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Since buy to let mortgages were introduced in 1996, many investors have chosen bricks and mortar as a good investment, pushing house prices up and reducing stock for those looking to become first time buyers.
In 1996 houses cost 2.8 times the average wage but this rose to 6.9 times the national wage in 2022, the highest ever, making home ownership unaffordable for many. Simultaneously the number of tenants more than doubled. So it would appear that private landlords are responsible for reduced housing stocks and high prices.
However, forcing landlords to sell up and release properties back into the market will not necessarily fix the problem as Government is dependent on the private rental sector and Government policies have only added to this problem.
Policies including the reduction in tax relief on buy to let mortgages, increasing stamp duty on second homes, the up and coming Energy Performance Certificate targets and the strengthening of tenants rights have caused some landlords to get out of the market but the housing stock crisis continues and worsens as remaining stock is being rented at a premium. According to the Office for National Statistics rent growth hit 4.2% in December 2022, the highest growth rate since records began in 2016.
In addition, post pandemic, a third of poorer renters are now on housing benefit and so the private landlords are increasingly leasing to social housing providers and councils and the taxpayer is funding this.
Essentially the Government must increase the amount of social housing to replace all that was sold off during the 1980s otherwise the dependence on the private landlord can only increase.
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Granite Building Warranties is a company registered in England and Wales (Company Number 11497543) with its registered office at 1st Floor, 5 Century Court, Tolpits Lane, Watford, WD18 9PX