EM Update: What does the East Midlands housing crisis look like?
CIH and NHF have both recently published reports that give valuable insight into the housing crisis facing the East Midlands as a whole, but also how this varies from one authority area to another.
The NHF Home Truths report tells us that the East Midlands is not building enough new homes to keep up with demand; over the next 20 years, 385,000 new households are expected to form in the region. At current building rates, there will be a shortfall of over 220,000 homes by 2031.
This ongoing shortage will only exacerbate the difficulties many working families face in meeting their housing costs; currently almost a fifth of all households claiming Housing Benefit are in work – up more than 10 percentage points since 2008.
The picture varies significantly across the East Midlands and while the average house price for the region, £166,526, is below the national average, in areas such as South Northamptonshire and Rutland, average house prices exceed £260,000. However, average wages in Rutland, for example, remain below the national average, meaning the average house costs more than 10 times the average annual income. Elsewhere in the region, there is a high quantity of long-term empty homes, with Bolsover and Derbyshire Dales seeing the highest proportion of the 20,000 total.
A CIH report about housing and the related challenges that the East Midlands region faces echoes many of the NHF’s findings, including the unaffordability of both buying and renting a home in many parts of the region and the severe shortage of housing compared to demand.
The CIH report identifies that 25% of the region’s increasing population will be aged 65 and over (the largest increase in all the English regions) and 8% will be aged under 16.
Regarding working families claiming housing benefit, the CIH report highlights that to rent in the private sector without relying on housing benefit, an income of £27,000 a year is required, but almost 60% of the region’s population earns less than this.
Both reports call on the government to make a commitment to end this crisis facing the East Midlands and for those wishing to support this call, to use these documents as a tool to engage with current MPs and candidates, local councillors and other decision makers in your area. By working with the government, private developers, landlords, planners and others in the housing sector, housing professionals can make an essential contribution to ending the housing crisis in the East Midlands.