New study on the links between housing and inequality published today, with a launch event at Centre for London this morning. Seems like a useful contribution.
"Over the past 20 years the price of housing in London has quadrupled, and the number of people renting privately has grown dramatically. London’s housing crisis is by now infamous: it is the top issue for London voters and for London businesses, who worry about recruitment.
Housing and Inequality in London looks at how sky-high housing costs are also increasing income inequality in the capital. The report reveals three ways in which rapidly rising housing costs are affecting the fortunes of Londoners and disparities in income and wealth.
- Traditional assumptions about poverty and housing tenure are being eroded.
- Rising house prices have inflated wealth disparities.
- Rising housing costs are suburbanising poverty.
The report authors argue that the links between housing and inequality can no longer be ignored."
The study shows that London's housing and property markets are exacerbating inequality, which is no surprise. It also helpfully shows that being in social housing is a protective against poverty. Depressing in a way that we need a study to show us that social housing does what it was created to do back in the late 19th century - offer people cheaper housing that they could otherwise afford, leaving them with more money for other things. The report offers useful data on the growth of the private rented sector, and the parallel rapid rise in both private rents and house prices. London really does seem to be going back to the future. The slums of Victorian London were of course in the private rented sector - to use todays housing jargon.
The study shows how London's housing and property market increases inequality, but it doesn't really explore how inequality (the accumulated cash of the rich invested in property and the behaviour of the financial services sector pouring money into the deregulated mortgage market over the last forty years) has fuelled the city's housing affordability crisis. As the rich get richer investing in seemingly ever rising property markets becomes more and more attractive, and unfortunately for London and its people, we are at the centre of footloose globalised capital. Without tackling wealth accumulations at the top, and property is part of that wealth, we won't solve London's affordability housing crisis.