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

Housing entering awkward teenage years


The housing market is currently in the spotty teenage years of the 21st century – we have low interest rates, affordability is high, but the market is still depressed - so what is the problem?

This is the question that Yolande Barnes, head of Savills Residential Research, posed to delegates at the Chartered Institute of Housing South West Housing Event held in Torquay last week.

The problem, she explained, is one of a lack of availability of credit - mortgage finance is suppressed meaning those with equity are becoming more and more important to the UK housing market. "We now have a split situation with equity haves and equity have-nots. It’s not affordability that is the issue in the UK housing market it’s accessibility. The average age of the first time buyer in the UK is now 39 years" said Ms Barnes.

This new housing crisis will affect people with reasonable incomes but a lack of equity. Renting will become as important to the UK housing sector as it is in many European countries with increasing numbers forced to rent property into their late 30s early 40s. Shared ownership could also become a very popular option with those buyers who have the affordability but no equity to raise a much needed deposit.

Ms Barnes urged the housing sector to develop new types of homes – proposing build-to-let in totally integrated communities where there is a sustainable community with businesses, shops, builders' yards, funeral parlours, schools and churches.


The CIH South West Housing Event took place at the Palace Hotel in Torquay from 14 - 16 April 2010. For more information and photos of this event go to

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