A recent White Paper stated one of their housing objectives as ‘a decent home for every family at a price within their means’ (Fair Deal For Housing  p. 1). The extent to which the present situuation falls short of this aim can be appreciated by considering some of the following facts. In 1971 the Housing Condition Survey of England and Wales, conducted by the Department of the Environment, found that nearly 1,250,000 dwellings were unfit for habitation; this represents over 7 per cent of the housing stock of England and Wales. Moreover, among those dwellings classified as fit nearly 2,000,000 lacked one or more basic amenity. For example, over 1,000,000 lacked an inside lavatory and over 700,000 did not have a fixed bath. Altogether nearly 17 per cent of all dwellings (fit and unfit) lacked at least one basic amenity. So much for the ‘decency’ of many homes. On the question of ‘prices within their means’, the situation is equally dismal. In the 1960s various writers estimated that only between one-third and one-half of the population could afford to buy or even rent a new house (see, for example, Needleman  ch. 8).
KeywordsHouse Price Housing Market Home Owner External Cost Market System
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