Research released by the National Housing Federation today found that 8.4 million people in England are living in unsuitable, insecure or unaffordable homes. In response to these findings, please find below a series of comments from three leading property experts.

Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment  told us “The housing crisis is one the biggest challenges currently facing the UK, and these latest findings from the National Housing Federation (NHF) show how our limited supply of housing is affecting people across the country. Action is clearly needed to ensure more people can access affordable housing, be it to buy or rent. Unfortunately, with Brexit dominating the political landscape, we are still waiting on the government to implement a strategy that effectively addresses the housing crisis. This has been made more complicated by the fact that we’ve had 17 different housing ministers since 2000.

“Importantly, we cannot wait until the government comes to a solution concerning Brexit before it turns its attention to other pressing issues. What the country is calling for is creative solutions to increase the housing supply, be it supporting small property developers to increase the construction of affordable new-build housing, to reforming current planning laws so that property owners are able to build upwards. These findings from the NHF serve as a wake-up call – I hope the government heeds the call.”

Paresh Raja of Market Financial Solutions said “These latest figures bring back into focus one of the most pressing issues affecting British society today. While the government’s attention seems to be entirely focused on its negotiations – or a lack thereof – with Brussels, not nearly enough is being done to address the housing crisis.

“There is no easy solution to the problem, though. Unquestionably the government must make significant financial investment to help fuel housebuilding, but further action is also required. From planning permission laws and the use of brown belt land through to help-to-buy schemes and converting derelict properties, now is the time for Esther McVey and her team to develop a robust strategy to alleviate the housing crisis.

“Indeed, there are hundreds of thousands of empty, run-down properties across the UK, and I for one would like to see more being done to help renovate such houses and get them back on the market, rather than focusing solely on new-build developments.”

Whilst Jerald Solis, Director of Experience Invest stated “The Housing Crisis is becoming more serious by the year, which is deeply worrying given the number of times we have heard different governments say that resolving the issue is one of their main priorities. However, in truth, the major political parties have failed to give the situation due care and attention; we’ve had 17 different housing ministers since the turn of the century, so it is perhaps not surprising there has been limited progress when it comes to building the millions of new, affordable homes the country needs.

“Regardless of Brexit uncertainty, the government needs to invest significantly in the construction of more new-builds across the country. What’s more, closer partnerships between the public and private sectors must be formed if we are to see more houses being erected – both sides must work together to ensure the necessary reforms, investments and actions are made to directly tackle the housing crisis.”

Despite this latest research, hundreds of thousands of homes are still left vacant across England as levels of homelessness reach record levels in parts of the country. Recent ONS figures show a 39% increase in over-60s seeking help, up from 1,800 in 2012-13 to 2,500 five years later. In contrast, there are currently more than 200,000 properties sitting vacant in England. That’s nearly 1% of the total number of properties in the entire country. But, with a growing population, why are so many homes remaining unoccupied?

With housing still unaffordable for many (especially those under 30) Recent laws imposed on stamp duty for landlords may have put more regular investors in property off due to their own profits being minimilised which has a knock on effect on the rental market homes provided, the quality of housing available and of course the rent increase which is inflicted on the tenants because of the rising taxes.

With the latest Government looking to reduce this it may become more attractive following Brexit to once again invest in UK property which will lead to more and better rental homes available but with property buyers hesitant in the current market until at least some clarity on the countries future is resolved it may take more Government interaction to help resolve the latest slow down in the market.

The news that there’s a lack of good quality affordable property may seem bleak, but for us investors and landlords it allows us to provide where there is demand so not being put off to invest is the key to the market coming through its testing times.

Once Brexit is out of the way and the Government plan to build more homes kicks in we’ll no doubt see a substantial increase long term not just in the quality of property available but the price it is available for too.

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Daniel Peacock

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