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Bungalows vulnerable under government sell-off, says think-tank

Bungalows are likely to be sold-off as a by-product the government’s plans to extend Right To Buy, but are unlikely to be replaced by new ones.

That’s the claim of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation think-tank which says the Housing and Planning Bill, currently going through Parliament, will compel local authorities to sell off high value housing stock as it becomes vacant to fund the Right to Buy extension for housing association tenants.

Research for the foundation conducted by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research in Cambridge University finds that bungalows make up a surprisingly-high nine per cent of council-owned housing, but are likely to make up 25 per cent of ‘high value property sales’ due to their higher cost and more frequent vacancies. 

The think-tank estimates this will result in the loss of 15,300 Local Authority owned bungalows in the next five years – one in fifteen of the total number in England.

It says this will have a disproportionate effect on older tenants. One in five older people currently lives in a bungalow, a proportion which increases steadily from age 55 to 75. This figure rises to one in four for older person households containing someone who is sick or disabled.

Variations in house prices across the UK mean that local authorities have different proportions of high value housing stock, and that some areas are likely to have to sell far more homes than others. Wealthier areas in London and the home counties are likely to have to sell off more of their homes, including bungalows.

The extra land needed and higher cost of building new one storey homes means that in many cases it will not be possible for councils to replace bungalows like-for-like, says the JRF. Coupled with the increased likelihood of bungalows being sold off under Right to Buy, this means that elderly, sick and disabled people, who are more likely to require this kind of housing, are likely to be disproportionally affected by the proposed rules.

The foundation wants bungalows exempted from the sell-off proposals.

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