Professor David Robinson, Head of the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University, which has been undertaking housing and social affairs research projects for more than 20 years, has spoken out against Britain's 'deepening' housing crisis.
He says: 'The number of new houses being built is well short of meeting soaring demand; levels of home ownership are falling; and schemes such as Help to Buy have inflated the property market, but done little to address the shortfall in supply. Meanwhile... owner-occupation is out of the reach of millions, and many owner-occupiers are simply hanging on by their fingernails because interest rates are so low.'
He argues that radical changes to thinking on housing provision may be the only way to make a positive impact: 'Investing in good quality housing, which is paid for by tenants through their rent over the long-term, is actually a relatively cheap and viable financial model... but the idea of it doesn't sit with current political ideology... currently 90% of public investment in housing goes into housing benefit and only 10% goes into new housing, but you could reverse that... but politicians aren't comfortable with the idea of a return to the past.'
David also believes that the new government needs to prioritize giving people in privately rented housing the stability of a home. He argues that 'security and the ability to put down roots are incredibly difficult if you're on a 6 month tenancy contract. If 10 year tenancies can work in Germany and other European countries, where they provide security for both the landlord and the tenant, why can't they work here?' A question that will surely beg an answer come May.