Affordable homes shortfall falling far short of demand

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has warned that the supply of new, affordable homes has fallen short of demand by 30,000 every year since 2011.

The charity, which is warning that such a shortfall will soon be equivalent to a city the size of Leeds, has said that the cumulative shortfall could reach 335,000 by the end of this Parliament, leaving vulnerable families in insecure housing as a result.

Current government plans are set to deliver less than 100 new low-cost rented homes a week, one-sixth of the extra supply needed, encouraging the foundation to urge the government to use its forthcoming Social Housing Green paper to commit to building 78,000 affordable homes a year so more families can enjoy a decent and secure life.

Tackling rent, the charity’s analysis shows that the London Borough of Westminster has the most unaffordable rents, at 79 per cent of the pay packet of a low-paid resident, followed by Kensington and Chelsea (77 per cent). Monthly rent-to-earnings ratios run at over 40 per cent in much of the South.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the foundation (JRF), said: “The Prime Minister has recognised that the housing market is broken and it’s welcome that the government wants to get the country building the homes we desperately need. But this must include homes that people on low incomes can afford. The government’s existing plans risk falling far short of the numbers of affordable homes required to ease the strain on families facing eye-watering private rents.

“Voters across all wage brackets want to see action on housing and it is simply not right that so many people in our country are locked out of the opportunity to build a decent and secure life because of crippling housing costs. The forthcoming social housing green paper must commit to increasing the supply of low-cost rented homes. The government can start by building 78,000 genuinely affordable homes a year. By fixing our broken housing market, we can help release people from the grip of poverty.”