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Another small tragedy from the front lines of the housing crisis

Getting on the ladder is an almost impossible dream for one person who has done everything right

March 15, 2013

Louise rents privately in London and has done since she graduated from university.  At first she shared with friends and then made the decision to move into a tiny bedsit for a few years so that she could save for a deposit on a home.  Louise thought that a few years of sacrifice would be worth it down the line.

Not so.  Ten years later, she is still living in the same tiny bedsit.  She has saved whatever she can each month, sacrificed on other luxuries (holidays etc) and now has a healthy amount of money in the bank.  The problem?  That chunk of money is nowhere near what she needs to get a foot on the housing ladder.

Even “affordable” options still require a hefty deposit and a large income – because “affordable” is often based on a couple’s income. A part buy scheme Louise decided to register with insisted she wasn’t eligible because her household income was less than £48,000 (two average incomes combined).

Louise is just one of many young people who have done everything right. She trained, got a job, lived sparsely for years to save and are still priced out of the housing market. This tragic story is a symptom of the serious crisis we face, one which successive governments have done little to alleviate

What is required is significant investment to provide the homes where they are desperately needed, and priced at a truly affordable level. It is telling that in the current spending round the government is spending a whopping £100 billion (yes billion) on housing. Yet only £5 billion is being spent on supply, the rest on demand side measures – the vast majority of this on housing benefit. Rather than lining the pockets of private landlords who charge un-affordable rents, propped up by housing benefit, we should be building to provide secure, comfortable, homes that are priced right. This is not impossible, and in the long-run will bring down the welfare bill as £20 billion (and rising) will no longer be required for housing benefit

Are you trying to get on the housing ladder? Finding even “affordable” options are unreasonable? Or maybe you have managed to buy your first home? We want to hear from you. Please email in your stories to hello@hoa.org.uk

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