Guest Blog- Kate Faulkner

Property expert Kate Faulkner has written this guest blog on the unsatisfactory state of today’s housing market. Like Shelter, Kate believes that it is time for politicians of all stripes to take bold action to deliver the new homes our country desperately needs, and to effectively regulate a private rented sector that is now home to 9 million people.

To solve the housing battle, we need the same determination our Veterans had

With the recent D-Day celebrations, I’m reminded of … Read more

A mixed bag

David Cameron opened his Conservative Party Conference speech with the promise of home ownership.

“This week in Manchester we’ve shown this Party is on the side of hardworking people. Helping young people buy their own home.”

The rhetoric is right. And it is fantastic to see all three party leaders recognising the urgent need to tackle our housing crisis. Unfortunately, we still cannot agree with the Government’s proposed solution.

Cameron used the Conference to accelerate the Help to Buy scheme. … Read more

Shared ownership: has potential, needs reform

Two weeks ago Shelter launched its call for a bigger, better shared ownership market for low to middle income families.

In our report, Homes for forgotten families, we found that 1.8 million families typically earning £20,000 – £40,000 were unable to afford a family home in their area through full ownership. With home ownership out of reach and social housing in short supply, the only realistic option for most of these families is to raise their children in our … Read more

Guest blog: Housing at highest level of voter concern in 5 years

We’ve been saying for a while now that housing is bubbling up as a key issue for voters, and that England’s housing shortage is now a crisis affecting broad swathes of the voting population. Shelter’s report Homes for forgotten families published last week shows just how expensive it is for low to middle income families to afford a family home in their area.

New polling by Ipsos MORI last week seems to confirm how concerned people in England are about … Read more

Low to middle income families need bigger, better shared ownership

Buying a family home used to be an affordable, achievable aspiration for many low and middle income families, those typically earning between £20-40,000. But not anymore. That’s the finding in Shelter’s new report on how low to middle income families are faring in our housing market.

Over the last decade, the number of low to middle income families buying homes has been in steady decline. For many, their only option now is to raise their children with a backdrop … Read more

Policy merry-go-round on either side of the Atlantic

Last week, we saw on either side of the Atlantic two starkly contrasting responses to post-credit crunch financial policy. In the US, President Obama firmly rejected the politics of old. Never again would the US taxpayer be first be in line to cover the cost of failing mortgages or underwrite loans the market considers too risky. Instead, he wants to see the private sector take on more of the risk as he winds down the two mortgage giants, Fannie … Read more

The heart of the problem

I tend to see everything in the housing system as interconnected. This is not to say that I’m a hippy who believes in the healing power of crystals. It’s because I see the impacts of a single, massive failure to provide enough, decent homes at prices people can afford: from the renters who come to us for help, facing eviction because their landlord has fallen into mortgage arrears, to the families languishing in grim bed and breakfast accommodation because of … Read more

Britain’s housing shortage: coming to a swing seat near you?

Rising home ownership was once a staple of post-war prosperity. The increasing number of people owning their own home underpinned not only a burgeoning middle class, but a broader sense of optimism about the future.

A basic kind of social contract also emerged: if you worked hard and saved, you could eventually own a home. Today, while private renting remains so insecure and unaffordable, the stability of home ownership will obviously continue to be attractive for many.

Unfortunately, this social … Read more

What to do about the squeezed middle's housing pressures?

I’m starting to hear a lot about the problem of housing for low to middle income households. Two events this week. One was the launch of housing association Gentoo’s Genie product, which removes the need for mortgages and deposits with a ‘home purchase plan. The second, today, was the Resolution Foundation think tank’s report on how low to middle income households are faring in the housing market.

Policy makers are trying to provide a politically appealing and genuinely affordable offer … Read more

The power of buy to let

Figures out from the Council of Mortgage Lenders today show that buy to let mortgage lending – mortgages for landlords buying property to rent out – has reached a record high. Now £1 in every £8 of mortgage lending goes to buy to let.

The appeal is obvious. It feels like every week a news story goes out reporting rising rents. And, as research by Jones Lang LaSalle found, many subscribe to the “small island” theory – that … Read more

Growing up renting

Imagine living in nine different homes before the age of eight. Then picture attending two different schools in the first three years of your education with another school move looming because your landlord has defaulted on his mortgage and there is nowhere else to rent by your school. This is the reality for the daughter of one family Shelter has spoken to and this isn’t out of choice.

A new survey of 4,000 private renters, out today, shows quite starkly … Read more

Fitting the bill

No one applauds real commitment to help renting families more loudly than us. Labour’s proposal yesterday for a housing bill to tackle rip-off fees and poor standards and give renters more security ticks a lot of Shelter boxes. Coming on top of last year’s government pledges to clamp down on rogue landlords and this month’s new legislation on letting agents it’s more welcome evidence of an emerging political consensus  on the need to tackle problems in the private rented sector.… Read more