Report brands new homes in England as unaffordable and of poor quality

The current system of house building in England is failing families by producing high priced and poor quality homes that eight in 10 families cannot afford, a new report claims.

Some 83% of families who rent cannot afford to buy a typical new build home across the country even if they used the Government Help to Buy schemes, according to the report from housing charity Shelter.

The West Midlands ranked as the worst hit region and Shelter says that it is ‘staggering’ that 93% of families in the region are not able to afford to buy an average priced new home.

Alongside being unaffordable, many new build homes are also poor quality and the research carried out by Shelter and YouGov, some 51% of new home owners say they have experienced major problems with their properties including issues with construction, unfinished fittings and faults with utilities.

Shelter warns that the current housing system will never work for ordinary families because it rewards developers and land owners more interested in trading land at high prices than in building homes.

The charity has unveiled its New Civic Housebuilding which is says is an innovative model of house building designed that would deliver genuinely affordable, high quality homes.

‘Big developers and land traders are making millions from a rigged system while families struggle with huge renting costs and have to give up on owning a home of their own, which has become nothing more than a pipe dream,’ said Graeme Brown, Shelter’s interim chief executive.

‘For decades we’ve relied on this broken system and, despite the sweeteners offered to developers to build the homes we need, it simply hasn’t worked. The current way of building homes has had its day and it has failed the nation,’ he explained.

‘The only way to fix our ever growing housing crisis is for the Government to champion a bold new approach which responds to communities to build the genuinely affordable, beautiful homes they want as we have done as a country in the past. Until this happens, millions of ordinary families across the country will continue to pay the price,’ he added.

Shelter gives the example of Helen, 30, and her daughter Lily-Mae aged four who live near Manchester. Helen works full time as a manager in a hotel and cannot afford to buy a home.

‘Ownership is definitely not an option. Maybe it will be when I hit my 40s but it’s out of sight now. I’m fortunate at the moment because I have a good landlord. But there’s always the risk that you can get evicted for no reason and have to start again. That happened to my family several years ago and it caused a huge amount of stress,’ she said.

‘Everyone wants security, especially if you’ve got young children. You need it just to get on with life and not have to switch schools and things like that. There should definitely be more affordable housing for families that is realistically within reach of working people on a normal income. Something definitely needs to change,’ she added.


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