June 18, 2013
Jules Birch, Insde Housing
As average asking prices pass £250,000 for the first time, two-thirds of the under-45s seem to have given up on the idea of ever owning a home.
Two surveys out today underline the point that what’s ‘good news’ for existing owners is exactly the opposite for people struggling to get on to the housing ladder.
Rightmove says that the market in the ‘under-priced’ (its word not mine) South East has ‘lifted off’ with asking prices rising by 14.8 per cent in the first six months of 2013 alone. However, the average increase across England and Wales is 10.4 per cent and the increase is even 5.8 per cent in the least buoyant region, the East Midlands. More
June 2, 2013
"Bedroom Tax", Swindon Advertiser, Swindon Council, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
By David Wiles, Swindon Advertiser May 30th 2013
A CAMPAIGN group has collected 1,200 signatures in a petition against the reduction in housing benefit for social housing tenants, which came into force last month.
Claimants of working age deemed to have one spare bedroom, lost 14 per cent of the benefit (on average £12 a week) and those with two or more spare bedrooms lost 25 per cent (on average £21.81 a week).
Swindon Tenants’ Campaign Group started a petition before the change came into force, calling on Swindon Council to press the Government to repeal what critics have dubbed the bedroom tax, and to make a commitment not to evict tenants in difficulty as a result. More
May 26, 2013
"Bedroom Tax", Swindon Council, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
Swindon Council organised a briefing for tenants on Friday on the Council’s proposal for a ‘back-up fund’ for people affected by the ‘bedroom tax’. Currently the Council has money from the government in the form of the ‘discretionary housing payment’ which can be used to help tenants in financial difficulties. They have been given ￡281,000 for this year. According to the latest figures 1,095 households are subject to a cut in their housing benefit, roughly 4 out of 5 facing a cut of 14% the rest a cut of 25%. Consequently the DHP money is unlikely to last the year. Of the households affected only around 150 have received a DHP payment thus far, for 18 weeks only, because of the uncertainty over how far the money will stretch. So there are no guarantees that those who have been given a DHP payment will continue to receive it for the rest of the year. More
May 22, 2013
Council House building, Swindon Advertiser, Swindon Council, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
This is a letter to the Swindon Advertiser
Time for a Council house building programme
The latest Swindon Housing list statistics for April 2013 show a continuation of the unrelenting rise in household numbers on it. There was an increase of 575 households in just three months from January to April, from 15,093 to 15,688. The priority households increased from 7,010 to 7,292. This is no surprise. According to the Council’s own estimate each year there are 800 too few “affordable homes” built in Swindon. House prices remain too high for many people to buy. The average price is 6.4 times the average income in the town.
Meanwhile the high private rented sector (PRS) rents mean that more families struggle to make ends meet. This is reflected in the rise of the number of people in the PRS claiming Housing Benefit. Over the 4 years to last November, it rose steeply from 2,660 to 4,660. Between the two censuses in 2001 and 2011, PRS households increased from less than 6,000 to over 14,000. The number of people living in PRS nearly tripled to over 32,000. This is the result of inflated house prices and/or deposits being beyond their reach, and the acute shortage of ‘social housing’. More
May 13, 2013
Buy to Let
By Jules Birch, Inside Housing
So, three years after it was pronounced dead, can anything stop buy to let squeezing out owner-occupation?
Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) yesterday showed that loans to landlords accounted for 13.4 per cent of the £165.6 billion worth of outstanding mortgages in the first quarter of the year. That’s up from 13.0 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and just 9.8 per cent at the start of the credit crunch in 2007.
All of which makes it easy to forget that it was only three years ago when the last rites were being delivered for buy to let by probably its best-known pioneers, Fergus and Judith Wilson. The former teachers built a 700-home empire but by 2010 they were bailing out and telling The Guardian that buy to let was ‘absolutely dead and will never return’. More
April 30, 2013
"Bedroom Tax", "Right to Buy", Coalition government, Council House building, Council housing debt, Housing Waiting List, Private rented homes, Swindon Council, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
Download a PDF of this here swindoncouncilhstrat
Swindon Council is looking to develop what it calls “an overarching housing strategy, which will encompass social housing, intermediate and private market housing and include a refined approach to the challenge of vulnerable people facing homelessness.” It intends to organise a conference as part of the consultation process and ‘evidence gathering’. These are some initial observations on the document passed at the last Council meeting, “Housing Market Support”. Swindon Tenants Campaign Group will submit a more detailed paper to the consultation.
The Council’s document, “Housing Market Support”, does recognise some elements of the housing crisis which we face locally and nationally. It points out that: More
April 17, 2013
"Bedroom Tax", Swindon MPs, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
This is a letter to the Swindon Advertiser
You can’t fit people into homes that do not exist
Swindon South MP Rob Buckland recently wrote to a tenant explaining why he supported the ‘bedroom tax’. Considering all the resources at his disposal our MP doesn’t appear to have accurate information on the housing waiting list in the town. He reckoned there are “12,000 people on the Council waiting list for housing, of which 4,000 of those are in actual need”.
In fact if the MP and his well financed machine cared to look at the Council website they will see that in January of this year there were 15,093 households on the Housing List. Of these 12,784 households were on the waiting list. To this must be added 2,309 households on the Transfer list which consists of existing tenants, both of the Council and Housing Associations. It includes families that are, according to the ‘bedroom standard’ over-crowded. More