THE path to winning the next general election runs directly through fixing Britain’s spiralling housing crisis.
That is the conclusion Rishi Sunak and his government seem to have reached, based on their latest announcements.
The truth is that Britain housing crisis is caused by spiralling migration – but no-one in Westminster will admit it[/caption]
Michael Gove has outlined plans to relax planning laws so empty high street shops can be converted into houses[/caption]
Aside from the promise to throw another £3billion into affordable homes, Housing Secretary Michael Gove spent the weekend outlining plans to relax planning laws so empty high street shops can be converted into new houses.
He also pointed to a long list of other changes.
Reforming the broken leasehold system. Banning no-fault evictions.
Making it easier for people to take back control of the management of their buildings from ruthless landlords.
And, I am told, cuts to stamp duty, new taxes to deter foreign investors from hoovering up properties in Britain and one per cent deposits for first-time buyers might also be on the cards.
This is all well and good.
But here is the awkward reality which nobody in Westminster is telling you.
It is nowhere near enough.
Why? Because talking only about the supply of housing completely ignores the big, fat, ugly elephant sitting in the room.
And that elephant is called demand.
The simple truth is that demand for housing is now massively outstripping supply.
And why is that?
It is not only because we have failed to build enough new homes for years.
It is because Britain is in the midst of a major, unprecedented population crisis being driven by record immigration.
Just look at the facts.
And that target was based on the dodgy assumption that 170,000 more people will migrate into Britain than leave each year.
In reality, in recent years, the rate of net migration has been around 700,000, all of whom need to be housed.
This is why the Centre for Policy Studies think tank just concluded that Britain actually needs to build at least 5.7million new homes in England over the next 15 years.
In other words, at least 382,000 homes each year for the next 15 years just to keep up with this immigration-driven population crisis.
Mass migration has not only sent demand for new housing through the roof, it is also driving up house prices and rents.
As the Migration Advisory Committee recently pointed out, a one percentage point increase in population because of immigration increases house prices by another one per cent, making homes even more unaffordable for young people and families.
Migration is also driving up rents, with more and more people in competition for a dwindling number of available properties.
In some parts of London more than 20 people are now competing to rent the same flat.
As the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory unit recently pointed out, while only 14 per cent of UK-born people are in the private rental market, almost 40 per cent of foreign-born and 75 per cent of recent migrants are.
FIDDLING AROUND EDGES
And it is a similarly bleak picture when it comes to social housing for the neediest in our society.
Almost half of all social housing in London goes to households headed by people not born in the country.
In the capital, for example, nearly three-quarters of all Somali households are in social housing.
When I pointed out these things on television a few weeks ago, the new elite who rule over us — the very liberal and very affluent graduates who live in the big cities and the university towns, who dominate the institutions in our society and who typically inherited their homes or the money for them from their typically affluent parents — went absolutely berserk.
Drawing attention to the fact that mass immigration is directly fuelling our housing crisis clashes with the elite’s “luxury beliefs”, the way in which they simultaneously demand more and more immigrants to project their liberal beliefs while knowing full well they and their families are not the ones who will have to compete with immigrants for scarce housing, rented flats and social housing.
And what is now crystal clear is that this crisis will only get worse unless we radically change course.
Just look at the latest projections of how Britain’s population will change in the years ahead.
By 2036, only 12 years away, Britain’s population is projected to explode by another 6.6million — 6.1million of which will be because of immigration — according to the Office for National Statistics.
This is equivalent to about five cities the size of Birmingham, and is 70 per cent of the way to a city the size of London
Where exactly are we going to house these people?
Seriously? Can anybody in Westminster tell me?
This is why, increasingly, many young Brits are now giving up on the social contract that has underpinned our country for decades — namely, that if you work hard and play by the rules you will get a foot on the housing ladder.
In my office in London, twentysomethings and thirtysomethings rightly complain that they are forced to pay half their monthly wage to live in a miserable flat alongside drug dealers and anti-social gangs and amid deteriorating, depressing neighbourhoods.
Unsurprisingly, young Brits are now rapidly giving up on the idea that their Baby Boomer leaders in Westminster are serious about solving the real drivers of the housing crisis, rather than just fiddling around the edges.
Michael Gove suggests they might even abandon democracy and capitalism if we do not find a way of helping them get a roof above their heads soon
I suspect he’s right.
So, let’s start by having a genuinely honest debate about what is really driving the housing crisis.
And let’s do that by accepting one simple fact.
Britain can either have mass, uncontrolled and unsustainable immigration.
Or it can have affordable and available housing.
It can’t have both.
Will there be a house price crash?
The last time property prices crashed was during the global financial crisis in 2008.
UK house prices reached an average of £190,032 in September 2007 and had dropped to £154,417 by February 2009 – a fall of more than 18%.
They did not regain that peak until August 2014. But what about house prices now and will they crash?
David Hollingworth, from broker firm L&C Mortgages, said despite major market volatility last year causing house prices to fall, he didn’t expect a crash any time soon in 2024.
He said: “It will take time but lower mortgage rates should help to encourage buyers that put their plans on hold last year to come back to the market.
“The lack of available property has supported prices to now but as confidence builds we could see activity pick up this year.
“December’s inflation figures will dampen the expectation for a base rate cut to be imminent but shouldn’t be enough to send mortgages rocketing, although it could potentially apply the brakes to rate reductions.
“There’s still uncertainty but overall things the outlook looks more positive and there’s little to suggest that house prices are set to crash.”