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New "underclass" result of housing boom

18 August 2003
A new "underclass" of people is being created by the UK housing boom, claims a new study.

Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found housing availability in Britain was the worst in the European Union.

The UK has an average ten per cent fewer homes per 1,000 population than Germany, Italy and France.

RICS said the number of people unable to afford their own homes was growing, while there was also an increasing shortage of social and affordable housing, which was reaching "crisis levels".

The north-south property divide continued, with the North seeing the biggest price rises at 4.5 per cent, compared with 1.8 per cent in Humberside and 1.4 per cent in Greater London.

RICS chief Louis Armstrong said: "A housing underclass is being created and its numbers are swelling to include people who traditionally would have been able to purchase their own home.

"House prices in the UK have doubled since 1995 and this means that large numbers of people, particularly in high value areas, have little hope of accessing decent housing."

Property website has also revealed that house prices remained static in the four weeks to the middle of August and stated that house price inflation had fallen for the eighth month in a row to 12.4 per cent, from 26.5 per cent at the start of 2003.