Lord Kerslake highlights generational divide in housing

Peabody Chair Lord Bob Kerslake has said the housing market shows the worsening generational divide in the country.

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Lord Kerslake has said “housing has come to highlight the generational divide in this country”.

Speaking to PlaceShapers annual conference, the former HCA chief executive said lots needed to change in the sector.

He outlined that median house prices are now 12 times higher than median income in London.

He also pointed out that ‘baby boomers’ hold over half of the country’s assets, with millennials just 2%.

He said: “There is not one housing market in this country, there are many.”

He added that access to good quality housing has “diminished” for many, blaming a loss of social housing.

He said: “20 years ago social housing was around s third of all stock in the country. Now, due to Right to Buy and lack of replacements, that figure has now halved.”

He was hopeful about the future of the sector, saying there was a real opportunity to influence policy.

He said all the parties are changing policy “starting with housing”.

Turning to the Green Paper, he said: “We must use the Green Paper to make the case for good quality affordable housing.

“It must not become a stick in which to beat local authorities and housing associations with.”

He added there were many things that could be changed.

“We cannot build our way to affordability quickly, we need to build a lot of homes for a long time.

“It is not just about building any housing, it needs to be in the right place and the right tenure. We need more social housing.

“We need to see housing as a key part of the country’s infrastructure.”

He also challenged housing associations to do more.

He said they must use the fact they are “back in favour” with government.

“The scale of the challenge in this country means we have to go the extra mile.

“We need to build a better relationship with local government. We haven’t recovered from Right to Buy.

“The big mergers in the sector has meant local authorities see housing associations as private developers.”

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