World and Mind

June 10, 2007

Where will we live?

Filed under: How will we live? — by theuth @ 10:34 pm

This article in the telegraph last week reckoned that in 20 years time there house prices will be ten times current yearly earnings. This price inflation though takes place against a background of rather impoverished housing stock. Perhaps one of more inflated areas is our own Brighton. Yet the quality of much Brighton housing is some of the lowest in the country. Here are a few interesting facts from the Brighton and Hove housing report based on the 2001 census.

“According to the results from the 2001 census Brighton & Hove has the highest
percentage of overcrowded households outside London. Nearly thirteen percent of
households (a total of 14,517, just over one in eight households) are overcrowded
according to the Office for National Statistics definition. The average number of rooms
per household (4.66) is also lower in the city than the South East average (5.57) and
England & Wales average (5.34).”

Just to put this in context, by the same definition, it is estimated that about 6% are overcrowded in the south-east in general. Moreover the general standard of housing itself is pretty poor. The report continues

“Brighton & Hove has a comparatively lower percentage of households with central
heating and sole use of bath/shower and toilet. It has the fifth highest percentage of
households in England & Wales without central heating or sole use of bath/shower and
toilet.”

A few months back we had the very brilliant James Heartfield down to speak to the Brighton Salon about his book Let’s Build. In the book Heartfield argues that the current property boom is fuelled, in part by hot money looking for a home in times where profitable investment is hard to come by, but in large part because the current “planning” laws operate to stop much needed house building taking place. In effect prices are being kept artificially high by putting restrictions on building. Something which is very clear when you consider the amount of protest which takes place when someone threatens to actually build some new housing in Brighton (i.e. the furore about planning permission for the King Alfred development).

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