Housing Crisis Calculator

How much is the housing crisis costing you? (Yes, you!)

We've created a new calculator that shows you how much England’s housing crisis is costing first time buyers. You can select any of England’s local authorities and various property types to show regional trends, or enter your own details for a tailored estimate of how much the housing crisis has cost you.

Inflation is bad

For decades, politicians, newspapers, and the general public have seen house price increases as a good thing. But they are wrong. House prices increasing means people are spending more on housing costs, making life less affordable.

Even left-leaning newspapers publish glowing reports of ‘House Price Winners’ experiencing the highest house inflation. Others speak breathlessly of ‘astonishing’ increases, praise the market’s ability to bounce back and recover, and warn of the risks of a downturn.

The reason that the papers love house price inflation is straightforward. Two thirds of the UK population are homeowners, likely to benefit directly from any increases. This will include almost everyone you see on TV, read in the newspapers, and those who control our political system. For good measure, 20% of MPs are landlords, owning more than one home and standing to benefit multiple times over from house-price inflation.

Losers from the current system are younger, poorer, less likely to have had a private education, and more likely to come from BAME communities. They have less voice and little influence. Unable to afford a house, they are forced into poorer quality housing in the private rented sector, on insecure contracts that give no protection from eviction.

Let’s change the nation’s attitude

Our society has invested huge amounts of effort and money in propping up house prices. Remember at the start of the pandemic, when it (briefly) looked like house prices might fall? The government leapt into action with a cut to the stamp duty land tax (paid by the buyer when purchasing a property), which has contributed to the insane increase in prices since then. Any suggestion that property owners should pay more in tax gets shouted down (remember the ‘dementia tax’?) and most planning reforms are too toxic to feature on the political agenda.

Attitudes are changing slowly, as runaway house price inflation and rent increases are trapping more young people with their parents or in crowded house shares, preventing them from moving for work, and increasing inequality between home-owners and the rest. But attitudes are not changing fast enough. We need to stop seeing house price and rental increases as a good thing, and set clear policies to stabilise and bring them down.

We think that simple, interesting data visualisations can help to promote some of that shift in mindset. Our Housing Crisis tool is a small example, made with limited expertise in design or programming. There is a lot of publicly available data on the housing crisis, and we have lots of ideas of other ways to visualise it.

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