UK housing crisis

Housing crisis and homelessness learning materials

Hi there!

Sorry for my recent prolonged silence (if you’ve missed me!). I’ve had deadlines and stuff, but I’m planning to get blogging again this week!

For starters, here’s a list of resources for learning about the UK housing crisis that is pretty severe and extreme. For those living in areas still economically productive or, far more accurately, deemed economically productive by this preposterous, monstrous, and, I believe, moribund economic system, house price and rent rises are severe and are making vast areas of the UK simply unaffordable for most people. Of course, most of these people can’t simply up and leave, so instead they suffer the stress and anxiety of somehow finding the money to rent or the deposit to save or, alternatively, they end up staying at home with their parents for way longer than planned or desired. And that’s just the middle class option. For poorer folk, the options include direct or indirect compulsory removal from their home city or town, eviction, even homelessness. That’s the severity.

In terms of extreme, well, you can’t get more extreme than homeless people sleeping rough on the same street as peopleless homes! And you can’t get much more extreme than areas of one country where house prices are the highest in Europe and other areas (the ‘unproductive’ areas) where house prices are stagnant or falling.

Homeless People and Peopleless Homes

Our Oxford Democracy-Builders group is continuing to meet each month. Our next meeting will be on the housing crisis and homelessness in Oxford and the UK.
In Oxford, the housing crisis is both severe and extreme. We have the highest average income to house price ratio in the UK, I believe. Local resident and Oxford Prof Danny Dorling sees them as high as 15 times! So, that means that, in 2014, the average income was £26,500 and the average house price was £426,720! I’m not sure how accurate this is, but we did a rough calculation in a learning group with Danny and worked out that it would take the average Oxford resident over 200 years to save up for a deposit!

And this is all at historically low and artificially repressed interest rates. We’re in for one hell of a crash when this bubble bursts, but there are things we can do and there are things many people are doing already. Not just here, but in other countries, most notably perhaps in Spain.

So, here’s a list of resources. Please feel free to email me and I’ll add to it. I try to cover this in sections – facts, causes, opinions, and resistance/alternatives. By the way, you can’t do much worse than checking out the resources on Danny Dorling’s own page here or, indeed, reading his excellent book on the UK housing situation ‘All That is Solid’. And if you’re really short of time, just check out this excellent Prezi by Beth Stratford on the ‘drivers’ of the UK housing crisis.



Facts (see below for some graphs and infographics too)

Where can I afford to live? BBC Housing Calculator

If you’re a family on the National Living Wage, here’s where you can afford David Cameron’s new starter homes, The Independent, Oct 7th, 2015

Youth homelessness figure eight times higher than Government admits, says charity

Buyers from outside Oxford pushing up city property prices, Oxford Mail, 20th February, 2015

BBC, ‘Mortgages: Nearly one million ‘face difficulties”

Its causes

Housing Crisis: Mapping the drivers

Red Pepper, Home truths about housing

New Statesman, Osborne reveals true aim of Help to Buy: to inflate house prices


George Osborne’s housing-based revival stands on flawed foundations, Larry Elliott, The Guardian, October 5th, 2015

Frances Coppola, ‘The Illusory Housing Recovery’, 14th August 2013

The Economist, The Tories’ affordable-housing plan is a middle-class giveaway, Oct 8th, 2015

Chatham House, The Danger of High Home Ownership: Greater Wages, work and unemployment

Adam Smith Institute, ‘Britain needs more slums’

Resistance and alternatives

Proposal to build 3.5m homes in 40 UK towns wins the £250,000 Wolfson Prize

Reel News: Save Cressingham Gardens

Housing: It’s in Our Hands

The taxing question of land

BBC, London’s housing crisis: Five controversial solutions

average house prices-earnings 97-2013

Affordable housing deserts

Who owns all the land?House-building at record lows% of MP landlords

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