Shelter estimates that the average first-time buyer in England, with a 5% deposit, needs an income of £59,300. The majority of renters – making up about a third of the population – earn nowhere near that amount.
According to the National Housing Federation, over 8 million people in England live in unsuitable, unaffordable or unsafe homes, and the waiting list for people in need of an affordable place to live has reached 1.1 million.
The Chartered Institute of Housing found that 280,000 social-rent homes were sold, converted to higher rents or demolished between 2012 and 2020. Only 70,000 were built over the same period.
Those unable to exit the rented sector are seeing their economic circumstances deteriorate; average monthly rents rose by 10% over the past year, making renting a significantly more expensive option than repaying a mortgage.
In a report published last year, MPs on the housing and communities committee called for 90,000 more homes to be built annually for social rent over the next five years. Just 7,000 were built in 2019.