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New housing solutions needed in London for new graduates

Fewer than six per cent of new graduates who move to London come from the most disadvantaged 20 per cent of UK neighbourhoods, according to a report by LSE London for the Sutton Trust. In contrast 42 per cent come from the most advantaged 20 per cent of UK neighbourhoods.

New graduates from the South East find it easier to gain a foothold in the capital, with fewer than 20 per cent of graduates moving to London from outside the region, says the new report called Home Advantage.

Dr Kath Scanlon, Dr Melissa Fernandez, Emma Sagor and Professor Christine Whitehead analysed the current housing situation for young professionals in London and proposed solutions to the crisis.

Aerial_Shot_LondonSince 2001 London’s population has increased by 12 per cent, but the city’s housing stock has only increased by 9 per cent. For many of the UK’s top jobs – in law, medicine, the medicine and finance – London is the place to be, but young people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, are being priced out of the housing market.

High housing demand has left many young graduates caught in a housing trap, where rising private rents leave them unable to save for a deposit. The number of single people aged 25 - 34 living in shared accommodation has risen by 28 per cent in the last decade and in 2014 there were only two London boroughs – Bexley, and Barking and Dagenham – where the average house price was less than eight times an average person’s income.

Home Advantage warns that this has worrying implications for social mobility and has led to a growing imbalance between those who can turn to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ for support –  whether by paying a deposit, guaranteeing a loan, or being able to provide accommodation themselves –  and those who cannot. Data published in the report showsthere are now more graduates (15 per cent) living with their parents than on their own (11 per cent).

To make sure that working and living in London is a realistic goal for bright young graduates from all backgrounds, the Sutton Trust and the authors of the report are urging candidates in the 2016 mayoral election to consider innovative and new types of housing schemes to address the supply-side problem.

The report recommends:

  • Market-based student-type housing, which can enable young people to gain a foothold in the capital in the short-term, with a proven track-record of success;
  • Age-targeted privately-rented housing developments, which tailors housing design, amenities and business models to suit the needs of young professionals;
  • Factory built pre-fabricated housing, which produces simple housing quickly and at limited expense, providing effective transitional housing for those leaving university;
  • Covenanted privately-rented housing, where as a condition of planning permission, new dwellings remain in the private rented sector for a set number of years.

Kath Scanlon, LSE Research Fellow and co-author of the report, said: “Young professionals find themselves little better than non-graduates in the London housing market. Those who move to London almost always have to share with increasing numbers who can live with mum and dad. There are important innovations being tried – but all need scale if they are to be successful.”

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “So many of our leading jobs are based in London yet the current housing situation is making it increasingly difficult for graduates from less advantaged homes to move here. Our brightest young people deserve the same chances to reach the top of their professions or to be able to turn their talents into businesses whatever their background.”

“Today’s report presents some really promising solutions to the housing trap that many young Londoners find themselves caught in. I hope that all the candidates to be London Mayor in 2016 – and the current team in City Hall – will look at these innovative solutions carefully and find ways to take them forward.”

Posted: 16 September 2015