Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Autumn of 2017 that an extra 300,000 homes would need to be built annually to try and tackle the housing crisis. An investment of at least £44 billion will be required over the next 5 years for this to be possible.
There are currently several initiatives in place to try and manage the housing crisis from the removal of stamp duty applied to purchases below £300,000, to encourage first time buyers to get themselves onto the property ladder, and the build to rent initiative and investment in thousands of homes across the UK.
Additionally, there is also a £866 million fund which is part of the £5 billion housing infrastructure fund that has been established to increase the speed at which new homes are constructed and help alleviate the current housing shortage. This is proposed to be implemented through improvements to roadworks, new home builds and new schools. Other changes to planning which reduce waiting times for permission to be granted and changing rules to accommodate the conversion of agricultural/industrial buildings into housing will also help to boost the development of new homes.
Advanced technology used in the construction and management side will help alleviate the housing crisis where there is a shortage of homes and the few available are offered at unaffordable rents and prices. Using high-technology modular construction is one-way technology has advanced to help produce houses within a short period of time at a very low cost. According to CITY A.M, modular technology can help build over 500,000 homes a year and put an end to the housing shortage in the U.K. This model is currently being used in Japan where one factory can produce 6,000 flats a week. This number is encouraging and a potential method of construction in the U.K.
However, technology alone is never going to solve the housing crisis, but if used effectively it can help alleviate the problem.
Cloud-based technology can help property managers and owners to manage tenancies efficiently. With the number of houses built every year increasing to meet the goal of providing 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020’s, there needs to be an effective way to manage both properties and tenancies.
There are many aspects of property management that need to be taken into consideration. Whether you are managing housing associations properties or private rental – all rent charges can be accounted for, including housing benefit, and tenant arrears in the case of social housing.
The introduction of online agents and proptech used by traditional letting agents has made the search for rooms easier enabling tenants to move somewhere quickly and easily. Additionally, property owners have fewer rooms vacant thanks to quicker listings and the management of tenants through proptech software meaning they have more time to expand their portfolio and add further properties to their listings.
Proptech systems that have an open API that integrates with other software offers property managers the solution to managing multiple locations, rooms and builds. It allows properties that are managed on the system to be uploaded to portals easily, this means they are easily accessible to tenants looking for a vacant room. Spare rooms in people’s homes and rooms that aren’t being used are an important source of how to tackle the housing problem. According to wonego, there are roughly 11 million spare rooms in the U.K.
Flat sharing, HMO’S and the use or Airbnb and websites like shareroom.com are all opening the doors to more spaces and rooms becoming readily available. Better technology will allow users to save time and be more independent in how they search for vacant rooms.
Other integrations with different platforms offering online solutions to digital signatures, advanced tenant referencing, and inventory checks have made the whole check in and check out process quick and efficient. This makes moving home easier and has opened the doors to shorter tenancy agreements due to the greater flexibility and so more people have access to the large number of vacant rooms available. Airbnb and shareroom.com are examples of those portals which specialise in short term contracts and have benefited with the use of proptech solutions.
A mix of using construction with technological advances and using cloud-based technology to help manage housing will help improve the current housing crisis. More homes need to be built every year and advanced technology, for instance modular construction, is one way to do this. Property software management platforms such as Re-leased or Arthur Online can not only help manage the tenancy journey, but also integrate with online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, opening up rooms to potential applicants. With an increase in flat shares and the flexibility or short-term tenancy agreements, the housing market opens up to a wider market.
Marc Trup is the Founder and CEO of Arthur Online
Marc fell into the property sector after selling his first business in 1998 to BUPA healthcare. Focusing on residential property, he built up a portfolio in and around the London area, starting off with a small block of flats. Over the following 15 years Marc grew his portfolio to manage over 85 properties. He wanted a system that allowed him to manage the portfolio from his iPhone, while drinking his espresso at the local coffee shop. Having searched online to find an app to help him do just that, he realised that it simply didn’t exist. So, he founded Arthur Online to make not only his life easier but that of other property managers. Arthur Online is a cloud-based platform that enables property managers to respond instantly and solve problems fast – be it with tenants, contractors, property owners or letting agents.