Up to five million people - or two million households - will be on council housing waiting lists in less than two years because of the credit crunch, according to a new Local Government Association report.
The report by council leaders analyses academic and social policy research on previous economic downturns warns of “unprecedented demand for council and housing association homes, which councils are struggling to meet”.
The LGA blames the failure of banks to pass on interest rate cuts, house prices rising by 156% in ten years compared to wages by 35% and mortgage offers falling preventing first-time buyers buying.
It also blames a 16% increase in repossessions compared to same period last year as well as local authority and housing association new-build over the last decade at its lowest since 1947.
Housing heads 'cannot cope'
The new survey of council heads of housing found that nearly half insisted that their current allocations policy cannot cope with the increased demand in social housing. Nearly half also said lack of housing stock was the main challenge facing councils in housing allocation.
Chairman of the Local Government Association environment board, Cllr Paul Bettison (Con), said:
“Now that the credit crunch is upon the country it appears that many thousands more people will be looking to councils to provide them with a permanent home as they either find it impossible to get on the housing ladder or see their home repossessed.”