Michael Holmes, the property expert and spokesperson for The Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show has released comments about why the UK housing market is struggling, if not broken at the moment, and what actions could be taken to resolve and overcome the challenges that are faced in this industry.
The essential reason that the UK housing market is in crisis is quite simple, there are too few properties available for those wanting to either buy or rent. There are not enough properties because of two different possible reasons: either regional policy has done little or nothing to stop employment and wealth from forming a cluster around Greater London and the South East of England; or too few new homes have been built in previous generations, leading to a starved market with a large amount of people all looking at the same small pool of properties.
The solution to the housing market is again seemingly obvious: improving transport and infrastructure and create new employment opportunities in areas where housing is currently most affordable as well as building more homes in the areas where people want and need to live.
Michael Holmes feels that the creation of more homes can only take place by granting planning permission for more developments in more locations but this leads to problems. It is universally acknowledged that more housing needs to be built to meet demand, but this is faced with contradictions, with developments either being rejected or built in areas away from where people want to live. The “not in my backyard” mentality means that too few developments are being built in the areas where there is the highest level of demand, creating a generation of people who, at the moment have no other option other than to rent and forming an incredibly divided society. The status of the housing market as it is slowly killing local communities, in Green Belt and open country in particular, with small villages becoming a prime location for dormitory or retirement developments that are inaccessible to anyone under the age of 50.
With limited choice and a lack of competition in the housing market, Michael Holmes feels that the mentality required for improvement to the housing market is that no settlement is too small to sustain at least some development.