Where people live and their type of accommodation can have a profound effect on their health, wellbeing and quality of life, and ability to be independent.
What are the big issues?
Nationally, home ownership remains under the spotlight, and between 2001 and 2011 the first fall in ownership was seen during the last century. Reasons for the drop in ownership include high house prices, tightening of bank and mortgage lending requirements triggered by the 2008 recession, declining wage growth, and rising inflation. To address this government introduced the ‘Help to Buy’ mortgage scheme open to first time buyers and home movers.
The abolition of regional spatial strategies in 2011 has resulted in district and borough councils being required to produce Local Core Strategies which contain planning policies to guide the development and use of land. In addition to demand for local housing, there is potential need for Warwickshire to take some of the housing needs that neighbouring authorities cannot accommodate.
The housing affordability ratio for Warwickshire at 2016 was 7.8, meaning that somebody in the lowest quartile for earnings would need 7.8 times their annual income in order to purchase a property in the lowest quartile of house prices. In comparison, the ratio in 1997 was just under 4. The district/borough Local Core Strategies take into account the need for additional affordable housing in their local areas.
In April 2013 the government removed its spare room subsidy for those living in housing association houses/property, under the new rules having one spare bedroom would mean losing 14% of entitled housing benefit. Reported negative impacts of this are the loss of purchasing power for those affected particularly for food and utilities
The two South Warwickshire Districts are above the Warwickshire average for the measure of housing affordability with Stratford-on-Avon District residents on the lowest income needing 10.2 times their average income to afford the lowest priced housing. Stratford-on-Avon District also has the highest percentage of those claiming housing benefit who are affected by the so called ‘bedroom tax’ and has the highest percentage of Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in the top 30% of the Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2015 (IMD 2015) barriers to housing domain. For these housing measures a clear split can be seen between north and south of the county suggesting disparity between the two areas.
Studies into UK rental prices revealed that in 2016/17 the average rent paid by private tenants in England and Wales was £768 per month. Whilst home ownership is an aspiration for many Warwickshire residents, it is increasingly difficult for many to achieve.
House building slumped during the recession starting in 2008, and has been very slow to recover since then. Nationally, it is widely accepted that the UK is not building enough houses to keep up with demand, with the government announcing it wants a million homes built in England by 2020. Between 2011 and 2014 the National Housing Federation estimated 974,000 homes were needed but figures from 326 councils showed only 457,490 were built during that period.
Rugby Borough is projected to see a 26.9% or 11,000 increase in the number of households from 2012 to 2037, taking the total to over 53,000. In contrast, North Warwickshire Borough is projected to see an increase of 14.7% or 4,000, taking the total number of households to just under 30,000.
What do we need to do?
The pressures on housing in Warwickshire will need careful monitoring, to ensure that the right housing is being provided in the right areas, whilst meeting the changing demographics of the county.
Who needs to know?