House Repossessions – Can Social Housing Cope?

Don't wait 'til the credit crunch reaches your front door.

In 2010 a statement was published in relation to the rise in house repossessions and the need for social housing to cope with the shortfall. Last year the predicted figures were (for 2010) as many as 5 million. This came from Local Government Association’s Environment Board chairman Paul Bettison.

As we’re in 2011 – where are we now? When you factor in that the last few years have seen the social housing register bloat by as many as 90,000 new applicants a year the future is not looking good.

Of course we also need to consider the fact that less and less people are able to climb onto the property ladder – plus the continuous influx of migrants and overseas students figures keep increasing. And just to really upset the apple cart – what about the frightening reality that is known as the 50% cut in social housing funding?

Over the next four years, local governments need to cut their spending in relation to social housing schemes. Obviously this means that there’s not going to be enough money in the pot to stay abreast of the properties they currently own – never mind the planning and building of new ones.

In short – the UK is heading into a pretty serious mess when it comes to the housing market in general. And judging on the house repossession figures – it’s not going to be over any time soon.

As it is (or was) councils are all hands-tied when it comes to making choices based upon need. They’re now denied the autonomy to go about their business – such as investing against their assets and critical mass (if you can apply such a term to social housing) was reached eons ago.

Demand has overtaken supply – too many people have found themselves experiencing the loss of their homes, are about to or will do so in the not too distant future. It’s an unfortunate mess and … is there any help out there for the financially harassed home owner that may well be facing life on the streets?

In so many words – the honest answer is not much. Unfortunately the tide cannot be turned. Most of us are just going to have to try and ride out the storm as best we can. Once again we’re seeing a return to life in the 80′s – when the rich got richer and the poorer just got … well … poorer.

Of course we can’t blame it all on the current coalition government but – let’s face it – the only results we can see so far are those stemming from the union of the millennium’s ability to make promises – and then break them.

As a side note – one thing that does have the ability to turn up the corners of my mouth (smile or derision – who can say?) is the softly softly, say-it-quietly-so-they-won’t-notice approach given out by those in the know:

“We predict a modest increase in arrears and house repossessions next year” (2011) – CML (yeah well modest is still going to see at least 4000 homes repossessed – who really believes only 4000 more good folks will be losing out this year?)

“It’s unlikely that there will be an increase in the number of UK house repossessions in 2011” – Paul Holmes, property analyst (unlikely? That’s not a definitely though is it. And the CML say there’ll be an increase, even if it is a modest one)

“The number of repossessions could rise if interest rates were to increase by around two per cent” (in 2011)  – Paul Holmes: Firstrung CEO (and the words ‘it could be quite catastrophic were added in as an after thought. How many of you heard this? And know what the word catastrophic means? Hands up at the back)

    I think the above illustrates exactly what I’m getting at. No one’s being upfront. Opinion is in conflict, and often delivered by those that would be better to keep the bad news to themselves anyway.

    So – what to do? First – if you’re in a poor situation financially, or you’re about to undergo the potential loss of your home, then it’s time to stop off and take a look at house repossession advice.

    If you’re not yet that far along the road, take stock. Heads up are better than heads down. Feel free to forecast your own financial future. Don’t leave it up to Gov Inc, your employers or just about anyone that could potentially pull the rug out from under you.

    If you believe you’re going to become homeless this year, at least go and check with your local council to see if you’re eligible for social housing. That’s not to say you’re guaranteed housing by the council but at least you’ve ticked off another ‘you know where you stand’ box.

    The short answer is things are not going to get better any time soon. Don’t believe all the spin. But don’t despair either. Whilst local governments are slowly finding themselves crippled by staff and spending cuts – the people that work there are just like you and me – they care about what they’re doing.

    And if the news and media is (ever) anything to go by – many of them are not about to take all the cuts lying down. So plan ahead, invest time in keeping up with what’s going on, stay informed and most of all – don’t bury your head and wait until a house repossession notice lands on your doormat.

    About Mark Knowles

    I am a long time professional blogger and SEO specialist in the real estate industry. I can be contacted here: mpk [at] bankproperties.com and also here:
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