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(Post Link) post #1 of 39 Old 08-08-19 Thread Starter
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Why is affordable housing generally not affordable??

So... a bit of background, I'm 36 years old, single, living in South Central England and I'm relatively recently qualified - long story short - I realised my calling late in life.

Now I have what could be termed as a specialist job - I'm an architectural technologist (which sounds more fancy than it is) - I work for a small firm which affords me a great variety of projects, I get involved in everything,and generally get to work on one-off bespoke houses into the millions of pounds... The kicker... I'm a bit underpaid by industry standards.

Most of my peers got onto the ladder just before the recession hit, when they could get 100% mortgages, having paid no deposit, and on relativity low incomes.

For the last 3 or more years I've been looking for a house, only help to buy, (but beggers and choosers and all that) and I begrudge giving someone £700+ a month to live in a 1 bed flat which I can't decorate or improve.

Recently a perfect flat fell into my lap - shaves about 10 mins and 2 miles from my daily commute, whilst still being close to my family and friends, and just happens to have benefited from a new boiler, bathroom and total redecorate in the last 12 months, carpets included - now with any 1 bed flats on help to buy (a) they are like rocking horse sh*te, (b) snapped up by private buyers at 100% for rental purposes (c) often given to those poor deserving folks who have popped out a sprog, or have a bit of a bad back which means they can't go out to work, or just don't feel like working.

Imagine my disappointment, when following a mortage appointment, I can't afford a 40% share of a 1 bedroom flat - yes!... not even half of a 1 bedroom flat!

That said, I've gone, cap in hand to my boss, who's kindly agreed to give me an extra £3.5k on my salary - and still it's not looking good - I've now got to find another 5% deposit, which will wipe out the money I've set aside for solicitor's fees, the obligatory new fridge, washing machine purchases etc.

By their terms of 'affordable' to be able to afford a 1 bed flat, you've to be earning at last £30k, and that's for a part rent, part buy.

Rant over.

Posting from my phone - excuse spelling mistakes

Last edited by amfalconer; 08-08-19 at 16:31.
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Why is affordable housing generally not affordable??

Because we stopped building council housing decades ago, and started selling off council houses. The private sector still builds roughly the same number of houses per annum that they always did, the public sector just stopped. Result: housing shortage, prices rocket.
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(Post Link) post #3 of 39 Old 09-08-19 Thread Starter
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I saw that on George Clarke's show the other week - I think it's time to leave this sinking ship of a country...
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Or you could just move north.

But it's a hard decision when you've found a job which it sounds like you love.
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Supply and demand.
There are flats in London where they’ve been “gentrified” keeping some affordable but they use a different entrance to the more profitable buyer’s.
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Originally Posted by bazza View Post
Or you could just move north.

But it's a hard decision when you've found a job which it sounds like you love.
I've certainly considered it, I have family up in the North East, where the same money will buy you a 2 or 3 bed house, my cousin in Monk Fryston (nr. Leeds) has a beautiful 3 bed house built by a local builder, which is less than the whole cost of my proposed 1 bed flat.

As you said, I love my job, I can't imagine going to a large faceless architect's office where I'll be desk-bound all the time and probably end up drawing one thing over and over again - it's not what I studied to do, and defeats the point of all that time studying.

That and the friends and immediate family I have in the South.

I just can't believe the unfairness of it all... I have held down a full time job, often worked other jobs also, for the last 20 years - I conducted my studies across 5 years, part-time, as well as working my full-time job, and at my own cost, all so I can approach my 40's in a small back-bedroom at my parent's house.

I realise this is all 'poor me' but it's the rant room after all!
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I’m sure that you’ll get there. I studied for two years on art foundation , four years on the BA course and another two doing my Masters. When I started work there were people working for me who were a few years into their mortgages. Now I’ve retired at 55 and the mortgage reached the end of its 25 years. Trouble with some jobs is they don’t look like they need incentives like good pay.
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Supply and demand.
There are flats in London where they’ve been “gentrified” keeping some affordable but they use a different entrance to the more profitable buyer’s.
It could be worse I suppose, I'd have a harder time buying in London....

The whole affordable thing is laughable, a developer can opt to pay to not have to provide any affordable housing, and still realise a profit - it should be non-negotiable.

Develop-able land is more scarce and commands a huge price (especially in my area) planing stipulations for greenfield sites are becoming more stringent, and building regulations, specifically relating to CO2 targets ensure that to provide a compliant home the costs rocket.
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I’m sure that you’ll get there. I studied for two years on art foundation , four years on the BA course and another two doing my Masters. When I started work there were people working for me who were a few years into their mortgages. Now I’ve retired at 55 and the mortgage reached the end of its 25 years. Trouble with some jobs is they don’t look like they need incentives like good pay.
In all possibility, the size and nature of the practice, I could be running it in a couple of years - another reason for the reluctance to move.
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A quick note, I'm of the age where I realise that £70k (for a 40% share) is not generally speaking, a lot of money - I've made my deposit, and some doing private work on the side, so afforability is not the issue - it's what you can prove.
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The North-South divide is definitely an exacerbating factor, but nobody knows how to fix it. Ideally we should move the jobs to the north but how do you achieve that? There are plenty of words spouted blaming politicians, but few if any suggestions about what to do.
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There’s going to be a very fast train connecting the North to the South!
How much will a season ticket cost?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amfalconer View Post
... afforability is not the issue - it's what you can prove.

Nothing changes. When we bought our first house, about 27 years ago, we 'declared' maintenance due to Mrs Pat, her second job and mine.


We never had a penny in maintenance and neither of us had a second job.
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Hah, 700£/month for a 1 bed apartment? Let's try 1400/1500 Euro / month for the same anywhere near Dublin.

Buying...let's not even go there; If you're single and can't count on a "parental gift", there's simply no way; Between deposit, fees, expenses and whatnot you'd need to be sitting on 30k+ cash; which is not that easy a sum to save, even if you've got an above average salary, when said 1500/month are ending up in rent (and you don't wan to live out of tuna cans). Oh, and there's an additional issue - you see a place, it's advertised for 200k, you go "right, I have the deposit for that!" - you go see it and discover some senseless couple of millennial buffoons nonchalantly bid 275k of mommy&daddy's cash, just so that they could get "ahead".

As if it wasn't enough, the "affordable housing" plans are exclusively about council estates; Sure, they ARE needed, but the situation is such that you have better chances being on benefits than working your ass off, again unless you've got a rich family giving you the cash.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterzo View Post
The North-South divide is definitely an exacerbating factor, but nobody knows how to fix it. Ideally we should move the jobs to the north but how do you achieve that? There are plenty of words spouted blaming politicians, but few if any suggestions about what to do.
It's a tough one, I could do my job in the North, after all the construction industry is everywhere - given lower housing prices, profits etc, would I earn the same - possibly... Where my other family live, near Durham, most driveways have 1 if not more new cars, people in their 20's are driving cars I could only dream of having one day, and the standard of living seems a bit higher - I'm guessing as the housing is cheaper..

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There’s going to be a very fast train connecting the North to the South!
How much will a season ticket cost?
Judging by most train tickets - another mortgage...

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Originally Posted by H3llR4iser View Post
Hah, 700£/month for a 1 bed apartment? Let's try 1400/1500 Euro / month for the same anywhere near Dublin.

Buying...let's not even go there; If you're single and can't count on a "parental gift", there's simply no way; Between deposit, fees, expenses and whatnot you'd need to be sitting on 30k+ cash; which is not that easy a sum to save, even if you've got an above average salary, when said 1500/month are ending up in rent (and you don't wan to live out of tuna cans). Oh, and there's an additional issue - you see a place, it's advertised for 200k, you go "right, I have the deposit for that!" - you go see it and discover some senseless couple of millennial buffoons nonchalantly bid 275k of mommy&daddy's cash, just so that they could get "ahead".

As if it wasn't enough, the "affordable housing" plans are exclusively about council estates; Sure, they ARE needed, but the situation is such that you have better chances being on benefits than working your ass off, again unless you've got a rich family giving you the cash.

Jesus, I though mine was bad - granted, I'm only down the road from Southampton, not a popular hub like London (or Dublin) luckily, I can count on a parental gift, not that I want to, but I've just had to ask my parents for £14k, granted they have it, but I don't feel at all comfortable asking for it.

Anyway, with a couple of fibs, a promise to remove my loan etc, and add another 5% deposit (hence the gift) - I've been told I do make affordability - now lets see the mortgage checks fall on their face.
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With the kind donation from your parents are you sure you need shared ownership?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterzo View Post
The North-South divide is definitely an exacerbating factor, but nobody knows how to fix it. Ideally we should move the jobs to the north but how do you achieve that? There are plenty of words spouted blaming politicians, but few if any suggestions about what to do.
It's the same thing often sprouted in Ireland - "move the jobs out of Dublin!!!" (when someone sitting in his/her inherited 4-bedroom house doesn't tell you "go outside of Dublin!").

Let's say we founded a new town in the middle of the sticks and call it Ballyscrotum; There are a number of problems with that:

Problem 1, other areas simply don't have the population to sustain most jobs; The economy here is largely propped up by Tech & Pharmaceutical companies which require highly qualified workforces; Where are the colleges and schools training them? But Dublin of course (or London, Birmingham, Milan, Madrid...basically every country has a similar issue);

Problem 2, these companies will need efficient transport hubs, especially airports, and infrastructure. You won't get an international airport in the sticks of Ballyscrotum;

Problem 3, often you need to attract talent from the outside - be it a different city or even country; You'll get people from just about anywhere wanting to live and work in Dublin, Milan or London (well, maybe not anymore...), how many people will you entice to move to Ballyscrotum?

Problem 4, and perhaps the most interesting - even solving problems #1 to #3 Ballyscrotum will, in a few years, have the exact same problem of the big cities, probably amplified x1000 due to size, culture and the rushed way things were done.

Case in point, I lived in Cork for years. There was absolutely jack **** there; A few companies (by working for two of them over 7 years, I had basically worked for 50% of multinational companies in the area. It was also the recession, apartments were cheap and aplenty. Then Apple moved an office there, and Fireeye, Qualcomm, plus Dell increased their presence. Now Cork has the same issue as Dublin, multiplied in magnitude as the city has no public transport except for a few ghost buses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amfalconer View Post
It's a tough one, I could do my job in the North, after all the construction industry is everywhere - given lower housing prices, profits etc, would I earn the same - possibly... Where my other family live, near Durham, most driveways have 1 if not more new cars, people in their 20's are driving cars I could only dream of having one day, and the standard of living seems a bit higher - I'm guessing as the housing is cheaper..

Judging by most train tickets - another mortgage...

Jesus, I though mine was bad - granted, I'm only down the road from Southampton, not a popular hub like London (or Dublin) luckily, I can count on a parental gift, not that I want to, but I've just had to ask my parents for £14k, granted they have it, but I don't feel at all comfortable asking for it.

Anyway, with a couple of fibs, a promise to remove my loan etc, and add another 5% deposit (hence the gift) - I've been told I do make affordability - now lets see the mortgage checks fall on their face.
I obviously didn't mean it as a dig to you; My own parents, 30-something years ago, had to benefit from a substantial loan from their families to get an apartment. I am staunchly opposed to that, but that's my choice and possibly my own fault.

Here, I kid you not, you get plenty of younger couples who have no sense whatsoever because they didn't earn the money they are spending; It has to be said that Dublin, as a general concept, IS a very rich city - established families, with adult kids, are often quite well off; Certainly much more than in Italy and probably a bit more than in the UK with maybe the exception of London.

I've been to "open viewings" to RENT a place where I overheard a couple going "we should offer 1800!" all hush hush between the two of them - when the landlord asked for 1200/month.

A guy at work, looking for a place to buy with his partner, has been already outbid 3 times in a row by other couples just walking in with cash and bidding 50-75k ABOVE the asking price. It sounds like the stuff out of some comedy where an idiot at an auction keeps topping his own bid, but that's happening for real - they come in, the owner asks say 250, there's been a bid for that money, they go "right, we offer...mmm...325?". This kind of behaviour puts basically anyone else out of the market, even if they earn a salary that's substantially above average.

What's absolutely infuriating is seeing how detached from reality these people are, completely failing to see how easy they're having it, and hearing them constantly complaining about a market that is out of control, pretty much, because of THEIR actions. But sure, blame "vulture funds", because heaven forbids people looked in the mirror for a moment.
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...and call it Ballyscrotum; There are a number of problems with that
...actually, I can think of another you haven't mentioned.
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With the kind donation from your parents are you sure you need shared ownership?
Sadly its not a donation, they use the term 'gift' but to all intents, its a loan, which must be repaid.

That £14k is another 5% deposit, which I don't think is needed, and some help clearing current commitments

Having reviewed this, I've decided not to proceed, the fact I'd need to repay another loan to the parents puts it outside my means, best to plug away every spare penny in the meantime, see what comes up next.
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I feel for you. At the time we got on the housing ladder we'd have been scuppered if near 100% mortgages weren't available (because house prices were rising quicker than our deposit could).
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Me and my other half have only just managed to get into a position where we can afford to buy a house.

We have been saving together for 12 years. Not huge amounts per month, but a couple of hundred each on average.

Many "Affordable" homes are bought up by investors looking to rent them out for a while and then sell them on for a profit a couple of years down the line. Or by those looking to invest in a 2nd home to help fund their retirement.


But high house prices makes people feel good about houses they all ready own, keeps them borrowing against them and spending money which helps the economy. It also makes the banks loads of money... So nothing is likely to be done.

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House prices are falling in London , apparently. It’s all relative. Loft conversion companies are doing very well out of the cost of moving house which , once stamp duty and fees are paid , is about the same.
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This huge variance between the North and South causes a further problem. People in the South reach retirement, sell a perfectly ordinary 3 bed semi and find they can afford a very nice cottage in, for example, a Yorkshire Dales village. This increased demand immediately puts all housing out of reach of young people born, working there and wishing to remain in the area since rural wages are much less than city ones but they need a larger mortgage than the city dweller to match the buying power of the Southerner. Hence regular complaints about incomers driving out the locals.

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I am up in Yorkshire at the moment, and was looking at property prices in the area.

Yes some of the houses are a lot cheaper, but it is very area dependent. Houses in the Harrogate area are not much different in terms of price compared to those in West Oxfordshire.

I am staying in Batley, and prices here are about half those at home. I would imagine that down the road in Dewsbury would be cheaper still.
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Yes some of the houses are a lot cheaper, but it is very area dependent. Houses in the Harrogate area are not much different in terms of price compared to those in West Oxfordshire.
A classic case of a retirement destination for people with money, as cited by TonyGr. Grow up in the Midlands or North, earn a living in London, sell up and retire to somewhere near your original area - but not Dewsbury.
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