At risk: one home in every street

Losing your home is one of the most traumatic things imaginable. At Shelter, we have always known this – but even we were shocked when recent research we commissioned from UCL showed that people consider losing their home almost on a par with the abduction of a child by a family member.

And the loss of a family home can have a devastating impact on children. This Christmas, 75,000 children in Britain will wake up homeless, living in temporary … Read more

Broken from top to bottom

It’s widely accepted that England has something of a two speed housing market. The narrative usually goes like this – in London and the south east, real estate is as much an investment as a home, creating a frenzy of competition between investors, foreign buyers, commuters and local residents that bump up house prices.  Further north, house prices are falling, with low sales, higher numbers of empty homes and worrying pockets of high housing debt.

The natural conclusion … Read more

To buy or not buy?

What with me leading Shelter’s policy work on the future of the private rented sector, it was a surprise to my colleagues when I told them I was buying a flat. ‘That’s it, you’re out of the private rented sector!’ was Toby’s response.

The thing is, I am fed up with renting. I hate the magnolia walls in my flat, the worn laminate floors, the slope in the kitchen that means the cooker is wonky and one side of … Read more

The mortgage headache continues

Today’s arrears and repossessions figures confirm that we’re in our fourth consecutive year of high levels of home repossessions. It’s a worrying sign of how difficult economic conditions are – and of just how precarious so many people’s finances are. Sadly, thousands of people losing their homes is only part of the story. There are more than 150,000 households in serious arrears, i.e. more than three months behind on their mortgage payments.

The overall number of people in serious arrears … Read more

Boom, bust and the West Wing

Toby’s been referencing Dickens in his recent blog post, so here goes with another policy lovers favourite cultural reference; the West Wing. The fictional US leader President Jed Bartlet was renowned for his economic expertise and prudence. But looking back now, he was, like most other people, somewhat optimistic about the state of the economy and about housing in particular. “Home-ownership levels are higher than they’ve ever been!” he would merrily retort at critics of his policies.

Sadly, the state … Read more

From 'fatally flawed' to 'common sense'

Mortgage regulation might not sound like the most exciting topic, but it’s vitally important. The way in which banks lend money has a huge impact on house prices, social mobility, even homelessness.

In recent years the devastating impact reckless lending can have on people’s lives has been all too clear. You have to borrow a lot of money to get a foot on the housing ladder and if you can’t afford to pay it back, you may face losing your … Read more