In the midst of a UK housing crisis, the supply of UK homes available to buy are well below demand. In fact, 15% of those that are built are failing to meet the governments decency standards.

Overall, British housing is expensive, scarce and of sub-standard quality.

What’s causing the UK housing crisis?

As a tiny island, we don’t have a great deal of surplus land that might be deemed suitable for building projects. At the same time, areas of outstanding beauty are carefully protected from building work with planning permission nigh on impossible, and homeowners thriving to keep exclusivity of their neighbourhoods is firmly intact.

While all completely understandable, the result is a lack of new housing being built. Large scale housing construction projects have all but been abandoned and we’re left with a severe shortage of new houses.

Overall effect

As a result of the crisis, residential property prices have risen to extortionate heights which has had a knock-on effect on rental properties. As houses for sale become scarcer and more expensive, rental properties have increased in demand, thus also increasing in price. Housing prices now account for a disproportionately large chunk of a household’s expenditure.

The solution

For the crisis to lessen, an increase in the supply of housing with affordable costing is what’s required. However, this largely relies on government policies receiving the green light.

And that’s never straightforward!

In an ideal world, local authorities might be encouraged to develop their own house build programmes, brownfield sites could be cleaned up and repurposed for housing, taxes affecting property might be reformed, and financial incentives could be offered to those looking to start on the property ladder.

Of course, all these things take time so it could be a long while before we begin to see a ray of light around this ongoing issue.

Commercial-to-residential conversion

There is another chink of light amidst the current crisis.

As businesses near and far adopt more flexible working methods to suit their workforce, commercial office space is becoming more widely available. This makes space for highly beneficial commercial-to-residential conversions.

Developers are making use of unused or excess office space to deliver much-needed housing, much of which is centrally located with great transport links for residents. In turn, real estate isn’t going to waste and losing money for owners!

It’s a win-win all round!

Planning permission

According to Construction News, applications to convert office blocks into homes increased in 2022, reversing a six-year trend of declining activity.

Aside from the rise in available commercial property, this is also due to the potential for transitional simplicity; permitted development rights allow certain projects to take place without full planning permission. While developers still have to apply to their local authority for prior approval, this is significantly more straightforward with a ‘lesser’ consent process.

There are regulations that must be met, and projects must comply with certain standards. However, it is proving to be an ideal solution for ensuring that vacant office space is put to good use whilst serving the housing crisis.

How can Headoffice3 help?

Headoffice3 are experts in permitted development with an extensive commercial-to-residential portfolio. With a dedicated in-house team that specialises in all aspects of design-and-build, we ensure a faster and more seamless delivery than a traditional approach. We also deliver outstanding profitability results for clients.

Thinking about converting your office space to residential? We can help! Our inhouse team will advise and guide you on your journey. Give us a call and chat to one of our super friendly staff!