With a population of over eight million, it’s no surprise that London is desperately in need of more housing. Affordable housing is the most sought after property type in the capital and although Boris Johnson has launched a £138 million investment into building 55,000 new, affordable homes by 2015, work is going slowly. So far, work on only 43 houses has begun and it simply isn’t enough. It’s been predicted that by 2031, London will need an extra million houses, but who needs housing the most and what if we run out of places to live?
Although London is often seen as a vibrant city for the young, the number of older residents living in the capital is rapidly increasing. It’s estimated that by 2014, 80,000 sheltered housing spaces and 60,000 care homes will be required for the elderly. Currently, only three London boroughs have more than 3,000 retirement builds.
Despite the fact that a lot of elderly people would like to remain living in their own home, many of them need specialist care and those houses do not provide them with the things they need. It seems that older Londoners are simply forgotten about in favour of supplying new, affordable housing for young people.
Almost all London workers have to commute – some further than others. Boris Johnson recently warned that if his affordable housing targets aren’t met, Londoners may face a very long commute, or they may be forced to live outside the capital. For many London workers, that’s not an option as travel into and around London is expensive, not to mention the amount of time it takes.
Consequently, if London workers can’t find somewhere to live, it is likely they will decide against living in London and go to work somewhere else, causing a drop in the pool of employees. Even managers on high salaries are struggling to find a place, so imagine how hard it must be if you’re on a much lower pay packet. Employers are worried about losing their best employees, and with good reason.
The gap between London’s rich and poor will continue to increase. Earlier this year it was reported that the number of homeless people living in London was up 13 per cent on last year, that’s 6,437 people sleeping rough. There are only 1,600 places of accommodation in the city and with no where affordable to live, the number of homeless people will continue to increase. It seems that only the super rich can afford to live in London right now, and until Boris Johnson builds some more houses, that isn’t set to change any time soon.