Rural renting soars – councils demand long-term housing plan

Rural renting soars – councils demand long-term housing plan

0:06 AM, 26th March 2024, About 4 months ago 1

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England’s county councils are urging the next government to establish a long-term housing strategy after research reveals a massive rise in rural renting over the past decade.

The County Councils Network’s (CCN) report reveals that the rate of rural renting is outstripping that of London and major cities.

In county and rural areas, households in private or social rented accommodation have grown by more than half a million in the last 10 years.

Traditionally known for homeownership, shire counties have witnessed a decline in property purchases due to soaring house prices – pushing more people towards renting.

‘The housing crisis is one that is worsening’

CCN’s housing and planning spokesperson, Cllr Richard Clewer, said: “It is widely accepted that the housing crisis is one that is worsening, with rising unaffordability locking hundreds of thousands out of getting onto the property ladder.

“This new data reveals the impact of this in rural and county areas: with the rise in people renting in these places outpacing even London and the major cities, whilst home ownership rates have gone into decline.

“This growing unaffordability impacts on council services too, tipping more people onto local authority housing waiting lists, into homelessness, and into temporary accommodation where costs are increasingly becoming exorbitant.”

He added: “This report does not suggest that we alleviate these issues by concreting over our countryside.

“Instead, it sets out a number of important yet easily deliverable recommendations that, taken together, could accelerate the delivery of new homes of all tenures where there is most need.”

Long-term housing plan from the next government

Councils are calling for a long-term housing plan from the next government and say a commitment to delivering all housing types, along with a stronger focus on social housing, is needed.

They are also calling for policies like Right to Buy to be reviewed – and for the Renters (Reform) Bill to be quickly passed.

The report offers a detailed analysis of housing trends across 38 county and rural areas, and its key findings include:

  • A 19% increase (550,000 households) in rented properties (private and social) in rural and county areas between 2011 and 2021, surpassing growth rates nationwide
  • Rented properties now constitute nearly a third (31%) of all housing in counties
  • A dramatic rise in private renting within these areas, with 450,000 more households renting in 2021 compared to 2011 (a 31% increase) – exceeding London’s 25% growth. Nearly half of this surge occurred in the South East and East of England, suggesting an exodus from London due to high prices.
  • A decline of almost 200,000 property purchases in county areas over the past decade, highlighting worsening affordability issues.

Communities are still grappling with housing challenges

Despite delivering more than 606,000 new homes between 2018 and 2023, exceeding the rest of the country combined, county communities are still grappling with housing challenges.

Notably, 42,000 of these new properties were affordable homes, more than double the national average.

However, England has consistently fallen short of the government’s target of 300,000 homes to be built annually since a target was introduced in 2019.

This surge in renting and property unaffordability has hit county and rural councils with a 10% increase in council housing waiting lists (40,000 households) between 2018 and 2023.

There has also been a 52% rise in temporary accommodation use (over 6,000 households) in the past five years, and an 18% increase in homelessness (4,500 people) over the last three years.

The report argues that constant modifications to the planning system over the past decade have resulted in instability and hampered local authority efforts.

Now the councils say they want stability and a long-term housing plan from whoever wins the General Election.

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8:40 AM, 26th March 2024, About 4 months ago

It’s not a ‘housing crisis’. It’s a population crisis.

Fix the population and there’d be plenty of homes.

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