Housing crisis: Jersey to be 2,700 homes short by 2021?

THE ISLAND’S housing crisis is expected to worsen over the next two years with a shortfall of over 2,700 homes predicted.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (24271211)
Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (24271211)

According to a report from Statistics Jersey, shortages are now predicted for every size of flat and house, with the exception of a small surplus (70) in the number of large homes of four or more bedrooms.

And the situation has worsened considerably since the last Future Housing Needs report was issued, covering 2015-2018, with almost twice as many more homes now needed.

The gap between the number of people looking for homes and the number of homes available widened by 90%.

The news comes as a former assistant minister said the States were drastically failing to meet its commitments to provide affordable homes.

The dearth of properties will be worst in the owner-occupier sector, where there is predicted to be 1,830 fewer homes available than households wishing to buy or move, with the biggest shortfall being in the three-bedroom category.

The report makes a number of predictions based on different inward migration figures, but every scenario between now and 2021 forecasts more demand for homes that the Island can supply.

These projections are based on numbers before various building projects intended to increase supply are completed, Statistics Jersey noted.

In the registered accommodation sector, there is expected to be a shortfall of 600 units, with two-bedroom homes in most demand.

In the previous report covering 2015-2018, there was a projected surplus in registered accommodation, but ‘the latest potential shortfall has been largely driven by recent levels of migration’, Statistics Jersey said.

Qualified accommodation numbers are expected to be less affected by migration trends and no shortfall is predicted in the supply of larger homes of four or more bedrooms, where a small surplus is predicted.

According to the report, there will be 70 more homes in this category than needed. However, there could be a shortage of over 1,000 three-bedroom units and 900 two-bedroom homes.

The private rental market is also predicted to fall short of demand by nearly 500 houses of all sizes – except those over four bedrooms. However, a surplus of flats of two bedrooms or less is predicted.

And while there may be a surplus of flats for social housing, there will be a shortfall of 160 houses in that category.

Migration is expected to fuel most of this burgeoning demand in the next three years, with almost a third coming from newcomers to the Island.

Of that demand, 70% will be looking for registered accommodation and most will be seeking one-bedroom housing, according to the report.

But slamming the brakes on migration and limiting it to nil, would not affect the shortage of family homes.

‘The potential shortfalls in owner-occupier accommodation are only slightly lower than those apparent under current migration trends,’ the report said of a net nil migration projection.

Statistics Jersey also looked at whether those expressing interest in buying could meet affordability tests by household income. The base data used was from the 2018 Opinions and Lifestyle survey.

The affordability test knocked almost one in five hopeful households – 18% – out of the equation for demand for three-bedroom homes.

However, as those households cannot buy based on current price levels, there was then a corresponding rise in the shortfall of rental accommodation.

Affordability had a similar effect in other size categories of dwellings as well.

‘It is worth noting that these households will likely still have to move in the near future either to a property type that may not suit their needs or to social or entitled/licensed rental properties,’ the report noted.

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