All aboard the retrofit train

Posted on by melanie

Could a new concept in refurbishment help to alleviate the UK’s serious shortage of warm, sustainable and affordable homes? Melanie Thompson of Get Sust! investigates.

Housing is always in the news, typically focusing on rising prices (in the south east). But with just five years to reach our emissions-reduction targets and as the nation’s politicians dust off their soap-boxes ready for the May General Election, it is time for everyone to focus on the other aspects of housing – accessibility and sustainability.

According to recent reports by housing charity Shelter, and the social justice experts at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the UK has endured four boom and bust cycles in the housing sector since the 1970s. The results are massive financial gains for some lucky homeowners, but misery, uncertainty and homelessness at the other end of the scale, with the proverbial squeezed middle uncertain of the future (In the Mix: the need for a diverse mix of new homes).

At the start of the recession, the number of new homes being built in England fell to its lowest peacetime level since 1924 and things have barely picked up since then. The result is that each year more people are being priced out of home ownership, which in turn results in higher rents and increasing competition (and therefore shorter-term rental contracts).

The JRF housing market policy briefing says that by 2020 the number of home owners under the age of 30 will be reduced by almost a half, and an extra 1.5 million people under 30 will be …Read the whole article on the NBS Sustainability website.

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