Of the 30,320 households in Burton, 10,437 of those properties don’t only have one spare bedroom, but two spare bedrooms or, in my case, a junk room! This is a big issue and could be the cure for Burton’s growing housing crisis. The fundamental problem in the area is that the supply of homes to live in has not historically met demand, increasing property values and rents, thus ensuring home ownership can become an unattainable ambition for some.
Demand needs to drop or supply needs to rise to stop this trend getting worse for the generations to come. Don’t get me wrong, I admire Downing Street’s plans to build 200,000 starter homes which will be offered to first time buyers under 40 with a minimum 20% discount price. However, the building of starter homes on current building sites, where new homes builders already have to build a certain number of affordable ‘starter’ homes at the moment under a different scheme, does not increase the stock of new ‘starter’ homes, it simply replaces one affordable scheme with another.
One option that could resolve the housing crisis is if the Government literally looked closer to home, concentrating on matching households with the appropriate sized home.
In Burton, 21,466 households have one spare bedroom and of these, 10,437 have two or more spare bedrooms.
This compares to 1,206 households in Burton that are overcrowded – more people than bedrooms.
Looking specifically at the homeowners of Burton, 7,379 owner occupied houses have one spare bedroom. Now having a spare bedroom is not considered a luxury. However, in addition to those 7,379 households, there are on top, a further 9,105 owner occupied Burton households with two or more spare bedrooms.
I am beginning to see there is spare capacity in the Burton housing market. Principally, I will concentrate on the group that makes up the bulk of this category, the owner occupiers of large properties, in their 60’s and 70’s, where the kids flew the nest back in the 80’s and 90’s. They call it ‘downsizing’, when you sell a big property, where the extra bedrooms are no longer required, to move into a smaller and, usually, less expensive property.
However, there are many reasons why people don’t downsize; family home, friends in the area and, what if every grandchild decided to visit at the same time and brought their friends! On a more serious note, more and more people are beginning to downsize earlier, but not at a fast enough rate. As the years go one, we will have a situation where younger families will be living in smaller houses, whilst all the large houses have empty-nesters rattling around them!
I believe the Government should put more weight behind downsizing, because with the right incentives, many could be encouraged to think again and make the spare rooms available.
It would have to be incentives, as the using the stick instead of the carrot would be political suicide for any party. One option is to allow retired downsizers not to pay stamp duty on the new property, saving them thousands of pounds and another for the planners to work with builders to build not only starter homes for under 40’s, but also have housing built just for retired downsizers… or is this one step too far in ‘social engineering’?
The fact is not enough properties are being built and with population rising at a faster rate, something needs to be done. There is an opportunity in the coming 20 years for people to supplement their pension by buying smaller properties to rent out as that is where the demand will be in the coming years.
Call me on 01283 517444 on any aspect of property in Burton!