Mayoral Election Issues: The Housing Shortage

roofer colourThe population is 8.6 million and the city is struggling with a shortage of housing.  Sounds familiar?  While this describes London today it also portrays the capital in the late 1930s.

After a post-war decline, the population has just got back to the 30s peak and a housing crisis has come back too.  So what has happened to house building in the intervening years? How did London find itself with a similar problem?

First, a bit of urban history. The shape of the capital has changed. In 1939 far more people lived in central London – 4.4 million lived in inner boroughs while 4.1 lived in outer ones[1].  The most highly populated areas were Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Lambeth, and can be seen as the darker areas on the map.

House bulding map 1-2

By 2015, the population of inner boroughs had fallen by 1 million while the outer boroughs have swelled by 24% to 5.1 million.  The most highly populated areas today are Barnet, Croydon and Ealing.

House building map 2-2

This switch in population from inner to outer came about because of house building.  The population surge of the 30s was met with a surge in building, and most of it took place in outer areas[2].

House building chart 3-2

This lure of new housing in the suburbs and the loss of central London housing in the Blitz helped reshape the capital.

In the last decade fewer homes were built than in the 1960s and 70s, when the population was shrinking. House-building has failed to keep pace with the population.

Since 2002 London has seen a 21% increase in jobs and a 16% rise in population. Over the same period new homes have increased by 11%[3].

House building chart 4-2

The 11% figure disguises a stark difference between inner and outer boroughs and where those homes have been built. Data from the Department for Communities and Local Government shows that there has been a 37% increase in the number of homes in Tower Hamlets since 2001 and a 20% increase in Islington. But in the same period the growth rate in dwellings in 16 outer boroughs has been in single figures – with just 4% in Sutton and 2% in Merton.

house buidling map 5-2

This pattern of growth is a reversal of what happened through most of the 20th century when more than half of the new housing stock was provided in the outer boroughs.

This growth in inner areas is not uniform however. 28% of the housing stock in Tower Hamlets was built this century, the highest proportion anywhere in the UK. It has the space through the redevelopment of areas like Canary Wharf and Limehouse.  Kensington and Chelsea in contrast has seen a 2% growth in homes due to the lack of brownfield sites.

The building in inner London means these areas are becoming more densely packed. Housing density is measured in dwellings per hectare. The average for England as a whole is 1.8. The average rate for London is 21.5[4]. For Inner London it is more than double that again at 44.6. And for Kensington and Chelsea, the borough with London’s highest, it is 69.1 dwelling per hectare.  The lowest density is Havering with 8.7 dwellings per hectare.  Havering is 10 times larger than Kensington and Chelsea. If it were to have the same dwelling density as the Royal borough it would have nearly 800,000 homes not the 100,000 it has currently.

As in the 1930s, the location of home building is pulling the population.  The biggest rate of growth in the past 12 months is in the City of London, but the numbers are small. After that it is Tower Hamlets where there has been at a 2.3% rise in residents in a year.

The GLA’s forecast for the next 25 years[5] shows that Tower Hamlets will lead the growth in residents, closely followed by Newham as many head east in search of a home.

House buidling map 6-2

But can building keep pace with demand?   New home starts are climbing back towards where they were 10 years ago, but it is still not enough and the problem is widely acknowledged. In his housing strategy document last year[6], the outgoing Mayor, Boris Johnson, said that housing was an “epic challenge” and that the number of new homes being built in the capital would need to double to 42,000 per year for the next 20 years to keep pace with population growth.

House building in the capital has been bumping along at around the 20,000 level for the past 10 years[7]. Following the financial crisis of 2008 it dipped sharply.

House building chart 7-2

Most of the homes being built are in the private sector, not social housing, which raises issues about affordability. Even in the ‘affordable’ sector a shift has taken place.

More affordable housing was delivered in London in the 2014-15 financial year than for any period dating back to 1991[8]. 17,913 homes were built or acquired and made available (so not counted in the new starts chart above) in the affordable rented sector, according to data from the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the GLA.

Affordable rents were previously available through what was termed social housing. This is rented property provided by a council or a housing association with long, secure tenancies and rents at around 50% of the market rates.

Housing associations also provided Intermediate rental.  This gives a tenant a subsidised rent, usually around 60% of the market rate, while they save for a deposit to buy the property.

In 2010 the government introduced a new category, which it confusingly called Affordable Rent.  This aimed to give social landlords a route to maintaining or increasing the amount of lower cost rental while relying less on public funding. It allows them to charge more and have less restrictive tenancies.  Affordable Rent properties can charge up to 80% of the market rate.

It is this sector that has taken off in the past year, increasing the amount of affordable housing, but the amount of Social Rent housing has declined sharply since AR was introduced.  And this is not due to the building of new stock alone. Some Social Rent property is re-classified as Affordable Rent when it becomes vacant.

House building chart 8-2

The last time the delivery of affordable housing was at this level was in 2011-12.  In that year a comparable number of Intermediate Rent properties were made available.  But there were 11,374 Social Rent homes. In 2014-15 that had been reduced to 3,053[9].

All candidates are making pledges about houses but perhaps the voters’ decisions on the housing issue comes down to the answers to 3 simple questions.  How many houses will you build, what sort of homes will they be and where will you build them?

Sources

[1] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/population-change-1939-2015

[2] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/housing-london

[3] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/number-and-density-of-dwellings-by-borough

[4] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/number-and-density-of-dwellings-by-borough

[5] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/population-change-1939-2015

[6] https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing-and-land/housing-strategy/mayors-housing-strategy

[7] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/housing-london

[8] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/housing-london

[9] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/housing-london

This report was produced in association with London Live’s election special programme London Votes

 

 

105,000 extra secondary pupils pose huge challenge for capital’s schools

Monkey Business Images shutterstock_284502440-1-2

Photo: Monkey Business Images ┃Shutterstock.com

London needs the equivalent of 90 new secondary schools to deal with the growth in pupil numbers over the next decade.

The number of children of secondary school age is projected to rise by 26.5%, and there’ll be an increase of 9% in primary pupils by 2024/25.

The Greater London Authority’s Intelligence Unit made these projections and in the introduction to its report the Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, Munira Mirza, says: “Meeting the demand for secondary places over the next decade is the foremost educational challenge facing London today.”

The rise in numbers has been driven by an increasing birth rate, up 28% between 2001/02 and 2011/12. The GLA Intelligence Unit also says that there has been a reduction in the number of young families leaving London since the financial crisis of 2008.

This increase in children has already placed pressure on primary schools but it will soon feed into the secondary schools.

Currently there are 394,000 pupils aged 11-15 attending state secondary schools in London. By 2024/25 that number is projected to have grown by 105,000. That’s equivalent to 3,500 secondary school classes.

The GLA’s projections show that the rise in pupils is spread right across the capital. The biggest increase is in Barking and Dagenham with nearly 5,900 additional pupils. Tower Hamlets, Redbridge, Croydon, Brent and Hounslow also see a steep rise in demand. The smallest increase is in Kensington and Chelsea.

Secondary school places

These numbers reflect the increase in demand not a shortfall in school places. A number of pupils might be accommodated through available capacity or new schools or extensions to existing ones that are planned.

However, a projection on the shortfall in places by London Councils (a body that represents the boroughs) reported by Urbs, estimates that 34,000 secondary pupils could be without a school place in the next 5 years alone.

As the GLA report points out, finding a solution will not be quick or easy as building new secondary school takes longer and is more expensive than developing primary schools due to the size and facilities required.

Source data

See also

34,000 pupils could be without a secondary school place in next 5 years

Violence, disruption and drugs – why 20,000 pupils were excluded from school last year

Private school? Depends where you live

The jobs success and housing failure causing a crisis for the capital

roofer colourIn his speech to the Conservative Party conference the Prime Minister, David Cameron, called for a house building “crusade” to deal with the shortage of homes. Nowhere is this felt more severely than in the capital where the success in jobs growth but the failure in house building has led to a structural shortfall.

Since 2002 London has seen a 21% increase in jobs and a 16% rise in population. Over the same period new homes have increased by 10%. And the pressure on housing will continue as London’s population forecast suggests it will grow at 100,000 a year for the next decade.

Housing growth jobs

House building in the capital has been bumping along at around the 20,000 level for the past 10 years. Following the financial crisis of 2008 it dipped sharply. Most of the homes being built are in the private sector, not social housing, which raises issues about affordability.

Housing growth starts

New home starts are climbing back towards where they were 10 years ago, but it is still not enough and the problem is widely acknowledged. In his housing strategy document last year the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said that housing was an epic challenge and that the number of new homes being built in the capital would need to double to 42,000 per year for the next 20 years to keep pace with population growth.

The problem in London is more severe than in other comparable cities. Annualised figures for population growth and home building over the past decade show Tokyo and New York in housing surplus, while Paris has an annual shortfall but not to the same level as London

Housing growth cities-2

London relies heavily on housing stock from the last century and before, as reported by Urbs London. A quarter of the homes were built before 1900. Outer London saw a huge house-building boom in the 1920s and 30s but in recent years there has been very little increase in these areas. Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government, reported by Urbs, show that since 2000 there has been a 11% increase in new dwellings across London (both new builds and conversions) but in 16 outer boroughs this growth is in single figures with just 4% in Sutton and 2% in Merton.

A survey carried out by the housing charity, Shelter, earlier this year showed that most people in London support the building of new homes in their area. And the number of Londoners who strongly support new building was much higher than in England as a whole.

Housing growth support

Despite the political ambition to build and the apparent public support for it, the housing shortfall that London needs to make up will mean that availability and affordability will continue to be severe problems for years to come, and the issue is likely to be a significant battleground in the election for the next Mayor in May 2016.

Source data

See also

Living in the past: The old housing keeping a roof over our heads

More homes packed into built up inner city as growth stalls in outer areas

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live

 

Living in the past: The old housing keeping a roof over our heads

mewsLondon is a modern city with a high proportion of very old housing. The population has climbed to a record level but the supply of new homes has failed to keep pace. In the last decade fewer homes were built than in the 1960s and 70s, when the population was shrinking. The capital is still very reliant on housing from the 19th century.

Nearly a quarter of the homes in London were built before 1900. This is especially true for inner London. The 1930s saw a house-building boom as the population rose to a record level that has only just been surpassed. The data for house building,  going back to 1871, shows the surges in the Victorian and Edwardian periods but neither matches the peaks or the 1930s.

housing stock built

The current housing stock reflects how that building activity was spread across the capital. Inner London was the focus in the early 1900s and before. The 1920s and 30s saw the shift to outer London and the development of the suburbs.

housing stock age

Across the capital there are some vastly contrasting borough stories. 65% of housing in Kensington and Chelsea was built before 1900. In Barking and Dagenham it is just 1%. As the map below, produced by the GLA in the Housing in London report, shows the red areas of 1900s housing are inner city, surrounded by the orange of 1930s development.

housing stock map

The blue areas of recent building show the re-development of docklands areas in Tower Hamlets. 28% of the borough’s housing stock was built in the 21st century, which is the highest proportion in London and the UK.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has described the need to build more homes as an “epic challenge”. It’s estimated that more than 40,000 more homes are a year required for the next 20 years to meet demand. The housing stock map of London will need a lot more blue zones on the map to reduce the reliance on the dark red legacy of those Victorian builders.

Source data

See also

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live

More homes packed into built up inner city as growth stalls in outer areas

House price rises fuel affordability crisis for Londoners

 

More homes packed into built up inner city as growth stalls in outer areas

crowded block of flatsLondon’s population continues to grow but housing development to provide people with a place to live has become increasingly focused on central areas in the past 15 years.

Data from the Department for Communities and Local Government shows that the growth in the number of homes this century has been 10% across England and 11% across London as a whole. But the figure for London disguises a stark difference between inner and outer boroughs. There has been a 37% increase in the number of homes in Tower Hamlets since 2001 and a 20% increase in Islington. But in the same period the growth rate in dwellings in 16 outer boroughs has been in single figures.

Housing growth

This pattern of growth is a reversal of what happened through most of the 20th century when more than half of the new housing stock was provided in the outer boroughs.

The consequence is that built-up areas of inner London are becoming more densely packed. Housing density is measured in dwellings per hectare. The average for England as a whole is 1.8. The average rate for London is 21.5. For Inner London it is more than double that again at 44.6. And for Kensington and Chelsea, the borough with London’s highest, it is 69.1.

As the map shows, Kensington and Chelsea has seen just 2% growth in homes sine 2001 due to a lack of brownfield sites. The fastest growing borough in terms of housing, Tower Hamlets, has seen dwelling density rise from 37.2 homes per hectare in 2001 to over 50 today.

In comparison, the dwellings per hectare rate in Havering is 8.7, in Hillingdon it is 9.1, and in Bromley 9.2. If Havering had the same level of housing density as Kensington and Chelsea it would have 800,000 homes, not 100,000.

Source data

See also:

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live

Crowded London’s most crowded place is Islington

 

 

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live

roofer colour

London’s booming population accounted for nearly half the growth in people in the country last year. But London’s share of new homes in England was just 17%.

Data from the Department of Communities and Local Government shows that out of 136,610 news homes 23,580 were in London. The Mayor, Boris Johnson has identified the housing shortage as an “epic challenge” for London. In his Homes for London housing strategy document last year he said that London needed 42,000 new homes a year for the next 20 years.

In launching her bid to run for Mayor this week the former Labour MP, Tessa Jowell, suggested a new agency that she described as a Transport for London for housing to help tackle the housing shortage.

The lack of homes pushes up property prices and rents, as documented by Urbs, making it far more difficult for people to find affordable housing.

An examination of borough level data shows that the majority of new homes are being built in central areas. Newham leads the way with nearly 2000 new homes. In Bromley, one of London’s largest boroughs, it is just 150.

new homes map

The imbalance between inner and outer London in the provision of new homes has developed since 2000. Throughout the 20th century most new homes were developed in outer London. In recent years the contribution of outer London has fallen below 50%.

Source data

See also:

London house prices more than 100% higher than rest of UK

Rents rise by 31% in 10 years

London drives UK population growth