It was reported back in March 2013 in an article on the This is London website, that the housing shortage in Epsom was so bad that even homeless pregnant women were being forced out of the area, by the lack of any suitable accommodation in Epsom. With nearby Croydon being their most likely destination of the homeless pregnant women, this raised consternation among Croydon residents due to there also being a distinct shortage of housing there.
In the aforementioned article, Epsom Council was quoted as saying that at the time ‘as much 37 households in temporary accommodation’, of which 24 households were either ‘with children or expecting children’.
Fast-forward a year later to February 2014, and the Labour Party’s election promise to ‘tackle the housing shortage’ as quoted in the Epsom Guardian illustrates the fact that the housing shortage is still greatly affecting the area. Indeed, the rate at which houses have been built in the South-East over the last three years is in fact the lowest it has been since the 1920’s, which is alarming to say the least when considering the drastic housing shortage.
The housing shortage has had affected not only homeless pregnant women, but has also reportedly put a serious strain on local businesses, caused by the high cost of moving house, as well as by the way in which it has been made harder for firms to attract and retain talent in the area.
Meanwhile, in a the housing shortage has led to rising rent prices, which has also led to more people being forced to leave their homes to seek more affordable housing – a distinctly vicious circle, the effects of which are predicted to get even worse by 2020.
The housing shortage in Epsom is endemic to the South East, if information published in Home Truths 2014: South East by the National Housing Federation is to be believed. The report warns that despite the average salary in the region rising by 23% in the last decade, house prices have risen by more than double that to 56.2% in the last ten years.
Indeed, the National Housing Federation report reveals that a pre-tax annual income of more than £65,000 is now needed to pay for the average mortgage in the South East, which again is more than twice the average salary of £23,379. Indeed, the average house price is approximately £285,000, while a further 41% rise in rent is expected by 2020.
Rising rents are also a problem in the Epsom area, which saw a rise of 48% from 2009 to 2013, with a further increase of 41% predicted to occur over the next six years. Nearby Ewell saw a rise of 41% in the same period, and rents in Ewell are similarly expected to rise by a further 38%.
Experts say that every home built in the South-East region brings in an average of 166,635 to the area, while creating 2.4 more jobs. With this in mind, the message of Epsom to the government should be ‘build more houses!’ before it’s too late.