There is a recent article in The Economist which highlighted a problem of high demand for housing in London, England. Not unlike Barbados the demand is significantly located at the cheaper end of the price scale.
Britain badly needs more homes. In the past two decades its population has grown by nearly 8m; another 2m people will be added by 2030. Many will be drawn to cities, the engine-rooms of the economy. Yet the supply of new housing is not keeping up. London alone needs an estimated 83,000 new homes each year, according to Savills, an estate agent, but is building only half that. The biggest shortfall is at the cheaper end of the housing market—anything costing less than £450 ($560) per square foot, or £4,840 per square metre, to buy. This segment accounts for nearly three-fifths of demand but less than a third of forecast supply in London (see chart).Can high-rise buildings solve London’s housing problems
One of the lofty and laudable goals of the Mottley government is to build 10, 000 houses over five years. A recent update from Minister of Housing Dwight Sutherland suggests about 900 houses have been constructed towards meeting the goal and 2000 is the target for 2023 to 2024. We have to take the word of the minister because no specifics were mentioned to allow for cross check.
The size of Barbados is reported to be 166 mi² or 20 miles long to 15 miles wide. A relevant and sensible housing policy must factor the size of the island. How sustainable can it be to litter the once pristine landscape of Barbados with houses at the whim and fancy of politicians? We can see the result of an irrelevant vehicle policy by successive governments with the logjams experienced daily on our roads. By the way, has any study been done of the impact on national productivity because of overcrowded roads?
Is this another example of the King has no clothes approach to policy making?
Minister Dwight Sutherland should address existing tenancy laws to encourage reluctant landlords to free up room stock as a partial solution to the housing problem. It is no secret landlords are seeing hell to manage delinquent tenants. Bear in mind many many individuals in the lower strata of society do not have the means to purchase a home through traditional means.
There is a reality Barbados must accept, the island is too small to execute a policy of constructing thousands of standalone houses. If such a policy were implemented it will not take long for the Barbados landscape to resemble what we see daily on our highways and byways.