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Home threat hotspots

Thousands face losing their homes each week
Jody Whitehill, Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

New research from the Ministry of Justice shows that more than 8,300 people face losing their home every week in England.



Londoners face the highest risk of losing their home because of repossession from mortgage lenders and landlords.



The figures show ‘home threat hotspots’, which are the areas in the country with the highest number of households that have been threatened with repossession.



The first 14 hotspots are all in London, where there is the biggest housing shortage and highest housing costs.



“The UK has a structural lack of housing supply, especially in the areas where the jobs mostly are,” said Jonathan Portes, director of national institute of economic and social research (NIESR).



The cost of an average house has risen to ten times the average salary and fourteen in London, according to figures by the Office of National Statics.



“This continuous rise in the cost of housing is unsustainable, prices in both the rental and sales markets simply don’t match with people’s incomes,” said Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner.



“This is further proof that Britain’s housing market is in crisis, with growing waiting lists for fewer and fewer social homes, increasingly exploitative rents in the private sector and unrealistic prices to buy, we need an emergency plan to address it.



“Government, rather than flogging off our social housing stock, should be investing at a time of low interest rates, in a massive council house building program and offering incentives under a ‘right to build’ not ‘right to buy’ scheme” he added.



There are also 3m adult children living at home with their parents because they cannot afford to get a foot on the property ladder, renting or buying.



“Add in the Tories brutal welfare cuts and the fact that salaries are not rising in line with house prices and it’s no wonder that families can barely afford to stay afloat,” said Turner.



Last year the Bank of England instructed banks to limit the amount of mortgages they give out that are more than 4.5 times the salaries of those applying, making homeownership now out of reach of many people.



“People who can no longer afford to buy are being forced into rented accommodation, making them vulnerable to soaring rents and landlords who fail to meet their responsibilities. Not being able to live near work has a knock on effect on families and communities, too,” added Turner.



Recently tenant evictions have overtaken mortgage repossessions. In the London Borough of Enfield one in 21 households in rented accommodation faced possession claims compared with home owners at one in 171.



“The problem needs to be addressed with an emergency plan. London’s housing cannot be left to a failed market,” Turner went on to say. “We must take back our land, force mixed social and private use in new developments, end the use of housing as an investment and introduce rent controls alongside landlord registration and new guaranteed tenant security rights. In short, we need to build more homes and to regulate a failed market, plain and simple.”




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