The UK’s housing crisis is such that it’s very hard to find affordable housing. The general issue is that not enough houses are being built to satisfy demand. The government itself is struggling to meet the demand for council housing, with a target of building 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s that it isn’t currently meeting (though there is a debate as to whether these targets may be based on outdated predictions concerning household growth).
What does the shortage mean for house buyers?
Buying housing through both the private and public sectors can be a challenge, thanks to rising costs.
On top of this, house buyers usually need to pay conveyancing or solicitors’ fees. They can handle contracts, deal with the Land Registry and transfer money to pay for a property. Both specialise in property, but a conveyancer is often cheaper. This is because solicitors have more in-depth knowledge of Property Law that helps if there are any complex legal issues during a house sale.
In line with the increasing demand for housing, many conveyancing and solicitors’ fees have also gone up.
For context, let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind this housing shortage.
1. Construction costs
As with most other things, costs have risen in the construction industry, making it harder to build affordable homes for people who need them.
Supply chain disruptions during the pandemic led to shortages in materials and skilled labour, leading to increased demand and higher prices. In addition, inflation and soaring energy prices have also taken their toll. By July 2022, the UK’s construction costs had reached an annual growth rate of nearly 10 per cent.
2. Leaving the EU
The construction industry was slowed down by the uncertainty it faced in the wake of Brexit. As it was hard to predict the effect this would have on the industry, the process of setting up new contracts was stunted for some time. Some building contractors tried to ensure any additional risk would sit with the client, meaning projects were progressing slowly.
Additionally, many of the construction industry’s workforce in the UK were EU nationals, meaning that a quarter of its workforce was lost.
Inevitably, COVID-19 took a huge toll on the industry, and it was unlucky that this happened in quick succession to Brexit. The supply chain issues were such that there was even a point when the UK suffered from a national shortage of plaster, causing prices to balloon. The supply chain itself is running much more smoothly now, though higher prices and labour shortages remain.
Finding a new house to live in isn’t often easy in today’s climate. To make the process easier for you, make sure you find the right conveyancer and estate agent to guide you along the process.