Bite Size Facts
An invaluable aid to speech writers and journalists we provide précis and pick out key facts from our reports archive. Please refer back to the original source before quoting.
Housing for people on low incomes - how dow we make the best use of government subsidies in England
- Expenditure on housing benefit (HB) and the housing element of UC is about 15% of the welfare budget - £30.3 billion (GB, 2021/22)
- In total, 1.7 million private renters in England claim HB (or the housing element of UC), at an annual cost of £7.9bn, which is forecast to grow
- Most private renters on HB are working, but over one million households are judged to be in housing need, more than one-third of these because of affordability problems, paying rents that on average are twice those of social rents
Over one million private renting households are judged to be in housing need, more than one-third because of affordability problems. This is because rents for the most affordable private one and two bedroomed homes are more expensive than housing association social rents by 20 to 40% in the North and Midlands, 45 to 65% in the South and by 220 to 240% in London.14 There are 1.2 million PRS households with low incomes and high rents.15 In the two lowest income groups, 69% of renters spend 30% or more of their income on rent (in London and the South East, proportions rise to over 90%). Problems are particularly acute in London, for example: • A single person in the bottom 25% of earnings in London would spend over 50 percent of their income on rent or nearly 60 percent if aged under 35. • A working couple in London who both earn the minimum wage would spend 43% of income on rent. In total, 1.7 million private renters in England claim HB (or the housing element of UC), at an annual cost of £7.9bn, which is forecast to grow, despite various restrictions on benefit claims.
As at May 2021 there are 848,000 private tenants who face a shortfall between their LHA rate and their contractual rent – 55% of the private renters who receive UC. This proportion tends to increase with distance from London whereas the size of the shortfall tends to fall. The average difference between lower quartile and median rents in the North and Midlands is between £75-110 per month, £140-150 in the South and £230 in London
House of Commons Library: A new era of social rented housing in England?
- Social housing providers own around 4.1 million units of housing, with higher concentrations of stock in urban areas.
- The number of homes rented from social providers has fallen by 7% since 1997 and 25% since 1979. The fall has been most substantial in parts of the North of England.
- The availability of homes for social rent has fallen as new affordable products have become more common. Around 93% of social housing providers’ stock was let at social rent in 2018/19, compared with 98% in 2012/13.
- Social rent made up the majority of new affordable housing supply in each year up to 2011/12, but fell to 11% of new supply by 2018/19.
- Local authorities built 2% of all homes completed in 2018, while housing associations built 17%.
- Around 27,000 units of social housing are lost each year through sales and demolitions. Right to Buy accounts for the majority of losses; sales are not currently being replaced one-for-one
The National Housing Federation and Crisis have identified a need for 145,000 new affordable homes per year of which 90,000 should be for social rent. Shelter has called for 155,000 new social homes per year. • There were 1.16 million households on waiting lists for social housing on 1 March 2019. • Commentators have identified several factors that they say indicate a need for more affordable housing. These include rising numbers of homeless households in temporary accommodation; unaffordability in the private rented sector; long-term growth in expenditure on housing benefits for private renters; and overcrowding in both the private- and social-rented sectors. • London has high levels of all of the above factors in comparison with the rest of England. • There are also relatively high numbers of private-renting households receiving housing-related benefits in parts of the North of England and coastal areas. • Overcrowding is also common in other urban areas such as Birmingham and Leicester.
ONS: Living longer: implications of housing tenure in later life
- Among households in England containing someone aged 60 years or over, fewer than half in the private rental sector have savings or investments, compared with over three-quarters of those who own their homes outright.
- Almost a third of privately rented properties and one in five properties owned outright and lived in by older people are classified as non-decent overall, as measured against the Decent Homes Standard.
- People aged 60 to 69 years living in the private rented sector are more likely to report bad general health than homeowners; differences in health above age 70 years are less pronounced as health is more likely to worsen for all at later ages.
In 2017, almost three-quarters of people aged 65 years and over in England owned their home outright, with just 6% renting from a private landlord. But people aged in their 30s and 40s are now less likely to be homeowners than in the past, and much more likely to be renting. If these trends continue, we would expect to see far more older people renting from private landlords in the future.
The implications of remaining in the private rental sector or still paying a mortgage later in life go beyond the financial implications of paying market rent or a mortgage into retirement. Housing quality differs across tenures and quality of housing can impact health. Accessibility and adaptability of the property to the changing needs of occupants in later life also varies across tenures.
House of Commons Library: How much new housing does England need?
- Estimates have put the number of new homes needed in England at up to 345,000 per year, accounting for new household formation and a backlog of existing need for suitable housing.
- In 2018/19, the total housing stock in England increased by around 241,000 homes. This was 9% higher than the year before
• Household growth is one factor affecting overall housing need. The number of new households in England is projected to grow by 159,000 per year, based on current trends.
• The backlog of existing need for suitable, affordable accommodation is often cited as another pressure on housing need, as is demand for more space by households that can afford it.
• There has been a range of research into the amount of new housing needed, with estimates as high as 340,000 new homes per year.
• The government’s target is to supply 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s
• There is geographic variation in household growth and housing need, with more need in London and the south of England.
Children and Homelessness
- 120,000 children living in temporary accommodation
- 90,000 children are 'sofa surfing'
There are 120,000 children living in temporary accommodation. 90,000 children are 'sofa surfing' and there are 375,000 children in families at financial risk of becoming homeless. In total there are 585,000 children who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
UK Government - the size of its land holdings
- Total estate in Mar 2018 was 7.7 million square metres
- Total estate in Mar 2015 was 8.3 million square metres
- Total estate in Jan 2010 was 10.7 million square metres
An extract from the NAO report showing the size of the central government estate by department for March 2018.
Local authority spending on homelessness
- In 2017/18 single homeless spending declined by 50%
In 2017/18, nearly £1bn less was spent on single homelessness than was spent in 2008/9 – a fall of more than 50%. This was entirely accounted for by reduced spending for Supporting People activity – which includes a wide range of types of support to help people maintain tenancies and keep their lives on track. Overall, more than £5bn less has been spent on single homelessness between 2008/9 and 2017/18 than would have been spent had funding continued at 2008/9 levels
Poverty and housing in the private rented sector
- In England 18% of households are in relative poverty after housing costs.
- 26% of households are in poverty as a direct result of their housing costs.
In England, just under a fifth (18% or 4,202,791) of households are in relative poverty after housing costs, including 1,599,197 households who are in poverty as a result of their housing costs. The difference between poverty before housing costs and after housing costs is particularly marked in the private rented sector. Over half (53%, 775,773 households) of those in poverty in the private rented sector were not in poverty before paying their rent.
Households with children experience higher rates of poverty after housing costs across all tenures. 1,834,837 (28%) of households with one or more children, and 3,585,528 children (31%), are in poverty after housing costs are paid. Over the past decade the number of households with children living in the private rented sector has also grown disproportionately, rising from less than a million households in 2008/9 to 1,618,075 (2,840,681 children) by 2015/16. In the private rented sector, 44% of households with one or more children are in poverty after their rent is paid. A quarter (26%) of households are in poverty as a direct result of their housing costs. A third (33%) of households with children are living in poverty even though one or more adults in the household work full time.
Baby boomers - housing and finance
- Those retiring today at 65 can expect to live for another 23 years compared with 16 years in 1980.
The Baby Boomer generation is retiring and aspirations for later life will prove very different to previous generations. Those retiring at 65 can expect to live for another 23 years, compared with 16 in 1980, and the number of people over 65 is set to rise 52% between 2015 and 2040.
Building for our future: a vision for social housing
- 1.27 million homes are required for those in greatest housing need.
1.27 million homes for those in greatest housing need – homeless households (79,900), those living with a disability or long-term illness (194,000), living in hazardous conditions (631,000), in overcrowded accomodation (240,00) or rough sleeping (128,000).
1.17 million homes for ‘trapped renters’ – younger families who cannot afford to buy and face a lifetime in expensive and insecure private renting
690,000 homes for older private renters – people over 55 struggling with high housing costs and insecurity beyond retirement
Increasing Investment in Social Housing
- Public expenditure on housing in England was £26.8 billion pounds in 2016-17.
We estimate that public expenditure on housing in England was £26.8 billion pounds in 2016-17. Public spending on housing has lagged behind expenditure on other public services over the past twenty years and the focus of spending has increasingly been on housing benefits rather than investment in new social or affordable housing. Real terms housing benefits payments in England have been on a long-term upwards trend, more than doubling since the start of the 1990s. The increase is mainly due to rising housing benefit payments per caseload as real terms rents for all tenures have increased. However, an increased reliance on private rented sector tenures has also raised the housing benefit bill and the cost in rents to tenants. Reduced investment has lowered the number of additional social rent homes being delivered each year. Social rent housing additions have fallen by 79 per cent since the first half of the 1990s. Grant funding for social housing has been limited since 2011.
Instead, the focus has predominantly been on making funds available for affordable rent homes or the Help to Buy equity loan scheme. This appears to be changing though with the government recently making £1.7 billion of grant funding available, which will be available for social rent homes. The government envisages that this will provide £72,600 of funding per social rent home built. Meanwhile, “Help to Buy” appears to have delivered a relatively small number of additional, relatively expensive private sector homes to buyers on relatively high incomes. Funding per additional home has averaged between £123,000 and £380,000, compared to grant funding per affordable rent home of £26,000here is a strong investment rationale for the government funding new social rent housing. Building these homes would deliver savings in welfare expenditure generated by moving families receiving housing benefit from private rented accommodation into social rent tenure. Building new homes requires up-front expenditure. Our calculations suggest that building 3.1 million social rent homes over the next twenty years, entirely funded by the government, would add 6.5 percentage points to the ratio of public sector net debt to gross domestic product by 2039. The welfare savings accumulate however and government debt would be lower over a longer time horizon."
A New Rural Settlement, fixing the affordable housing crisis in rural England.
- The average rural house price is around £19,000 above the average for England as whole.
- Only 8 % of the housing stock in rural areas is affordable compared to 20 per cent in urban areas
The affordability gaps in rural areas are high compared to urban areas. The average rural house price is around £19,000 above the average for England as
whole, at £320,700 compared to £301,900, and is more than £87,000 higher than the urban average excluding London (£233,600). • Rural housing is less affordable to local people than in most urban areas. A family with one child, earning one full-time and one part-time median wage in a mainly or largely rural area would spend 31 per cent of their income on rent, compared to 26 per cent or 19 per cent in most urban local authorities. Only in
major conurbations is this higher.
Only 8 per cent of the housing stock in rural areas is affordable compared to 20 per cent in urban areas, and current delivery is failing to provide enough new homes.• Rural areas are set to see significant reductions in their working age populations over the coming decades. Between 2014 and 2038, the working age population in rural areas is projected to decline by 75,000 people while the population aged over 65 will grow by around 1.5 million. By 2038, there will be 63 people aged over 65 for every 100 working aged people, 24 more than in 2014. This is significantly higher than in urban areas where there will be just 31 people aged over 65 to every 100 working aged people.
In 2016/17, 1,071 homes were brought forward on rural exception sites. This is equivalent to 10% of all the affordable homes built in mainly and large rural authorities and more than a quarter (26 per cent) of those in settlements of less than 3,000. However more than half of these (55 per cent) were developed by just five local authorities. Of these, one authority – Cornwall – accounts for 400 homes, 37 per cent of the total homes delivered on exception sites according to government data.
House design and longevitiy
- By 2025 8.2 million households will be headed by someone who is 65 or over.
- Only 7% of homes meet basic accessibility features.
By 2025, 8.2 million households will be headed by someone who is 65 or over – an increase of 23%. Homes headed by someone aged 85 and over are the fastest growing household. More than 90% of people in later life live in mainstream housing. Current UK homes are largely in poor condition, and non-decent homes are disproportionately lived in by older people. Our current housing stock is not accessible or adaptable for people across the life course – only 7% of homes meet basic accessibility features. Of all homes lived in by older people,20% failed the Decent Homes Standard in 2014, and poor housing for people over 55 costs the NHS£634 million every year. By people’s late 80s, more than one in three people have difficulty doing five or more daily activities without help (basic routine activities like eating, bathing and dressing). Installing minor home adaptations and making improvements to housing can lead to overall savings of at least £500 million each year to the NHS and social care services in the UK through a 26 per cent reduction in falls, which account for over four million hospital bed days each year in England alone.
Housing and Disabled People
- One in three disabled people in private rented properties live in unsuitable accomodation.
1:3 disabled people in private rented properties live in unsuitable accomodation. 1:5 disabled people in social housing live in unsuitable accommodation. 1:7 disabled people in their own homes live in unsuitable accommodation.
Silver cities. Planning for an ageing population
- By 2045 the proportion of the population aged over 65 will rise to 25% in OECD countries.
- By 2045 the proportion of those under 20 will drop to 21% in OECD countries.
The world is ageing, particularly in advanced economies. Over the next 30 years, we will see an extra 15,000 people reaching retirement age in the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries every single day. By 2045 the proportion of the population aged over 65 will rise to 25%, from the current 16%. This equates to 146m more old people than there are today – totalling 1.4bn globally. At the same time, the younger population is steadily shrinking. In 2015, the young (those under 20 years old) counted for 24% of the population, a proportion which is expected to decrease to 21% by 2045. This demographic shift is set to have a profound impact on society and the social fabric of cities. By 2030 all major urban centres in the OECD will see a sharp increase in the number of elderly. These cities will need to adapt and develop a number of short and longer-term strategies to ensure they respond adequately to both the challenges and opportunities that an ageing population present. For the first time in history, the elderly will be the largest age group by 2045, with the greatest increase occurring in those aged over 75 years. There are two main reasons for this:
A decline in the number of births. Fertility rates have declined steadily through the post-war period, particularly in advanced economies. Almost all OECD countries now have fertility rates below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per female. People are living longer. In the OECD, life expectancy for most people alive today is already 90-100 years.
Older private renters
- An estimated 500,000 older people are privately renting
An estimated 500,000 older people are privately renting. This is 1 in 10 of all private rented households. The Local Government Association (LGA) forecasts that older households will make up around 60% of projected household growth between 2008 and 2033. In 2015, just 17.5% of housing stock in England and Wales was social housing. 27% of older people live in homes that don’t meet the ‘living home standard’. Rents across England grew by an average of 14.6% between 2011 and 2017 (and by 22% in London) while wages increased by 10% over the same period
- There are almost 160,000 households experiencing the worst forms of homelessness in Britain.
There are almost 160,000 households experiencing the worst forms of homelessness in Britain. If we carry on as we currently are, this is expected to almost double in the next 25 years:
100,500 new social homes each year are needed for the next 15 years to meet the needs of homeless people and people on low incomes – including those at risk of homelessness
Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP have estimated that the total costs of supporting homeless people in our five definitions of ending homelessness between 2018 and 2041 is £19.3bn…… and will deliver benefits of £53.9bn*
- Published brownfield registers cover 95% of England
- Enough for over 1 million homes
- 43% of sites do not have any planning permission
Published brownfield registers (currently covering 95% of England) demonstrate that there are suitable brownfield sites available for over 1 million homes in England. If this figure is extrapolated to account for unpublished registers, there would be space for at least 1.1 million homes. More land can be identified. If more registers looked at small sites (sites that would deliver fewer than 10 homes), CPRE estimate space for an additional 220,000 homes could be identified. More homes could be delivered on sites if land is used more efficiently The average density of sites on the registers is 33 dwellings per hectare. If the sites delivered new homes at the average density of new development of 37 dwellings per hectare, estimates could increase by another 130,000 homes. More brownfield land is being identified as suitable for housing. Councils have identified suitable land for 23% more housing since they were required to submit information on previously developed land to the National Land Use Database from 2010 to 2012. Most of the identified capacity can be redeveloped now. Almost 620,000 (67%) of the homes can be delivered by 288 local authorities in the next five years according to the brownfield registers (which can be extrapolated to nearly 730,000 if all local authorities were included across England). This represents 60% of estimated housing need, or 3 years’ housing land supply. But many of these homes do not have any planning permission so those sites are not being used. More than 150,000 of these homes identified as deliverable over the next five years (extrapolated to 180,000 with all local authorities included) do not yet have planning permission: these should be taken forward as a priority. Across the registers as a whole, brownfield sites that could provide 43% of the homes identified do not have any form of planning permission, including 234,000 homes on suitable sites owned by public bodies, such as councils.
Why older people need more market rent housing
- At the age of 27, those born in the late 1980s had a home ownership rate of 25%, compared with 33% for those born five years earlier and 43% for those born ten years earlier.
At the age of 27, those born in the late 1980s had a homeownership rate of 25%, compared with 33% for those born five years earlier (in the early 1980s) and 43% for those born ten years earlier (in the late 1970s). In 1995–96, 65% of those aged 25–34 with incomes in the middle 20% for their age owned their own home. Twenty years later, that figure was just 27%. Mean house prices were 152% higher in 2015–16 than in 1995–96 after adjusting for inflation. By contrast, the real net family incomes of those aged 25–34 grew by only 22% over the same twenty years. As a result, the average (median) ratio between the average house price in the region where a young adult lives and their annual net family income doubled from 4 to 8, with all of the increase occurring by 2007–08. The likelihood of a young adult owning their own home given how their income compares with house prices in their region is little changed from twenty years ago. But in 2015–16 almost 90% of 25- to 34-year-olds faced average regional house prices of at least four times their income , compared with less than half twenty years earlier. At the same time, 38% faced a house-price-to-income ratio of over 10, compared with just 9% twenty years ago. In 2014–17, 30% of 25- to 34-year-olds whose parents were in a low occupational class (e.g. delivery drivers or sales assistants) owned their home, compared with 43% of those whose parents were in a high occupational class (e.g. lawyers, teachers or estate agents). However, after controlling for differences in observable characteristics of young adults such as their earnings and education, the homeownership gap between those from high and low socio-economic backgrounds is much smaller, at around 3 percentage points.
Decline of home ownership
- At the age of 27 those born in the late 1980s had a homeownership rate of 25%
At the age of 27, those born in the late 1980s had a homeownership rate of 25%, compared with 33% for those born five years earlier (in the early 1980s) and 43% for those born ten years earlier (in the late 1970s). In 1995–96, 65% of those aged 25–34 with incomes in the middle 20% for their age owned their own home. Twenty years later, that figure was just 27%. Mean house prices were 152% higher in 2015–16 than in 1995–96 after adjusting for inflation. By contrast, the real net family incomes of those aged 25–34 grew by only 22% over the same twenty years. As a result, the average (median) ratio between the average house price in the region where a young adult lives and their annual net family income doubled from 4 to 8, with all of the increase occurring by 2007–08.
The likelihood of a young adult owning their own home given how their income compares with house prices in their region is little changed from twenty years ago. But in 2015/16 almost 90% of 25 to 34 year-olds faced average regional house prices of at least four times their income , compared with less than half twenty years earlier. At the same time, 38% faced a house-price-to-income ratio of over 10, compared with just 9% twenty years ago. In 2014–17, 30% of 25- to 34-year-olds whose parents were in a low occupational class (e.g. delivery drivers or sales assistants) owned their home, compared with 43% of those whose parents were in a high occupational class (e.g. lawyers, teachers or estate agents). However, after controlling for differences in observable characteristics of young adults such as their earnings and education, the homeownership gap between those from high and low socio-economic backgrounds is much smaller, at around 3 percentage points.
Today’s thirty year olds are only half as likely to own their home as the baby boomers. Young people today are four times as likely to rent privately than they were two generations ago. Families often house their adult children – but increasingly not their parents'. Generation on generation, housing costs have absorbed a larger share of family income with significant living standards effects. Housing stock quality has improved, but the young are making compromises on space and commuting. Even in a best-case scenario millennials will not achieve the same home ownership levels the baby boomers enjoy. Housing is a majoritarian concern – but it is young people who are at the sharp end of the housing crisis
£1.15bn spent byLocal Authorities on homelessness in 15-16. 77k households in temp accom with 60% rise in households in temporary accomodation since 2011. Homelessness more likely in areas with the least affordable housing; ie wide regional variations. Ending of private sector shorthold tenancies is main cause of homelessness. Rising from 11% to 32% in last seven years. Private rent accom cost x3 than earnings. In London the rise is x8. Local housing allowance cap (LHA) may have also contributed. Local authortities struggle to house homelessness due to fall in number of social housing and spending on preventing it
The LGA along with Housing LIN produced in Housing our Ageing Population offered some useful statistics and best practice case studies. The number of people aged over 65 is forecast to rise over the next decade, from the current 11.7 million people, to 14.3 million by 2025, a 22 per cent rise. This means that one in five of the total population will be over 65 in 10 years’ time, which will become one in four by 2050. In the UK, the vast majority of over 65s currently live in the mainstream housing market. Only 0.6 per cent of over 65s live in housing with care, which is 10 times less than in more mature retirement housing markets such as the USA and Australia, where over 5 per cent of over 65s live in housing with care. The suitability of the housing stock is of critical importance to the health of individuals and also impacts on the demand for public spending, particularly social care and the NHS
One of the more imaginative ideas in 2017 was on borrowing from Respublica’s proposal for a National Housing Fund. This would boost housing supply by utilising the government’s ability to borrow money at historically low rates. It calls for £100bn of investment over ten years which would build 40,000 more rental homes per annum. This would all be done without adding to the deficit. The money is invested in homes for rent, managed by housing associations (who also own a share of the fund). Rents are used to repay interest costs and management costs
The number of single people who experience homelessness in England each year is around 200,000, with a minimum estimate of 120,000 and a maximum of 345,000.The average number of single people experiencing some form of homelessness on any one night is estimated to be 77,000 – with a low estimate of 50,000 and a high estimate of 110,000.Around two-thirds of single homeless people have support needs that mean their immediate destination should be some form of housing with tailored support such as supported housing or a Housing First solution. The rest have no acute support needs and the primary barrier to ending their homelessness is housing.75,000 single people with low or no support needs experience homelessness each year, with a minimum estimate of 40,000 and a maximum estimate of 140,000.The average number of single people with low or no support needs who are homeless on any one night is 26,000, with a low estimate of 17,000 and a high estimate of 38,000.Social lettings to single homeless people in England fell from 19,000 a year in 2007-8 to 13,000 in 2015-16. The proportion of new lettings to single homeless people relative to the number of new lettings overall has fallen disproportionately, from 12% to 8% of all new lettings over the same period.This drop is due to changes in policy on the allocation of social housing, alongside problems caused by the reducing affordability of social housing, restrictions on housing benefit entitlement, and housing providers’ response to these.
Housing supply v demand
Since the 1980s, demand for housing in England has increased. Housebuilding, however, has not kept pace with demand. Public sector housebuilding has fallen and the number of homes added by the private sector has been vulnerable to both economic recessions and the cost of finance to potential homeowners. Between 2001 and 2010, an average of 144,000 new homes were completed annually: 100,000 fewer per year than in the 1970s. For housebuilding to match future need, it must increase in most parts of the country; this is particularly acute in London. Projections suggest that at least 227,000 new households will be formed each year between 2011 and 2021. This is substantially higher than the annual average of 166,000 extra homes in England over the last 10 years (paragraphs 1.9 to 1.11 and Figures 4 and 5). Since 1981, the number of owner-occupied homes in England has increased from almost 10.5 million in 1981 to 14.7 million in 2015. In 2015, there were almost 5 million private rented homes, up from 2 million in 1981. In contrast, the number of local authority and housing association homes for rent has fallen, from 5.5 million in 1981 to 4 million in 2015.