Affordable housing refers to houses that are accessible to those who cannot afford to buy or rent at market rates. It is meant to provide housing alternatives for those with lower incomes, key workers, and vulnerable groups such as the aged, disabled, or homeless.
The demand for affordable housing has expanded tremendously not only in London over the previous few decades, but also globally. People are finding it increasingly difficult to locate a place to live as the city’s population grows and the cost of living rises. As a result, everyone, including legislators, housing providers, and residents, is concerned about affordable housing.
So, if you’re thinking about buying one for yourself, don’t worry; this blog will provide in-depth knowledge on the concept of affordable housing, it’s significance in London, and how we can improve the housing situation to improve the quality of life for current and future generations.
What is Affordable Housing?
Affordable housing is defined as housing that is intended to be freely available to all people, regardless of age or income. Though affordable housing is defined differently in different countries, the basic concept remains the same: affordable housing should meet the housing needs of low and middle-income households. Affordable housing has emerged as a key issue, particularly in developing nations where the majority of people cannot afford to purchase a home at market pricing.
The most essential component in determining affordability is people’s discretionary money. As a result, meeting the growing demand for affordable housing has become the government’s extended obligation. The Indian government has taken many initiatives to meet the increased demand for affordable housing, including collaborating with select developers and emphasizing public-private partnerships (PPP) for the development of these units.
Types of Affordable Housing in London:
Following are the affordable housing two subcategories:
- Affordable social housing:
Affordable social housing is constructed for the council to rent out to those on low wages, government aid, or vulnerable people such as the elderly or struggling families. According to the UK government, 47,355 cheap residences were started in England in 2020-2021, with 43% of these being affordable rental units. In London, 20,360 affordable apartments were started, with 56% of them being for rent.
- Affordable market housing
In contrast, affordable market housing is designed and developed to be rented or sold at cheap prices in accordance with affordable housing targets. This form of accommodation is designed to assist young professionals and people with lower salaries in gaining entry to the property ladder or affording a more inexpensive living arrangement. Savills reported that the overall number of affordable houses sold in London climbed by 20% in 2019, with shared ownership being the most popular option for affordable home ownership.
Why Affordable Housing is Important to London?
Given the high cost of living in London, affordable housing is critical, as proven by various statistics and studies. Because the cost of living in London is significantly higher than the national average, it is difficult for low-income individuals and families to live there without incurring significant debt.
The London Plan, which requires 60% of all new houses to be affordable, serves as a harsh reminder of the current housing shortage’s severity and its ramifications for all segments of the housing market. Rental rates have risen as a result of the housing crisis, as many people struggle to find properties that they can afford based on their income, causing in a struggle for survival. As a result, affordable housing can benefit people from all walks of life and economic backgrounds by providing a much-needed solution to London’s housing crisis.
What is the Eligibility Criteria for Affordable Housing in London?
The inability to afford housing offered by the private sector determines eligibility for affordable housing. Councils usually require documentation of a local connection for more than five years before being placed on a waiting list. Priority for housing assistance is given to UK and Irish citizens, while EU citizens are usually eligible. Refugees can also receive assistance if they have applied for asylum and have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection.
Priority is given to MoD personnel (Ministry of Defence), individuals already on council waiting lists, and those in demonstrable housing need, such as those living in overcrowded or poor conditions, split families, or facing harassment. For shared or intermediate housing, the current threshold criteria set by the Mayor of London is a gross income of no more than £71k for accessing a home of up to two bedrooms, or £85k for accessing a home of three bedrooms or more.
How is it Possible to Improve the Quality of Affordable Housing?
Improving the quality of affordable housing is also important. This includes homes that are safe, comfortable, and energy-efficient. It also entails developing communities that provide vital amenities such as schools, healthcare facilities, and public transportation.
To increase the quality of affordable housing in London, policymakers and housing providers must work together. This involves both the construction of new affordable housing units and the rehabilitation of existing stock. Quality and sustainability should be prioritized in the design of new affordable housing, with an emphasis on creating comfortable and useful living conditions.
Furthermore, housing providers should work to create inclusive and accessible communities for all. This entails fostering diversity as well as offering necessary services and amenities.
By providing secure, attractive, and energy-efficient houses and communities with access to vital resources, affordable housing may improve the quality of life for individuals of various backgrounds and income levels.