A Solution To The Housing Crisis?

11 November 2016

There have been many proposed solutions to curb the housing crisis, which has seen a lack of supply for an overwhelming demand in property, such as the stamp duty hike. As the situation deepens, the government are looking at new ways to alleviate the issue and to reach their goal of having affordable homes by 2020. This week, the Daily Mail has reported on a new plan to that the government has to accomplish its mission.

The government has a target of 1 million homes to attain in 4 years, and they are hoping this will be done with the idea of creating prefabricated homes. These homes will be pre-packed ‘modular’ properties that will have a simple and cost-effective design. Next month the government will set out measures to encourage banks to lend to firms who will construct the homes off-site then deliver them to the place where they will be ready for people to dwell in. In the article featured on the Daily Mail website, it mentions that another problem that has exacerbated the housing crisis has been the influx of hundreds of migrants and the pledge to rehouse them in the UK. A pressure group headed by Lord Green of Deddington, Migration Watch, has noted that this will cause tensions between UK residents who have been waiting for social housing and higher priority immigrant families who have been promised by the government that they will be given homes. They stated: ”Priority for social housing is largely determined by need and so some ‘high need’ immigrant families will gain access to housing over longer standing local residents deemed to be of lower need. This can be contentious. In the future, any housing strategy must address both supply and demand. Immigration is a major part of housing demand.” This view has been supported by former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. He warned that immigration will price out young people from the housing market, and the more opportunities immigrants are given, the more likely they will be favoured over British citizens in need of better housing.

As the crisis is continuing in a downward spiral, this new initiative may be the answer in offsetting the demand for more affordable social housing. These prefabricated properties hark back to darker times of British history, specifically during World War II, where these ready-made homes – nicknamed ‘prefabs’ – appeared across the country as families needed to be rehoused after attacks from the Germans had destroyed their homes. Today, the quality of the homes will be better than their predecessors due to advances in technology, techniques and processes. Gavin Barwell, the housing and planning minister has highlighted that ”the £3 billion Home Building Fund will help build more than 225,000 new homes and provide loans for small firms, custom builders, off-site construction and essential infrastructure, creating thousands of new jobs in the process.”

If this is to go ahead, this new idea may a step in the right direction in finding a solution for the ever-increasing demand for affordable homes, as well as help the government reach their target. However, with a migrant crisis also taking effect, there could be a spanner in the works to this retrospective initiative.