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Housing is key to closing the gap in Bradford

Housing policy can help narrow the gap in England’s most economically polarised district

Bradford is the most economically polarised place in England, with the biggest gap between its most and least deprived areas, according to a new report published today by the think tank IPPR.

The report says that without more local power over housing spending, including housing benefit, and action both to secure new investment and strike new ‘something for something’ deals with landlords, the gap between the housing ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ will persist.

IPPR analysis shows that by 2025 Yorkshire and Humberside faces a housing shortage of 151,000 homes.

Jenni Viitanen, IPPR North, said:

“Bradford is a place of extremes: the area is highly polarised in terms of concentrations of high and low income households, which is linked to the way the housing market operates. The areas with high concentrations of low income households are also associated with the poorest quality housing stock, overcrowding on the one hand and empty properties on the other. Yet those on the lowest incomes and living in the cheapest areas still face the worst affordability constraints, measured as the proportion of their income taken up by rent.

“Bradford Council has shown a can-do attitude in terms of using its resources innovatively to secure economic development in the district. It clearly has an appetite for regeneration and is increasing housing supply through bringing empty homes back into use as well as through new build. However, there are major challenges to be overcome, among them inflated land values. So the council is right to make land it owns available for development to boost house-building, particularly for residential lettings. The Treasury should also reconsider the tax regime for investors in residential schemes.

“Housing benefit reforms, particularly in the private rented sector, will have an amplified impact in Bradford, hitting young people and large families hardest. And the Government’s so called ‘bedroom tax’ could force existing social tenants to seek accommodation in the private rented sector, resulting in a surge in vacancies across the social rented sector. This, combined with the Universal Credit, poses a serious threat to many Housing Associations across the north of England.”

Notes to Editors

The report shows that 16 per cent of households in Bradford have an average income of £50,000 or more (mainly living in Wharfedale and Ilkley), while 43.9 per cent (or 132,365 households) have a combined income of less than £20,000 per year and 42,994 households have an income of less than £10,000 per year.

IPPR surveyed Bradford residents and found the majority of renters still aspire to own their own home. The average property price in Bradford is just below £100,000 but an average detached home cost £219,720, a semi-detached £105,884 and an average terraced house only £71,576.

In terms of rents, the average cost of housing is:

  • Average social rent: £63 per week
  • Average Incommunities (LA stock transfer) rent: £61 per week
  • Average social rent (excluding Incommunities): £70 per week
  • Average private rent: £117 per week
  • Affordable Rent (80 per cent of average private rent): £94 per week

Bradford City Central sub-area has much lower private rents (averaging £93 per week) than more affluent areas, where the average rent can be almost twice as much (£170 per week). There are almost 3,500 long-term (over 6 months) empty properties in the private sector in Bradford, mainly in the more deprived City Central area. This represents a higher proportion than in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds and is twice the rate in Birmingham. In Bradford, empty homes in the private sector tend to be concentrated in areas of older housing stock. The main reason for private sector vacancies is owners and would-be landlords are unable to afford to renovate their property to expected standards.

There is a legacy of some 5,800 listed buildings in Bradford. Over a third of all houses were built before 1919, above the English average of 21.5 per cent. Sixty per cent of homes in the private rented sector in Bradford do not meet the government’s ‘Decent Homes’ standard.

Almost a quarter of all young people in Bradford (up to the age of 24) live in overcrowded households. Overcrowding affects mainly families with children, in the City Central area. More than one in five people in Bradford (21.2 per cent) is aged 16-29 years old (compared with the national average of 18.9 per cent). Youth unemployment is a particular concern.

Nearly one in three are unemployed in Bradford and the situation is worse for people with no qualifications, of whom 63 per cent are out of work. Almost one in five (18 per cent) people in Bradford have no qualifications (compared to 13 per cent for Yorkshire and the Humber and 12 per cent for England). Almost a third of people working in Bradford (31 per cent) are employed in the public sector (compared to a national average of 27 per cent).

The average full time weekly earning in Bradford is £422.50 (9 per cent below the regional average and 16 per cent below the national average).

IPPR analysis shows that England faces a shortfall of 750,000 homes by 2025. IPPR says 250,000 new homes need to be built every year to close this gap, but the latest figures show construction of new homes fell to around 100,000 in the 12 months to September 2011, the lowest level since the First World War.

IPPR’s new report –Alike in dignity? Housing in Bradford – is available in advance on request from the IPPR press office and will be available to download from:

IPPR’s other new report –Affordable capital? Housing in London is also available in advance on request from the IPPR press office and will be available to download from:


Tim Finch: 07595 920 899 /">

Tamsin Crimmens, 07800 742 262,">

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