Councils warn of ‘home-owning hopelessness’ for private renters

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned of ‘home-owning hopelessness’ for private renters and first buyers.

59 per cent of private renters on the lowest incomes in England never expect to own their own property because they will not be able to afford one, figures from the latest English Housing Survey show.

The survey also shows that there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of renters that say affordability will stop them from buying their own home. In 2008/9, the proportion of this group was 56 per cent, compared to 70 per cent in 2015/16.

LGA said councils need powers and funding to create a mix of affordable housing options, both for renters and first buyers.

LGA is also concerned as 21 per cent of private renters report to be dissatisfied with their tenure, compared to less than one per cent of owner occupiers; and just 2.7 per cent of renters said they rented because they preferred the flexibility of the tenure, suggesting that most renters would like to own, but cannot afford the home they need.

It is additionally concerned with the fact that the average homebuyer is expected to pay 7.6 times their annual wages for a home, locking many renters out the housing market.

Martin Tett, LGA’s Housing spokesman, said: “It’s worrying that so many people renting a home feel a sense of home-owning hopelessness.

“We know that the shortage of houses is a top concern for people as homes are too often unavailable, unaffordable and not appropriate for the different needs in our communities. All types of homes - including those for affordable and social rent – have to be built to solve our this shortage, boost affordability and increase home ownership.

“For this to happen, councils desperately need additional flexibility, and access to funding, to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes.

“This means being able to borrow to invest in housing and to keep 100 per cent of the receipts from properties sold through Right to Buy to replace homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need.”

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