The proportion of owner occupied households remained unchanged in 2014-15
Week in Westminster
Published: 19 February 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper
The proportion of households which were owner occupied in 2014-15 remained unchanged at 64% from the previous year, according to latest English Housing Survey. The headline report for 2014-15 continued to show that the within the owner occupied sector, the proportion of households who owned outright (33%) remained larger than the proportion buying with a mortgage (30%). However, this is not the case in London where there were more mortgage borrowers (27%) than outright owners (23%). Meanwhile over the last decade, the private rented sector has seen an increase in both the number of families with dependent children (30% in 2004-05 to 37% in 2014-15), and younger people aged 25-34 (24% to 46%).
The Treasury committee has voiced its concern about the focus of government housing policy. In a report on the Autumn Statement, the committee said: “The chancellor’s attempts to resolve what he calls a ‘home ownership crisis’ should not come at the expense of the private rented sector. Housing policy in the UK has been in a mess for a long time – caused by the policies of successive governments over decades and often, their unintended consequences. Sooner or later more thorough going reform will be essential”.
In 2015 the DCLG commissioned an external evaluation of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme. The evaluation found that 82% of buyers would not have been able to buy without the scheme. 43% of additional new homes have been built as a direct result of the scheme. And there is no evidence that the scheme has pushed up house prices.
The Lords National Policy for the Built Environment committee has criticised government policy as unlikely to meet demand for either the quantity or quality of houses we need. Its report, Building Better Places, recommends that the government should reconsider including Starter Homes within the definition of affordable housing, as they cease to include any element of affordability after five years. The committee has also called on the government to reconsider additional elements of the Housing & Planning Bill which would undermine the maintenance of mixed communities. Other recommendations include the appointment of a Chief Built Environment Advisor to champion higher stands in the built environment across government departments.
Starter Homes could be out of reach for the majority of families in need of affordable homes in England, according to an analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA). The LGA is urging Lords to back amendments allowing councils to continue to ensure a mix of affordable homes based on local needs and to ensure that councils have the means to invest in the vital infrastructure home buyers and communities will rely on. The LGA is also calling for the discount on Starter Homes to be applied to them when they are resold to benefit future generations.