Monday 26th September 2016                 Change text size:

Prince Charles calls for affordable housing in London



Prince Charles - Victoria Johnson via Flickr

The Prince of Wales has called for more affordable and better quality housing in London as he predicated the current pace of rising property prices in the capital was “unsustainable”.

He said, “The National Housing Federation estimates that in only six years the average London house price will have risen 40% to £650,00. This isn’t sustainable and risks driving away talented young individuals who are starting their career in London and spending most of their income on rent.

“Home ownership is simply becoming further and further out of reach.”

Figures show that the average cost of a home in London hit £458,000 in January after rising 13% in just one year.

Charles’ comments coincide with a report launched by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. The report looks at the problems of affordability and inclusivity facing London’s housing supply and provides some recommendations.

It argues that London faces “acute housing shortages of both quality and quantity which threaten the vitality of the city”. In 2012, the average house price in the capital was 12 times the median London salary. By 2022 there is expected to be a 559k shortfall in housing supply, which is likely to drive up prices further.

Increasing prices have pushed lower-income residents to the periphery of the city and emphasises the separation between the haves and have-nots, the report added. It is also having a strong impact on the younger generation who are struggling to find a foot on the housing ladder.

Additionally, the report says poor design quality is impacting on London’s streets and neighbourhoods.

“Faceless residential towers and poorly conceived mega-schemes erode street life and undermine the creation of strong, harmonious and enduring communities and place London’s historic architectural and urban identity under increasing threat,” the report states.

Building mid-rise properties that suit needs the needs and promotes the well-being of residents is the suggested solution to the capital’s problems. Acting now to provide quality, affordable housing will enable an “inclusive, sustainable and harmonious” London in the future, the report concludes.

The Prince added, “In order to continue to prosper, any healthy city requires a built environment that provides good quality housing the integration of nature and green spaces at its heart, walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods, good public transport and an identity that fosters pride and a sense of belonging.

“The most successful cities and the most popular neighbourhoods within those cities all share these qualities in abundance.”

Further reading:

Sustainability rising up agenda for real estate investors

Government spends £63m buying homes affected by HS2 plans

The housing market: unsustainable asset bubble or ladder to prosperity?

Ernst & Young: fears of a housing bubble are ‘unfounded’

The Guide to Sustainable Homes 2013


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