Housing: Homes must last longer than the Pyramids

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The Independent Online
Houses built today will have to last longer than the Pyramids or Stonehenge, if the present rate at which old properties are replaced by new homes continues, according to a study published today. Britain has the oldest stock of homes in Europe, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, with one in four properties built before the end of the First World War.

And the rate at which old homes are being replaced by new ones has dropped dramatically in the past 25 years - from 91,000 to just 8,000 a year. If the present rate of clearance is allowed to continue, houses built today would not be replaced for an average of 2,800 years, or 5,600 years in England and Wales - longer than the current age of Stonehenge or the earliest Egyptian pyramid.

Yet more than 1.6 million homes in the UK (one in 14) have been officially rated by government criteria as either unfit for human habitation or falling below the tolerable standard. A government survey found the problem was worst in Wales, where one in eight occupied properties was considered unfit.

The State of UK Housing, pounds 15.95, Policy Press, University of Bristol, Grange Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4EA