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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 June 2018

Pay rises of 283% needed for most to afford London homes

Mass council house building programme needed now

Houses, photo Chmee2/CC

Houses, photo Chmee2/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Emily, East London Socialist Party

As a worker in London who earns just under half the average London wage, I would need a payrise to 134,000 a year in order to afford a mortgage in the city. In other words, 283% more than the average London salary of 35,610, or over 400% more than what I and many others earn.

In 26 of 33 boroughs, more than 100,000 is needed to buy a home with an 80% mortgage according to a National Housing Federation report. Even in the seven 'cheaper' boroughs like Newham and Redbridge, a wage of between 87,000 and 98,000 is needed to buy a home. This is far beyond what most working class and young people earn, showing that the prospect of owning a home in London - where the average price of a home is 585,000 - is unattainable.

But everywhere, not just in London, housing and home ownership for working class and young people is getting harder and harder to achieve. Due to low wages, insecure contracts, decreasing council housing and astronomical property prices, most are forced to rent privately - normally at rip-off rents - or stay living at home.

Even 'affordable' housing schemes such as shared ownership, which enables you to purchase a percentage of a property instead of buying outright, incur huge solicitors and agent fees, as well as monthly rent, mortgage and service charge payments, so the cost of even owning a share of a property is beyond what most can afford.

The report also points out the shortage of housing in London. Between 2012 and 2016 there were of 177,590 fewer homes than needed. The shortage of affordable housing has become desperate with the homelessness crisis and the increased use of food banks by working class families.

We need higher wages in the short term so we can afford rents and mortgages, but businesses are not going to give us all pay rises of 283% or more. We need a massive council house building programme so that we have affordable, secure homes for all without having to earn six-figure sums.

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