Problems like Aylesbury’s housing crisis, where we have a rudimentary numerical problem of too few homes for too many people ... the answer is clearly to build more property in Aylesbury - but that, unfortunately for those desperately seeking to purchase or let a property, takes a lot of time and huge amounts of money. So what of other solutions?
Whilst at lunch with a friend whilst on holiday last week, the subject of property came up as it invariably does (as I am sure it does at most lunch/dinner parties up and down the country). Normally someone always mentions empty properties as the solution to the problem. On the face of it, it seems so obvious. As I had recently done some research on this topic, I want to share it with you as I did with my friend at lunch last week.
The most recent set of figures from 2015 state there are 1,256 empty homes in the Aylesbury Vale District Council area. So it begs the question ... why not put them back into the system and help ease the Aylesbury housing crisis? Whilst they stand empty, 2,570 Aylesbury households (not people – households) are on the Council House Waiting List for council houses. Surely, we can all agree that property left empty for years and years is not morally right with the burgeoning Council House Waiting List, not to also mention the issue of homelessness.
But a different story emerges when you look deeper into the numbers. Of those 1,256 homes lying empty, only 240 properties were empty for more than six months. The local authority has to report a property being empty, even if it is for a week. So many of these Aylesbury properties are either awaiting new homeowners or, in the case of rental properties, new tenants. Also most certainly, some properties are being refurbished and renovated, while others properties have homeowners who are anxious to sell but cannot find a buyer.
The fact is that the number of genuinely long term empty properties is only a tiny drop in the ocean of the 69,406 properties in the area covered by Aylesbury Vale District Council and, even if every one of those empty homes were filled with happy cheerful tenants tomorrow, it would only meet a small fraction of Aylesbury housing needs.
So what does this mean for all the homeowners and landlords of Aylesbury? Well it means with demand being so high, especially for rental properties, the certainty of the rental market growing is an inevitability because young people cannot buy and councils do not have the money to build new council houses. This in turn bolsters property prices as landlords continue to buy at the lower end of the market (starter homes, etc), which in turn sustains the rest of the market as those sellers move up the property ladder, releasing others in turn to buy on again.
These are interesting times in the Aylesbury property market!
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