Greater Manchester is suffering a housing crisis. A shortfall in the number of new homes built over the last 10 years, combined with a growing population and rising house prices, has left many local people priced out and unable to buy or rent a property. 34% of young working adults in Greater Manchester cannot afford a home of their own and rents across the region are rising, causing social housing waiting lists to lengthen. There are now more than 80,000 people waiting for social housing in Greater Manchester, but only 2,000 affordable homes are being built every year.
A shortage of homes is also a drag on opportunity in the wider economy. In Greater Manchester, there were 28,000 fewer homes built in the last decade than originally planned for. Building these homes would have helped to employ over 120,000 people, supported 1,120 apprenticeships, graduates and trainees and generated over £280m in tax revenues.
Public opinion on housing
In June 2017, original research undertaken by leading pollster Ipsos Mori laid bare the extent of the current housing crisis. The aim of the research was to understand the types of homes people live in, their housing aspirations and their means for climbing the housing ladder. It found that young people in Greater Manchester fear that their housing aspirations are out of reach:
- 83% agree that it will be harder for young people to get the home they want;
- 52% know someone who is struggling to get on the housing ladder;
- 52% agree that more homes are needed in their local area to meet demand.
- 84% of 25-34 year olds agree that owning a home is important to them;
Responses to the survey indicate a broad desire to move away from renting and towards home ownership, but also suggest that this may be blocked by affordability issues. One third of respondents are looking to move home in the next five years, with this figure the highest in Manchester, Salford and Oldham. However, 30% of aspiring movers are not confident of being able to buy a home, a figure that rises to 44% amongst 18-24 year olds.
The research confirms that home ownership is an important cross-generational aspiration and in particular for young people in Greater Manchester. Like generations before them, younger people dream of owning a traditional home in the suburbs; but at the same time, there is widespread pessimism about their prospects of owning a home.
An ambitious GMSF is an indispensable tool for tackling these problems, but the only real solution is building the homes that will allow young people in Greater Manchester to achieve their aspirations.