016, data published by the research firm Hometrack showed that with house prices in London are now 14.2 times the average salary. Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol  were also identified as highly unaffordable cities with house price-income multiples close to those in the capital. At the same time the number of households made homeless has risen to more than 50,000 per year.

Commenting on the comments made before the public accounts committee, Labour’s shadow housing minister, John Healey, claimed that Miss Dawes’ appearance confirmed the Government’s policies were not working. “It’s clear that the Government’s housing plans have failed, are failing and will continue to fail.”
“Since 2010, home-ownership has fallen, homelessness has more than doubled and affordable house-building fell last year to the lowest level in 24 years.
“After seven years in Government, there’s now a huge gap between the rhetoric and record of Tory Ministers on housing. We need less hot air and more homes from Ministers to fix this housing crisis.”

During the presentation of the Government White Paper in Parliament, the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, said: “The housing market in this country is broken and the solution means building many more houses in the places that people want to live.”

Mr Javid also claimed that relative to population size, Britain has had Western Europe’s lowest rate of house-building for 3 decades. The Communities Minister claimed that the Government would honour its 2015 manifesto promise to preserve the green belt yet remove the Government’s role in land-banking and free up more public sector land more quickly. Furthermore, in a reversal of decades of housing proposals, the white paper indicated that new homes will be built to rent rather than for first-time buyers.

The extent of the housing crisis comes as data show that private sector rented housing is the most expensive and has the lowest standards of any housing type.  According to Parliament reports, private renters now spend an average of 49% of their income on rent despite nearly one-in-three privately rented houses failing to meet minimum government housing standards.

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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Sadiq Khan asks LSE to investigate London housing market


London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has asked the London School of Economics to carry out a comprehensive inquiry into the impact of foreign investment on London’s housing market.

The inquiry which is expected to report back to the Mayor in the spring will investigate the dependence of property developers on foreign buyers and the number of properties kept empty.

Sadiq Khan is keen however to stress that the report is not intended to provide material which might be used to curtail the rights of overseas buyers in London.  Announcing the study, the Mayor underlined the importance of foreign investment in London but also noted that further study was needed to understand the connection between London’s property affordability crisis and foreign investment. The Mayor added that many Londoners were concerned about the number of homes left empty and the link between empty properties and overseas investors.

The current study follows numerous reports that London is being used as a safe-haven for Russian Oligarchs, Chinese Princelings and Middle Eastern Sheikhs.  Many properties in the capital are held by companies in offshore tax havens and many are unoccupied. Khan’s predecessor in City Hall, Boris Johnson, notably called for property developers to market new homes “first or equal first” to Londoners rather than to overseas buyers.

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Chancellor announces plans to ban letting agent fees in England “as soon as possible”

Letting Agent Fees
Letting Agent Fees

In his Autumn Statement today the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced plans to ban letting agent fees in England “as soon as possible” which may be save 4.3 million households hundreds of pounds. 

Currently many tenants face charges to draw up tenancy agreements, conduct immigration and credit reference checks  in addition to the payment of a non-refundable holding deposit paid before signing up to the deal.

The move comes as numerous reports have indicated that many tenants living in sub-standard housing are discouraged from moving out because of extra fee charges.  A report published by the English Housing Survey covering April 2014 to March 2015 found that 69% of tenants living in poor quality homes are discouraged from moving out because of agent fees.

Nonetheless, landlords groups have claimed that banning letting fees will not necessarily reduce rental costs with landlords and letting agents increasing rental values to offset loss of income. However, renters groups assert that the ban will make it easier for tenants to compare the cost of different properties and reduce the incentive for letting agents to replace tenants.

The move is a culmination of greater regulation of the letting market and will move England further in line with  Scotland where lettings agency fees to tenants have already been banned.  Since 2015 lettings and managing agents in England and Wales have legally been obliged to clearly publicize their fees.




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