Pretty much wherever you look in the world you will find a housing shortage. In some countries, like Spain, there are hundreds of thousands of empty properties, yet many have nowhere to live. This is largely down to economics, unemployment is high, so while there are plenty of homes to rent many simply cannot afford to live in them.
The housing crisis an example
In other countries, such as the UK, the housing shortage is a bit more complex. Unemployment is lower, but the cost of rent is still too high for many who are employed full time to afford. In addition, house building in the country has simply not kept pace with the increasing size of the population. A fact that has pushed prices up still further. In the UK things have reached a critical level.
The government has stated that to redress the balance it needs 200,000 homes to be built every year. A laudable target, but one that they have set year after year for nearly two decades. Yet despite this the builders are simply not putting houses on the acres of land that they own at a fast enough rate. Worse than that, a recent House of Lords committee states that in fact 300,000 new homes need to be built each year. You can read about why they say that here.
Things have been so bad for so long that many were despairing. Various schemes have been tried in the UK, and many of them worked really well. People took part in them and were able to get on the housing ladder as a result. However, the problem with many of these schemes has been that funds have been limited, which means that have only really been a drop in the ocean.
Fast build houses may come to the rescue
However, there is a good chance that things are about to change, and do so drastically. One of the country’s housing associations has just signed a deal with a Chinese firm that specializes in providing modular buildings.
Your Housing Group is a housing association that operates in the West Yorkshire area. The deal they have signed will enable them to build 33,000 affordable homes. These properties will be built by China National Building Material Company (CNBM).
In addition, they will build six factories in the UK from which they will operate. This will create 1,000 jobs, and will allow CNBM to manufacture the homes in the UK. An important part of the deal, which will help greatly to keep the cost down.
It will be interesting to see how things pan out. However, it is a scheme that has great promise, and a high chance of success.
Interestingly, this will not be the first time that prefabricated houses have helped the UK through a housing crisis. Heavy bombing during WWII flattened many homes. In 1942, the country needed 200,000 houses. At the time materials and skilled labor was in short supply. The answer was to build prefabs. In the end, 156,623 were built. They were designed to be a temporary stop gap, but people liked living in them, so felt no urgency to move out. In the end some people carried on living in their pre-fab for the rest of their lives. In some areas, these houses are still in use, and are still popular places to live.