The 2021 UK Housing Review, published in April, reveals that 280,000 UK social rented homes were sold, converted to higher rents or demolished between 2012 and 2020, while only 70,000 new social rented homes were built.
Right to Buy sales accounted for the loss of 120,000 social rented homes whilst conversion to higher affordable rents accounted for the loss of 116,000 social rented homes. The review says that the supply of social rented homes is likely to decrease further because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And in London? We have looked at data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Greater London Authority websites. Our analysis indicates a loss of at least 50,134 social rented homes in London over the same time period, through Right to Buy sales, demolitions and conversions of social rented homes to affordable rent.
From 2012 to 2020 there were 20,155 local authority Right to Buy sales, 10,019 demolitions and 19,960 conversions from social to affordable rent in London; and, just 16,173 new social rented homes were built.
There will also have been losses through preserved Right to Buy for former council tenants that transferred to housing associations and sales of social rented homes to the private market, but not all MHCLG data is provided for different regions of England.
We also don’t know how reliable the figures are for demolition. The Mayor’s office advises that demolition is only taken into account in their analysis of net housing delivery, once replacements have been delivered. We presume that this is the same data that is included on the MHCLG website, but whether it is dependable is not clear.