General election 2017: Facing London's housing crisis

Row of terraced houses in south London Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Average house prices in London are more than five times their 1970 level

Nowhere is the bite of the housing crisis felt more keenly than in London.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) London's average house price in 2015 was £472,000 - 13.5 times London's average annual wage.

The typical mortgage lets you borrow a maximum of four and a half times your average earnings.

Between 2005 and 2016 average private rents in London rose 38%, while average individual earnings rose just 21%, according to a report by the Mayor of London.

Ahead of the general election BBC London has taken a look at how the different parties would address three housing issues facing many Londoners.

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Hayley Miller: 'I don't see home ownership as an option'

Image copyright Dolly Clew
Image caption Hayley Miller says high housing costs in London mean people "work and play but can't settle down here for life"

Marketing manager Hayley Miller moved to London because the "job opportunities here are better than anywhere else".

Despite earning above the national average she says she "doesn't earn enough to see home ownership as an option".

"Above national average, doesn't feel like it in London," she said.

"It's creating that Peter Pan mentality. We work and play but can't settle down here for life."


  • Stabilise rising house prices by building 1.5m new homes by 2022
  • Reform Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs), to allow councils better access to land that could be built on


  • Build a million homes by the end of the parliament, through a newly established Department for Housing
  • Guarantee the funding for the Help to Buy Scheme - which ended in 2016 - until 2027

Liberal Democrats

  • Build 300,000 homes a year by the end of their term, in part by allowing councils and Local Housing Associations to borrow more
  • Create £5bn of funding through a newly set up British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank
  • Allow councils to punish those holding on to land that could be built on

Robert Taylor: I spend 47% of wages on rent

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Media captionRobert Taylor says high rent costs create "never ending financial pressure"

Housing campaigner Robert spends 47% of his take home pay on renting in Hackney, which creates "never ending financial pressure".

"You're in a period of anxiety waiting for the renewal cost for the letting agent," he said.

In the last two years his rent has increased 23%.

"The main concern for someone in my position and my age is you worry how long you can sustain those rent increases," he added.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates 58% of renting households in London - equivalent to 1m households - spend more than a third of their income on rent.


  • Encourage landlords to offer long tenancies as standard and increase security of tenure for "good tenants"


  • Make "three-year tenancies the norm"
  • Cap rent rises at the rate of inflation

Liberal Democrats

  • "Promote" longer tenancies with an inflation-linked annual rent increase
  • Introduce a Help to Rent scheme to provide loans to help first-time renters under 30 with a deposit
  • Banning lettings fees for tenants

All three parties say that improving the housing supply will help take the pressure off current private rented stock and help stabilise prices.

Tracy Strassburg: Priced out of London

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Media captionTracy Strassburg says she has been forced to continually move by London's housing market

Tracy, a mother of two boys from Nunhead in south-east London, told the BBC she is being priced out of London.

Despite working as a yoga teacher and receiving £950 a month in housing benefit she struggles to make the £1400 a month she needs to pay for a two bed flat.

She is left borrowing up to £450 a month from her mother and running up debts on credit cards.

Her eldest son, who will turn eight in November, has lived in six different addresses.

She says every time she moves house she has to downsize the property for an increased price.

Each party promises to grow council and local housing association stock, which provide cheaper rents for those in need, which could in turn take pressure off of the private rented sector.


  • Provide funding to selected "ambitious, pro-development" councils to build council housing stock
  • Give housing associations "greater flexibility to housing associations to increase their housing stock"


  • Build 100,000 new council homes and Housing Association homes across the UK
  • Cap rent rises at the rate of inflation

Liberal Democrats

  • Build 500,000 affordable homes
  • Raise Local Housing Allowance - the housing benefit rate paid in each local authority - in line with average rents in an area

Read each party's manifesto in full:

Conservative manifesto

Labour manifesto

Liberal Democrat manifesto

Green Party manifesto

UKIP manifesto

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