Britain in Need of More New Housing

Britain in Need of More New Housing

Britain, it would seem, has some pretty good trends currently going on. The population is growing with a healthy birth rate and people living much longer lives.

Life expectancy has risen from the beginning of the twentieth century, at around the late ‘40’s to the early fifty years old, rising by the 1930’s to around 60 years, by 1970 it was approaching 70 years of age, and today the average life expectancy is around 80 years.

The rate of net immigration is at record high levels, adding to the burgeoning population, but employment figures show that more people are in jobs today than ever before, and the economy is steadily rising.

These healthy statistics are actually some of the prime suspects in causing a huge countrywide “crisis”, that of the dire shortage of housing and house building.

House building in Britain has been a very modest shadow of its self for the last forty years. The demise of social housing, from its beginnings as building “homes for heroes” at the end of the First World War, to the high rise monoliths of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, has taken a huge proportion of the house building industry with it.

Social housing, or council houses as they became known, began to be built at a great rate after the shortages of the first war, and by the 1930’s housebuilding reached 350,000 a year.

After the hiatus of the second war, by the mid 1950’s councils were building 250,000 homes per year, and the heady ’60.s saw a combination of private and council construction figures of some 400,000 houses being created per year.

The ‘80’s saw the great sell off of council homes to their tenants, creating wealth, contributing to a rising property market, and the end of councils building houses to any great extent.

This and the property crash of the ‘90’s laid the foundation for the housing shortage we are seeing today.

Various government initiatives have had little overall effect on the house building industry, and although inquiries and reports have recommended that the country must build at least 240,000 homes per year, the industry has repeatedly struggled to build over half that figure.

The growing population, steady economic improvement over a decade, a seemingly endless supply of credit, and a lack of desire to build new houses have led the situation in Britain today, and the most painless solution must be the a boom in modern house construction.