Housing in Southampton
There are 107,861 dwellings in Southampton according to the Council Tax base (2018), of which 16,124 (about 15%) are owned by the local authority. The average house price in Southampton in December 2018 was £212,399, an increase of 1.7% in the last year and a 49% increase from ten years ago (Dec'08). This is 7.8 times the average gross annual pay of Southampon residents, which is slightly lower than the England average of 8.3. Between April 2017 and March 2018, the average rent for a property in Southampton was £791 a month, but ranged from £484 for a studio flat to £1,426 for a large house (four or more bedrooms). Average rent in Southampton is around 35% of the average gross monthly pay of residents, which is higher than the England average of 33%. More statistics on housing in Southampton can be found in the data compendium which can be downloaded from the resources section at the bottom of this page.
In Southampton 25% of all households live in privately rented accommodation, the national average is just 17%. Of the privately rented homes in the city, over 7,000 are HMOs. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are defined as dwellings containing more than one household and residents of HMOs have been found to be four times more likely to suffer injury and twice as likely to die in a fire than people living in single dwellings.
According to the 2011 Census, 13.6% of households in the city were defined as overcrowded, which is higher than the national average of 8.7%, and also higher than many of the city’s most similar authorities. In the city centre wards of Bargate and Bevois, more than a quarter of households were defined as over-crowded, and in some neighbourhoods within these wards, the proportion rose to over 40%.
Southampton City Council Private Sector House Condition Survey (2008) found that over 28,000 (38%) of privately owned and rented homes in the city do not meet the Decent Homes Standard, of which 8,500 are occupied by vulnerable people. Older properties (pre-1919) were generally in the worst condition. The opposite below shows that Southampton has a relatively high percentage of non-decent private housing stock compared to its most similar authorities.
Housing and health
The quality of housing is crucial to health and well-being, especially for the vulnerable, young and old who can be particularly susceptible to poor health associated with inadequate heating and insulation, damp and overcrowding. Poor housing conditions can cause a range of physical and mental illnesses and children growing up in difficult housing conditions are more likely to suffer severe ill-health and disability during childhood/early adulthood.
Living in overcrowded accommodation can, both directly and indirectly, have a devastating effect on families. Under-achievement at school can be caused by lack of space for children to do their homework. Absence rates may be higher because of illness associated at least in part with poor living conditions. Older children may spend more time outside the home, on the streets, simply to find privacy and space. Overcrowding may exacerbate stress, depression and in the worst cases domestic violence or breakdown of relationships (DCLG, 2007).
Poor housing conditions are estimated to cost the NHS at least £1.4 billion per year (Nicol et al, 2010). The conditions associated with poor housing are summarised in the image opposite, but the strongest links are with accidents (of which 45% occur in the home) and cold. There are broader aspects of housing that affect health such as overcrowding, sleep deprivation, community safety and features of the local infrastructure including proximity to parks and shops selling affordable, healthy food.
Health inequalities are often intrinsically linked to housing. In particular, the Marmot Review, Fair Society Healthy Lives (2010), recommends improving the energy efficiency of housing across the social gradient. Strong evidence is presented on the health impact of improving energy efficiency and reducing fuel poverty, especially in private housing. Evidence shows that living in cold homes is associated with poor health outcomes and an increased risk of morbidity and mortality for all age groups; furthermore, studies have shown that more than one in five (21.5%) excess winter deaths in England and Wales are attributable to the coldest quarter of housing (Institute of Health Equity, 2011).
A household is considered to be fuel poor if they have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level) and, were they to spend that amount, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line. Fuel poverty is distinct from general poverty: not all poor households are fuel poor, and some households would not normally be considered poor but could be pushed into fuel poverty if they have high energy costs.
In 2016, figures showed that 11.1% of households in England (2.55 million households) were living in fuel poverty. The proportion living in fuel poverty in Southampton is slightly higher at 11.6%, equating to over 12,000 households in the city. For further information on fuel poverty, see deprivation and poverty. Further information on housing and health can be found in the 2013 Public Health Annual Report which can be downloaded from the resources section below.
Homelessness has increased nationally and, since 2010, the number of households in temporary accommodation has increased by more than 60%; since March 2011 the number of people who sleep rough has risen by 134%. At any one time there are as many as 4,750 people sleeping rough on the streets of England, and more than 78,000 households, including over 120,000 children, are housed by Local Authorities in temporary homelessness accommodation. In addition, there are believed to be high numbers of ‘hidden homeless’ people who are housed by family and friends in shifting circumstances, but not always captured as part of the official figures. Underpinning these upward trends are the various causes of homelessness, of which, the most important remains the supply and affordability of decent housing in the South East and South of England.
Homelessness prevention is key to developing an effective response to the problem of homelessness within Southampton. Local authorities have a long-standing responsibility to help homeless households, but the Homelessness Act 2002 imposed a further duty on them to develop strategies to prevent homelessness arising. Local authorities must develop a review that sets out the levels, and likely future levels of homelessness in their district. This should include any activities, which the local authority are contributing to preventing homelessness, securing accommodation or supporting the needs of the people in their district.
The 2018 Southampton Homelessness Prevention Review was developed to better understand homelessness in Southampton and determine the extent to which the population in the district is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Ultimately, the review has been used to inform the Southampton Homeless Prevention Strategy. The full review and data associated with homelessness in Southampton can be downloaded from the resources section below.
Benchmarking and trend data on average property and rental prices, housing stock and fuel poverty in Southampton can be found in the data compendium below. In addition, links are also provided to the Land Registry UK house price index and private rental market statistics published by the Valuation Office Agency.
Southampton housing data compendium
Land Registry - UK House Price Index
VOA - Private rental market summary statistics - 2017/18
VOA - Private rental monthly rent maps (South East) - 2017/18
Homelessness Prevention Review 2018
The 2018 Southampton Homelessness Prevention Review was developed to better understand homelessness in Southampton and determine the extent to which the population in the district is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Ultimately, the review has been used to inform the Southampton Homeless Prevention Strategy. The full review and data associated with homelessness in Southampton can be downloaded below, along with the local and national strategies.
Southampton Homelessness Prevention Review 2018
Southampton Homelessness Prevention data compendium 2018
Southampton Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2018-2023
MHCLG - Rough Sleeping Strategy - August 2018
Public Health Annual Reports (PHAR)
Each year the Director of Public Health in Southampton produces a report on the state of health in the city. These reports consider underlying trends, some of the future challenges that the city faces and make recommendations for how health and wellbeing can be improved in Southampton. A number of previous reports have considered the topic of housing and health. The 2013 report considered housing and health in general, whilst the 2011 report looked at fuel poverty in depth. Both reports can be downloaded below.
2013 PHAR: The state of Southampton's health
2011 PHAR: Lung health, suicide and fuel poverty