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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Half of renters fear struggle as new figures reveal stark rise in rents


A dramatic rise in private rents compared to earnings revealed in new analysis by the Chartered Institute of Housing is putting housing out of reach for many people, the organisation has said.

CIH’s new research compares figures for average private rents and average earnings in England between May 2011 and May 2017.

The research, launched on the first day of Housing 2017, Europe’s biggest housing conference, shows that across England rents grew an average of 14.6% from May 2011 to May 2017 while wages are projected to have increased 10% over the same period.

In London the picture is much more severe where rents increased 22% over the period, nearly four times faster than the projected increase in average earnings of just 6%. While in the South East rents increased 15% compared to a projected 7% increase in average earnings.

In other regions in England rents went up in line with earnings or slower than earnings. But a new survey by Ipsos MORI for CIH has found that 52% of private renters across the UK are concerned they will not be able to afford their housing, 56% report a great deal or fair amount of stress being caused by housing costs, and 44% think they might have to move from their area in the future because the cost of housing is too high.

Terrie Alafat CBE, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “This analysis reveals just how stark the growth in private rents is in London and the South East, where it is clear there is now a very significant gap between the amount people earn and the cost of their housing.

"Our concern is that if this trend continues, more and more people will be unable to afford to rent a home – significantly increasing their risk of falling into arrears or becoming homeless.

"Though in other regions wages have risen in line with, or faster than rents, our national polling shows that even in those areas people are concerned about their ability to pay their rent and their housing costs are causing them stress.

“If this is the picture for working people then our concern is that for the many families who are out of work the situation is likely to be even more severe.

“Taken together, our analysis and the results of our polling highlight the desperate and urgent need for more investment in genuinely affordable housing options. Without this we will never solve the housing crisis.”

According to the English Housing Survey more than 4.5 million people now live in the private rented sector in England and the number of people renting privately has more than doubled since 2002.

A survey of 2,195 people conducted by Ipsos MORI for CIH found that private renters were significantly more concerned about their housing costs with 52% saying they fear they will not be able to afford the cost of their housing compared to 27% across the wider public.

Meanwhile 56% of private renters reported a great deal or fair amount of stress being caused by housing costs compared to 33% of people across all types of housing.

And 44% think they might have to move from their area in the future because the cost of housing is too high, compared to just 23%.

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