UK housing shortfall – crisis or opportunity?

There is a saying that an Englishman’s home is his castle. Although not all UK housing is medieval, it is starting to creak with age. The UK has the oldest housing stock in Europe. Nearly 40% of residential property was built before the end of the Second World War. More than one in five dwellings has been standing for more than a century.

It’s not just the buildings that are getting old: so are the homeowners. Two-thirds of “owner-occupiers” are over 65. The fabled Englishman’s castle is increasingly the preserve of wealthy baby-boomers.

This pattern, to some extent driven by affordability pressures and the fact that people are living longer, is further exacerbated by the UK’s consistent failure to build sufficient volumes of new housing. Local Authorities have all but stopped their own building programmes, and although Housing Associations have replaced them as social landlords, for the last ten years, the political agenda has pushed for the private sector to lead the delivery of housing.

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