How Do Growth and Residential Construction Reduce Poverty for UK Cities?
Real Estate, Investment, Capital Growth
Private investment in housing is largely about asset growth. But by fostering construction and new homes, the investor also plays a role in poverty abatement.
If the price inflation of food since the 1970s was as great as that of housing in the UK, a chicken in 2015 would sell for £51, a leg of lamb at £53 and six bananas would cost £8.50. Which is not a bad deal for long-time homeowners, but not so good for first-time homebuyers and anyone stuck in the rent trap.
Economists and the country’s leading housing advocates echo each other where it comes to the price of housing overall, whether one is able to buy or trying to rent: the increasing share of pocket that goes to shelter is making it much harder for citizens of the UK to pay for fuel, food, other necessities and consumer goods. Further, Government spending on housing benefits are soaring as well, while employers in central London say their wage costs are rising because it has become difficult to find staff able to travel into the city. Because they cannot afford to live there, they must live great distances away from their workplaces.
By every calculation, the cost of housing is a near-pure expression of supply-demand principles. London has historically limited tower height, the greenbelt has restricted sprawl, and brownfield remediation costs have limited building on what sites there are. So without supply to answer a growing population, the price naturally rises. Investors working through strategic land partnerships throughout the UK seek places and ways to add to the housing inventory wherever possible.
In response to these housing economics, younger people and employers are moving out of the capital city. The Office for National Statistics reports that 58,000 people in their thirties left London in one year (2012-2013), heading for lower-cost cities that include Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford. A 2014 survey of a network of entrepreneurs, the Supper Club, indicated that 40 per cent say the cost of housing is driving away their best employee prospects; almost half said that housing and transport costs lead them to consider moving their businesses elsewhere.
Those difficulties trickle down to lower-income workers and residents. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which advocates an end poverty and injustice, states that “housing costs constitute the most important and most direct impact on poverty and material deprivation.” Other studies and charities add that the costs of substandard housing lead to fuel poverty while inefficient heating systems add carbon to the atmosphere. Poorly insulated homes cost a greater share of disposable income to those who can least afford it.
How do investors - individuals as well as institutions - make a positive impact on this? By building. By increasing supply and by building better. They construct more efficient homes that provide more options for living, in and outside of London and throughout the country. If the housing stock is more favourable in Manchester, the entrepreneurial class might be more drawn there, set up their shops and grow those local economies – affecting not only their employees but in the ripple-rings around them: shopkeepers, cafés, auto dealers and service personnel, schools, hospitals and leisure activity providers. Each of these things are affected when better housing is available everywhere - something that is directly affected by people investing through real asset funds, REITs, homebuilders and other methods.
Individual decisions on where to invest are best guided through an independent financial advisor. Their role is to assess the specific investment as well as how it can affect your overall asset accumulation strategies.
, Lucent Group
, Real Asset Portfolio
, Real Estate
, Strategic Land Partnership