Will the North East's 'housing crisis' really be solved with the government's £5bn fund?
Ah, January has finally left us for another year. Are the days getting longer all of a sudden? Is it a touch warmer? Are our moods lifting yet?
Well, when February came along last Thursday, I suppose the North East got some good news - in the form of a new housing scheme… But is it something to shout about?
It was announced that Sajid Javid, secretary of state for housing, will pump £49m into the region. It’s part of the government’s new ‘commitment’ to build 300k homes a year by the mid 2020s.
I reported that this first wave of funding, from a huge £5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund, will go towards “fixing the broken housing market”, part of a programme that is planning to change the UK’s economy around. But will it work?
Sajid Javid said: “The first wave of investment in projects across the North East will help get up to 13k homes off the ground, making a huge difference to communities across the region.
“This is just one of the ways this government is taking action to get Britain building homes again.”
It’s great that the government is wanting to build homes for the region’s future, but the big question is this: Will they be affordable?
It’s the unspoken words that lie on the tip of every young person’s tongue: “Will I have to rent a home when the time comes, or will I be lucky enough to afford a mortgage?”
Budding first-time buyers are “stuck in a rut” according to property company, Zoopla. Just last month, the group reported that only 37 per cent of people aged between 25-34 live in a property they own. Apparently, the number was at 57 per cent around 2006/07.
And it really just gets worse because, let’s be honest, it’s becoming increasingly harder for a lot of people to save up. Everything is a lot more expensive these days, right?
Again, Zoopla reiterated this fact: a lot of us are renting other than putting down a deposit for a house.
When will this housing crisis end, Sajid? Are you actually solving the long-term problem or simply adding to it?
The Northern Powerhouse proposal needs attention more than ever to deliver on time and efficiently, to boost the economy… But will money going into new housing that maybe not all of us can afford only slow down the process?
For the sake of not only the North East but the UK’s future, I really the government works it out. The economy needs a step in the right direction, and let’s hope this is it.