A broken market needing innovation

The London property market is broken, most people agree on that. Once a liveable city with a working-class population and genuinely affordable housing it is now, to many, a dystopian nightmare where thousands of unlived in flats are held by multi-millionaires and the people who keep the city running are doomed to struggle to afford rent, let alone life.

An article in the Guardian today illustrates the issue of ‘affordability’ in the capital where a shared-ownership flat in Hackney is on sale for more than £1m. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/aug/24/affordable-shared-ownership-flat-hackney-1m

There is plenty of outrage, worry and hand-wringing about the housing situation in the capital – but precious few solutions coming through.

Gentoo’s Genie home purchase plan, recently backed by a £40m Greater London Authority loan, is a hugely innovative way to own a home without having to save for a mortgage deposit. This removes one significant block to housing in the capital – trying to save while also paying the capital’s astronomical rents.

What could make a massive difference to the capital’s housing problem is making Genie available on genuinely affordable homes. Another announcement this month revealed Westminster City Council is working with developer Pocket Living to provide affordable rental homes, http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/property/westminster_development_will_offer_compact_homes_at_50_market_rent_1_4190302 . Again this is another step in the right direction. But these are steps while the London property market is going at the same speed as Mo Farah.

To make a real impact London needs thousands more affordable and accessible homes, schemes such as www.ownageniehome need to be given mass support together with a realistic house-building programme – and it needs to happen now.