We are a property mad nation, we all want our own castle to call home, and yet our property market is in perpetual crisis. We have damagingly high house prices and yet at the same time there is a lack of house building. There is a stream of initiatives from our politicians, but little changes. Here are nine facts that will challenge how you think about the housing crisis.
As May's General Election fast approaches politicians need to take note. With over nine million renters in the UK, policy needs to reflect their needs but, historically, parties have chosen to target older voters and homeowners.
The festive season is upon us. At some point over the next couple of weeks most of us will have a cosy evening decorating the Christmas tree in our Christmas jumper, listening to the Pogues and drinking mulled wine. People living in house shares are no exception. Except they are, well 16% of them. That's because 16% of shared homes don't have a living room. ..
In short, we hear what journalists and politicians think the issues are and and how it affects Londoners - but we don't hear enough from Londoners themselves. And it is only by having an inclusive debate with all parties allowed a voice, that we will together take the tough decisions needed to tackle the London housing crisis.
You shouldn't be able to get rich because you bought a house for a pittance in 1974 that's now, all of a sudden, worth a fortune. Property in the UK today is a lottery that doesn't sell any tickets to the poorest. That's unfair, and, mansion tax or no mansion tax, it ought to change.
Prudential says that two-fifths of homeowners aged over 55 are looking to downsize. Will the government come up with a 'Help to move' package to make it happen? And will planners and developers create the housing options that older people want?
When this new housing is built, this will inevitably mean changes to local infrastructure and new roads being built. At present, older people face a disproportionately high number of accidents on the road - the Department for Transport reports that older people are between two and five times more likely to be killed or suffer a serious injury on the road than a younger person.
Living in Bow in the Nineties, just one skyscraper dominated the skyline: ONE Canary Wharf. I would see it when I went to bed every night and when I woke up in the morning. With steam pouring from its air conditioning ducts through the night like some steam punk dragon, it winked knowingly at the council estates it towered over. It knew there was worse to come...
Home affects every single one of us, every day, at every stage of our lives, wherever and however we live. What can be more important than that?
An alarming number of private tenants - sixty per cent - believe UK letting fees are poor value for money, according to a recent poll. The survey, carried out by Populus, found that nearly half of private renters felt that letting fees did not reflect the time and effort put in by the letting agent.
You can almost smell the contempt from here, but if out elected representatives think they can get away with playing politics with people's homes - as we have also seen in Newham - they are quite wrong.
Our mid twenties without Google search would be a shameful series of questions to family members starting with 'I know I should know this but...' whilst gazing wearily down at our Young person railcards. Much like the deteriorative hangover, the road to 30 creeps up without warning or fan fare..
We are hearing a lot about development at the moment. The Mayor of London has released an audacious paper about what London should look like. From the Olympics to the airports debate everyone is excited about the modernising face of London. And yet too often ordinary people are promised affordable homes, then shut out of the development process whilst space is eaten up by unaccountable giants.
The grim reality of London's private renting crisis was graphically exposed to the wider world this June when in Islington we banned a tiny 'shoebox' flat from being rented out. In the widely-shared photo from the letting agent's site, you could see the bed blocking the cupboard doors under the hob; the fact it was snapped up, in less than a day, for £737 a month was a cruel expression of the desperation so many tenants' face.
When the recession hit, it wiped out livelihoods and decimated entire markets. In the face of a global slump, Britain's housing sector was no exception; buyers couldn't afford to buy and builders couldn't afford to build. Over the course of several years, the pace of the property market dropped from jet stream to tumbleweed and the UK was left with an increasingly problematic housing deficit.
Britain is rightly proud of its track record of job creation, but a successful 21st Century economy requires more. Ahead of the 2015 Election, it is time for all parties to face up to the changing face of the labour market, and set out their commitments to building a more sustainable, productive and robust economy that offers opportunities for all workers, and cities, throughout the UK.