Skip to main content

Finding equitable access to housing as a shaky global housing market slides

By Jackie Edwards 
Property is a key facet of most economies, developed or otherwise, and the fortunes of a national housing market can be a key indicator as to wider GDP growth and economic health. It is with some trepidation, then, that economic analysts are predicting a 6% drop in global housing market value; one Goldman Sachs analysis is estimating a house price index drop will continue to hit countries worldwide, including the most developed countries. 
While this may seem like a potential positive, with homes becoming more affordable and rents reducing, it is rare that these savings are passed on to tenants. As such, it has become important for private tenants to explore new routes towards securing housing.

Facing the challenge

The current rental market being offered to those without their own home is one that requires a lot of effort to harness properly. The base level of accommodation out there is not of a good standard. UN reports suggest that up to 1.6 billion people globally are living in inadequate housing. There are, typically, better rates of adequacy in housing in highly developed countries. Indeed, the support networks available in more developed countries, where landlords and estate agents can help to link would-be tenants up with suitable properties and provide advisories on how to best ensure their needs are met. This is especially important within households where adaptations are needed to ensure accessibility to accommodation.
More needs to be done on a wider level, however. An assessment conducted by the US Department of Housing in respect of their housing market, one of the world’s most advanced real estate markets, produced worrying results. A majority of properties in the USA are not accessible to people living with disabilities, and require major overhauls to even be somewhat applicable to families with accessibility needs. The picture is not much better in other countries, and it is something that modern renters need to look out for.

Addressing rising costs

Despite the downturn in house prices and the observed impact that will have on the economy, there hasn’t been a linked reduction in rent prices. According to the Financial Times, apartment prices have spiked 18% globally since 2022, and previously affordable or unattractive areas in major cities are now becoming out of reach for most people. When considering that salaries have remained static in many countries, and inflation has pushed back the earning power of those people, this obviously puts a huge strain on renters.
There are some options on the way. In Europe, rent controls have been brought into place across multiple countries, though this has been seen as a controversial measure. To that end, the UK has rolled back their own promises, except in London. Elsewhere, social housing is being expanded rapidly in many developing countries, and some countries have broadened their view of who should qualify for income and rent support.

Looking to purchase

For those who are looking to purchase a home, the situation is a little friendlier, at least according to Reuters. The global outlook is brightening, according to the news outlet, with the reducing cost of housing making new buyers see an affordable situation. However, interest rates are impacting this.
Several financial analysts have noted a total, global, aggregate increase in interest rates. The biggest increases are being felt in the USA and UK as they seek to push back the impact of inflation; however, indications are that this will continue to push prices higher. As such, for those looking to get on the housing ladder via a mortgage, the situation isn’t quite as pretty. Moving into a fixed-rate mortgage at this point in time is likely to attract huge monthly payments; staying on a long-term variable rate is far from certain to be affordable.

Facing homelessness

As a result of these factors, homelessness is increasing. According to DevelopmentAid, while statistics are hard to track, studies suggest that the overall global homelessness rate will continue to rise. This includes street homelessness, or destitution, and other forms of homelessness, such as sofa surfing and sleeping in vehicles.
This, of course, creates a significant burden on state authorities. Most nations will have a commitment to providing support and housing for the greatest number of people, whether that’s through income support to maintain their housing or providing accommodation in itself to keep people off the streets. This will only exacerbate the housing situation. Arguably, action is needed today to head these issues off at the pass.

Addressing underlying issues

The key underlying issue that is impacting the housing market, and increasing both mortgage and rent prices, is the fragility of the global economy. It relies far too much upon the real estate market, it uses those house prices and assets as fodder for financial growth, and it has failed to change despite the two crises of 2008 and 2022. While these systems remain in place, it is hard to see how there can be a gigantic change in fortunes that will improve the global system.
For those looking to find affordable housing, however, there are options. The key principle is to look for progressive and forward-thinking providers who can help to find adequate housing, and help to link in with the relevant benefit providers. Mortgages are harder to get a clear view on, and it may be worth seeing if the current economic tumult will pass before committing.



'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

August 9 to be observed as Corporates Quit India day: Top farmers' group

By Our Representative A recent general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the top farmers' organisation, stated hat "there is no need for any illusion of change in the pro-corporate policies of the BJP-NDA government" following the recent elections in which BJP failed to achieve even simple majority. It insisted,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is hell bent" to continue 'business as usual' policies.

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Belgian report alleges MNC Etex responsible for asbestos pollution in Madhya Pradesh town Kymore: COP's Geneva meet

By Our Representative A comprehensive Belgian report has held MNC Etex , into construction business and one of the richest, responsible for asbestos pollution in Kymore, an industrial town in in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The report provides evidence from the ground on how Kymore’s dust even today is “annoying… it creeps into your clothes, you have to cough it”, saying “It can be deadly.”

'Genocidal violence in Bastar': Civil society groups ask UNHRC to intervene

By Our Representative  The civil rights network Forum Against Corporatisation and Militarisation (FACAM), along with the Foundation The London Story, Netherlands, International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India, India Justice Project, Germany and London Mining Network, UK, in a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has complained of "genocidal violence" allegedly being unleashed on the Adivasi peasants in Bastar. Stating that the violence has intensified in 2024 since the Indian state launched the draconian Surajkund Scheme, the representation said, as of now, close to 200 individuals have been killed in Bastar. Along with this, multiple human rights defenders, ground activists and peasant leaders such as Surju Tekam, and Suneeta Pottem, have been arrested in Chhattisgarh based on falsified charges of being associated with the proscribed Communist Party of India (Maoist) under anti-terror and sedition law, it added. Seeking periodic review of th