May 25, 2024

Cramped, cold and damp – too many uk homes are sub-standard, property association says

TOO many UK homes are “cramped, cold and prone to dampness” a leading property expert has said.

Jonathan Rolande said a damning report which lambasted much of our housing stock, was “correct”.

The Resolution Foundation study concluded the UK’s housing stock is also the oldest in Europe with four-in-ten homes built before 1946 meaning many were poorly insulated as a result.

Commenting on the report Jonathan Rolande, founder of House Buy Fast, said: “The poor state of housing as highlighted by The Resolution Foundation Report shows that many of our homes are suffering in the same way as much of our other infrastructure – railways, roads, school buildings, water services, wherever we look we see a similar issue.

“A huge proportion of our housing stock is pre-war, the typical Victorian terrace. Many that aren’t were hastily built immediately after the war to replace the two million lost to bombing. The Foundation explains that these properties are cramped, colder and more prone to dampness. This is correct.

“However, the reason that UK homeowners and tenants are more hard done by than their foreign counterparts isn’t simply because of the age or style of property, it is more deep rooted than that. The issue is not the stock, it is the price.

“Newer homes – even brand new (perhaps especially brand new) have their own problems too. Older properties are usually well built, solid internal walls make them well soundproofed, and they have large lofts and large windows. Even the cheapest will usually have decent outside space. The issue is a lack of surplus income to carry out essential repairs and energy-saving upgrades. Those that are let suffer because landlords are not properly incentivised to improve their tenant’s homes.

The issue is supply, there are too few homes full stop, irrespective of their age. If more, many more, were built, prices and rents would be less volatile and gradually, our housing stock would become better value for money.”

According to the Resolution Foundation report, countries that have a similar level of prosperity to the UK consume more housing in terms of amount per person than we do here. Britain’s total expenditure per capita is just 4 per cent lower than that of Austria, for example, but we spend 24 per cent less on housing per person than Austrians do. The equivalent figures for Canada are 2 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

Overall, when it comes to housing, UK households are getting an inferior product in terms of both quantity and quality, the report claimed.

Compared to our general price levels, the UK was ranked by the Foundation as having the highest quality-adjusted price of housing of any developed economy.