Earlier today, Prince Charles spoke out against the rocketing housing prices in London, and has warned that if intervention is not taken soon then it is likely that younger generations will not be able to afford to live in the capital city.
— Prince’s Foundation (@PrincesFound) March 26, 2014
The Prince, who was speaking at a publication event in Ham, south-west London, commented that any hopes of young people becoming homeowners is now “further and further out of reach”. This statement has been made in light of a new report that The Prince is launching, which discusses the need to prevent high-rise apartment buildings from being constructed, and urges for more “human-scaled streets, squares and parks” to be built in their place.
It has been recently revealed that London property prices have soared to over 13 per cent more than last year, making the average home cost a record-breaking £458,000.
With these figures in mind, Prince Charles stated: “In London we find ourselves in a situation where the average house price is 10 times the annual salary of a primary school teacher— a huge rise in comparison to just 20 years ago — when the average house price was 2.9 times a primary teacher’s annual salary.”
He continued by saying: “The National Housing Federation estimates that in only six years the average London house price will have risen 40 per cent to £650,000. This isn’t sustainable and risks driving away talented young individuals who are starting their careers in London and spending most of their income on rent.”
For many young workers and families, the reality of saving enough to afford a mortgage and buying a house is simply a dream, as many continue to rent apartments at high rates in the capital city.
The Prince went on to say: “In order to continue to prosper, any healthy city requires a built environment that provides good quality housing, the integration of nature and green spaces at its heart, walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods, good public transport and an identity that fosters pride and a sense of belonging. The most successful cities and the most popular neighbourhoods within those cities all share these qualities in abundance.”
“It is these qualities which attract so many people to London — not just for the employment opportunities that the city offers, but because of its mid-rise nature, its human-scaled streets, squares and parks and its series of diverse walkable neighbourhood ‘villages’ that foster a strong sense of community. We must continue to build upon these strengths, which are essentially London’s ‘calling card’. ”
The Prince of Wales’s report is being issued by The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, a charity which is committed to creating urban areas which are “beautiful, harmonious and enduring”. The charity wishes to produce neighbourhoods which are available to people from all different backgrounds and incomes. They also run courses in building and urban design, alongside a number of summer schools which teach people about building and repair skills.
The Prince’s Foundation has been involved with more than 30 housing projects across the United Kingdom, including Highbury Gardens in Islington, Coed Darcy in south Wales, and Knockroon in East Ayrshire, Scotland. The charity are currently working on a project with the local residents of Ham Close, in Richmond.