Affordable housing in time of crisis


UK housing crisis has been covered on ILMM on several occasions. This time, we are looking more at solutions and affordable housing. It is important to understand the reality of the crisis but solutions are key to success. They can be long term or requiring time and co-operation between various institutions. On the other hand, some unconventional solutions can help you get  dream house much faster.

Handful of facts

UK housing crisis shows itself as more families renting from private landlords. Those who want to buy, struggle to meet mortgage requirements. Third group, which owns households have difficulty keeping up with monthly payments. Those least fortunate, homeless people increase in number. It is estimated that every year there is more than 50,000 new homeless households. Young people find it increasingly difficult to save and buy houses on their own. There are more younger people now, in their late twenties or thirties, who cannot afford to move out of their parents homes. These are the reasons why affordable housing is increasing in demand.

Implemented and long term solutions

Some say that it is still possible to save up for the dream house. It will take time, more modest lifestyle and no holidays but is worth it. Others suggest buying house with another person, family member or a friend. This does not solve the problem immediately but is a mean to the goal. After some time of paying mortgage together, they will ideally be able to get places on their own.

What about the market? Currently, the UK is building half what is needed every year. The demand is 250,000 houses per annum. To meet it, there need to be more affordable housing options, which are still of high quality. This requires investments by the Government. Also, more builders and construction workers are needed. Currently, there is only a limited number of companies that control the construction market. And they decide when and what to build. Private investors are seen as another part of the solution. Changing restrictive planning laws, without lowering health and safety standards is also likely to help.

Counselling is an important aspect of current problems. It is crucial to advise those looking for their own place as well as private landlords. Informing them about lower costs of homeownership, protection, responsible lending is essential.

Less conventional affordable housing

Modular housing is an eco-friendly solution. It has been known for some time, but got upgraded with modern twists. These are smaller than conventional houses and so use less energy. The elements are made to fit perfectly, reducing the volume of waste produced.

It took a photographer Simon Dale 4 months and £3,000 to built his own ‘Lord of the Rings’-inspired house. Using his land in the woods, he constructed a house that makes use of naturally occurring materials. Flooring is made of scrap wood, walls of lime plaster and closely situated spring provides water. additionally, energy is provided by solar panels.

Tiny houses are gaining more attention. An example is architect Macy Miller’s home. The construction is of 196 square feet and took two years to complete. It turned out to be hard work but still a rewarding idea. With clever solutions and DIY projects, this tiny house was built with regard to concerns of the architect’s budget.

Another idea of affordable housing is not an ideal solution for British climate, but works for some countries. As crisis is affecting other parts of the world, pallet houses emerged. They were initially targeted at disaster solutions. They are eco-friendly and cheap. 2 x 6m construction requires approximately 80 pallets and only 500 US dollars.

We have also talked about container homes in the past. Click here to get inspired!

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