Posted: 15/11/2014 at 09:39
Some interesting "stats" here, but - like lots of things - it's extremely difficult to identify the whole picture. Some of the comments seem to imply that the need for more housing is driven mainly by the results of mass immigration, but I think it's worth pointing out that the social/economic scene in the UK has changed a great deal during my lifetime for Brits - i.e.
People are living longer than ever before and are for the most part able to continue to live an independent life in their own home, thus not "freeing up" properties which would have been inherited in the past by their middle-aged children.
People no longer share housing in the way that they used to amongst family members - in that there are very few properties nowawdays where two or even three generations (adult) are living there.
Young people seem to feel a need to leave their parents' home and set up an independent lifestyle before they are really in a position financially to achieve this, hence the increased need for rental properties for younger people. In the past - only a generation or so ago - you didn't leave home until you were married and even then you'd saved up for the day when you could/would "fly the nest".
Gone are the days when the norm was to stay in the area where you grew up, work-wise. Many families - people in their 30's & 40's - simply have to move house because the breadwinner's job demands this, often in connection with a promotion or similar which they cannot in reality refuse. I meet people like this on a daily basis during the course of my own work.
People's expectations - not "ambitions" any more - are different now. They aren't prepared to wait for anything, but "must have" everything straight away!. You might be surprised at some of the comments I hear about kitchens for example. There might be a perfectly workable kitchen in a property I'm showing them round, but as it isn't to their own taste they often say "I'd simply HAVE to rip this kitchen out", when they don't in fact have to do that at all, any more than I HAVE to spend £50K on a new car. Until people come to terms with the difference between expectations and ambitions ref housing, the problem will simply be exacerbated.