Housing is a major problem of modern society.

Demand outruns supply in many parts of the country .

There are many problems that have developed courtesy of the perverse system that has grown up over the years.

On a national level, there are many empty homes. This can be either because there is not the demand in an area or some speculative owners simply sit on property watching the value increase.

Some buy a property not as a home but an investment opportunity. This extends further with those who buy to let and invest in Air BNB.

The private rented sector has expanded hugely over recent decades, partly due to the retraction of the council (public) housing sector.

The right to buy process brought in by the Thatcher government in the 1980s saw council houses sold off at reduced prices.

This policy still operates today, meaning that new council housing is still likely to be sold off further down the line.

What is actually needed is a large amount of good standard sustainable housing stock that can be retained and rented out to those who need it.

The disparities in the housing market cause other problems across the country, such as where holiday home owners move into coastal areas.

The second homers only attend their properties part of the year, leaving them empty the rest of the time.

This can turn these areas into desert towns, particularly in winter.

The local businesses that need customers to survive go to the wall, whilst those looking to buy their first home are priced out of areas they often grew up in.

The price of housing makes it more and more difficult to get on the housing ladder

Across the country young people cannot afford to buy properties in the areas where they grew up.

This is likely to become even more difficult now, with spiralling interest rates.

Overall, the provision of property in this country has some very dysfunctional outcomes, largely due to a system based on let the market decide.

It is not right that young people grow up in an area and then have to move away because they cannot afford to remain part of that community. Nor is it good for community cohesion.

There needs to be a new housing policy, shaped for regional and local needs, as well as the overall goal of everyone having somewhere to live.

  • Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See paulfdonovan.blogspot.com