A new report says that 10,000 more working families every month are now drawing housing benefit to help pay their private rent.
Home Truths 2012, from the National Housing Federation, labels today’s housing market as unsustainable, and says that nowhere near enough new homes are being built, stifling supply and putting up prices.
It says that 86% more in-work people are claiming housing benefit today than three years ago. There are now more than 900,000 in-work claimants.
David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: “We now have millions of families struggling to keep on top of their rents, priced out of the housing market, and nearly 10,000 more working families every month are now reliant on housing benefit to help pay their private rent.
“These people are the ‘strivers’ the Government wants to help, yet their future is looking bleak.”
The report found that the cost of renting privately has gone up 37% in the last five years and predicts it will rise a further 35% over the next six years. It warns that private rents are increasing faster than house prices, with the knock-on cost to the taxpayer rising as a result.
Orr said: “The housing market is at the point of no return, with rising house prices, rising rents and millions of families really struggling to afford their home.
“It’s no surprise that one in 12 families in England is on the waiting list for social housing. Sadly, the future is looking even bleaker.
“Successive governments have failed to tackle the under-supply of housing and time is now running out. If we don’t urgently fix the housing market we will have a generation who are priced out of renting a home, let alone buying one.”
The National Housing Federation called on the Government and the whole housing industry to take a long-term joined-up approach to tackle the market difficulties.
Housing minister Mark Prisk, speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, said successive Governments had failed to build enough homes. He said: “We are not complacent about the challenge.”