Money Wellness
Aerial view of rows of terraced houses
category iconHousing
calendar icon11 Sep 2023

Housing at risk of become unaffordable for a fifth of families

A fifth of households in England will need to spend over a third of their income on housing by the end of the next parliament without urgent action from the government, a housing body has warned.

According to the National Housing Federation (NHF), rising mortgage rates and private rents, along with a chronic shortage of social housing, will see a huge rise in the number of people struggling to meet their housing costs.

1.7 million more households will struggle

A new report carried out on behalf of the group found that by 2030 another 1.7 million households will be living in unaffordable homes, including:

  • Another 600,000 with unaffordable private rents, taking the total to 2.2 million
  • 1 million more with unaffordable mortgages, taking the total to 1.9 million
  • 350,000 more on the waiting list for social housing, taking the total to 1.5 million
  • 150,000 homeless children living in emergency accommodation – the equivalent of six children in every school in England

Poorest will be hardest hit

The NHF, which represents housing associations, warned that poorest households will suffer the most. It explained future rent rises will see more families facing:

  • overcrowded conditions
  • poverty
  • debt
  • homelessness

Record levels of homeless children

Previous research by NHF released earlier this year found:

  • more than 310,000 children are sharing a bed with their parents or siblings
  • the number of homeless children in temporary accommodation has reached record levels at 130,000

Failures of successive governments

The NHF said failures by successive governments have caused the problems.

It pointed to decisions including the 63% cut in funding for affordable housing in 2010 as contributing to the current situation.

It said that decision alone led to an 80% fall in the number of new social homes being built. This resulted in more low-income families being forced to take on unaffordable and insecure privately rented homes.

No time to lose

NHF chief executive Kate Henderson said:

“Without urgent action from government, by the end of the next parliament many more families will be left living in unsuitable and unaffordable housing, affecting their health, economic security and life chances.”

A long-term plan

The NHF is calling for a long-term plan to build 90,000 social rented homes each year for the next decade. It says the plan must:

  • be ambitious and measurable
  • be properly funded
  • include money for the regeneration of existing homes to bring them up to a decent standard
Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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