Twice now I have written about the need for our last remaining green spaces to be preserved instead of built upon. They’re important and, when you live in a busy town, it’s nice to have somewhere quieter to go so you’re not constantly cooped up between brick and concrete. I still believe that, and will continue to do so.
However, here’s something interesting that I found out a few weeks ago when taking a quiz created by the charity Shelter: I will be approximately 39 years old by the time I am able to buy my own home in Norfolk, due to the average house price in my postcode area being £116,253.
I don’t know how accurate that is but, as much as I like living with my parents, it’s a scary thought.
Even scarier is that 237 households in Norfolk are homeless, and 123 of those are families with children. I was shocked because, unlike in London, we don’t tend to see people curled up on cardboard in every doorway and on every corner.
But homelessness isn’t always visible. Because of this, according to politicians, journalists, charities, experts, and now me, we need more affordable homes. But what constitutes an affordable home?
Who decides what can be deemed an affordable home and what can’t? You could say mansions are affordable… for rich people, that is. Could an £80,000 house up for sale be considered affordable? Apparently yes, it could, but for whom? If I was to move out at 21 years old, which is in five years’ time, I don’t think I’d be able to whip that out of my bank account unless I’d won the Lottery – cross your fingers for me, okay?
In all seriousness, though, as long as I had a well-enough paying job, I might be able to save for a deposit and get a mortgage… but what if I can’t? What if house prices just continue to rise?
They’ve risen by 11% in the last three years, and rent by 7%. Who’s to say it will stop any time soon?
A couple of years ago there were some new houses built in my town.
They looked like really nice places to live in, and for a while they were surrounded by billboards advertising them as being ‘affordable homes.’ Out of interest, my parents looked up the prices because we would love to move, and discovered that there was no way on earth we could even afford the deposit on any of them.
We need more homes that are actually affordable for a range of different people with different incomes, plus more houses to combat the homelessness problem.
We also still need our green spaces to be preserved. In short, there needs to be a balance, and I don’t envy the jobs of town planners and councils.