Number of social rented homes falls by nearly 210,000

The supply of social rented homes has fallen by almost 210,000 in England over the last eight years, according to a new report.

The Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) annual UK Housing Review 2021 warns that despite 70,000 new social rented homes being built, over 280,000 have either been sold, converted to higher rents, or demolished since April 2012, creating a net loss of 209,351.

The two biggest reasons for this being right to buy sales (121,000) and conversions of letting to higher (‘affordable’) rents (116,000).

The review warns that the position is likely to get worse due to the pandemic. Just 10,531 affordable homes of all types were started under grant-funded programmes in the first half of 2020/21, compared with 17,980 for the equivalent period in 2019/20.

The government has promised 32,000 new social rented homes outside London in the next five years, but this is just 4,000 more than in the previous five years and will not replace future losses through right to buy sales.

‘The review shows the drastic effects that policy changes over the past few years have had on the supply of homes at lower ‘social’ rents,’ said CIH chief executive, Gavin Smart.

‘CIH has called for the investment needed to build 90,000 homes per year at social rents to address the backlog of housing need that has built up. It has also asked the government to suspend right to buy to help deal with the housing crisis, which the pandemic has only made worse.’

As always, this year’s UK Housing Review features chapters on a variety of housing-related issues written by leading analysts.
It is packed with statistics and analysis about housing, households, and welfare benefits across the UK and internationally, making it the prime source of information and analysis for all concerned with housing policy and finance.

Mark Stephens, professor of urban studies at the University of Glasgow and one of the Review’s main authors, added: ‘Our work shows that only 11% of new ‘affordable’ homes built in England are at genuinely affordable social rents, compared with nearly 70% in Scotland and over 80% in Wales. In contrast to England, Scotland’s social rented stock has grown by 25,000 over the last five years. Scotland and Wales have both halted right to buy. The review makes clear that building social rented homes addresses the most urgent housing needs and is the best use of public money.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay


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