Because more equal societies work better for everyone

A House Divided - How Unaffordable Housing Drives UK Inequality

August 2016

The country's housing crisis is known to us all, not least because so many of us suffer from its effects. Poor quality accommodation, high rents and a lack of affordable homes to buy have a real impact on people's lives. But housing also drives the UK's extreme levels of inequality too.

The Equality Trust's latest briefing note A House Divided - How Unaffordable Housing Drives UK Inequality shows the scale of housing inequality, and the chronic lack of affordability of housing for many people. Our analysis finds that:

  • 86% of renters (over 6 million households) have less than the £8,838.65 needed for even a 5% deposit for a mortgage on an average first home in the UK.
  • 95% have less than the deposit (£35,354.60) needed for a mortgage on an average first home in the UK.
  • 78% have less than a quarter of the deposit needed (5% of total house value, or £3,629) for an average house in Burnley (the local authority area with the lowest average house price).
  • Twenty four of the wealthiest 100 people in Britain last year grew their wealth, in part, through owning property. They have a combined worth of over £78 bn.  Last year these 24 people saw their wealth rise by almost £7 bn. That’s the equivalent of 33,144 average priced houses

Housing is a key component of the story of inequality in this country, where we are fast becoming a nation with a dwindling number of the 'housing haves', and millions more becoming the 'renting rest'. Our briefing note calls on political parties to tackle this inequality and lack of affordability through a fairer Council Tax, and a commitment to a genuine, ambitious housebuilding programme that reduces both impossibly high housing costs and extreme inequality. 

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