Houses prices in the UK have gone through the roof (no pun intended) in recent years as demand is outstripping supply. Can eco homes make a difference?
First, lets look at the demand on housing. Over the previous decades people have started to marry later in life, get divorced more often and live longer. All of which have meant an increase in single person (and parent) households – either by choice or situation!
The increase in the general population (now 60 million in the UK for the first time) has been aided by an influx of Polish and EU immigrants in recent years that has lead to further pressures of housing, although it has to be noted that they tend not to live in single households and live in shared households to keep costs low. Immigration and the demand on housing has been highlighted by the British National Party and the other far-right wing political parties in the UK.
But, if you fly by air over the UK you will see miles and miles of beautiful countryside, so is it that people choose to live in crowded cities not realizing that space is plentiful in the countryside? The problem with country homes is the lack of amenities and the high prices due to the beautiful location and this is not helped by those rich city people that have bought second homes in the countryside and only visit at the weekends and holiday times. This pushes the prices up for the current village residents that may not have the incomes to match the rising house prices. This often leads to resentment by local residents as some villages in the UK are half empty though out the winter and non-holiday times leading to local facilities such as shops and pubs closing down.
Some people are now living in caravan style homes and buying flat pack homes are increasing in popularity due to the cost savings involved. Houses made of straw are another eco method becoming popular due to its insulating properties. Other schemes involve two strangers buying a house together so that they can get a foot on the housing ladder. Some housing associations allow you to buy a percentage of the home 25-75 percent normally and then pay rent until you can afford to buy the remaining share. This would be a good deal for the housing associations as they could recover the cost of the build via a 75% cost sale and make money on a weekly basis due via the rents. Then again, they could just make a profit by selling 100% of the house and they wouldnt have the administrative duties of collecting the weekly rents. Maybe this is something the government could make more attractive to house builders in the way of tax incentives to help first time buyers get on the housing ladder.
I am lucky in that myself and my partner earn enough to buy our first home but still money is tight and I just hope that interest rates dont continue to rise which could make it difficult for us and thousands throughout the UK that already struggle with high mortgage repayments due to the increasing prices. I sometimes wish that I had trained as builder then I would never be short of work….or money!