The scandal over shoddy flat construction is causing the housing market to see flat sales drop.
According to Land Registry figures, the housing market saw flat sales halve in 2020.
Thousands of flat-owners are unable to sell their apartments following the scandal caused by the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people.
Following the disaster, authorities across the UK uncovered decades of regulatory failure and poor construction on other high rise buildings.
The issues were not contained to just high rise buildings. Experts have raised concerns about low-rise flats — blocks from three storeys — and even some houses, leaving up to 1.3m home-owners unable to sell their home as any potential buyer would not be able to raise a mortgage against the property.
Housing developers built these properties legally, meaning mortgage lenders can no longer rely on building regulations to be sure that a modern home is safe.
Land Registry records show the number of flats sold in September 2020 fell by about 5,600, down from 11,500 transactions during the same month in 2019. Transactions for flats fell at almost twice the rate of those for houses, suggesting the cause is not pandemic-related.
The drop in flat sales is a risk to the stability of the housing market. Typically, flat sales prop up the rest of the home-buying chain as they are often the first rung of the housing ladder. If flat owners cannot sell, they cannot move up the chain.
Southport’s housing stock has a high proportion of flats particularly in the retirement sector, leaving its housing market vulnerable.
It is hoped the government will step in to end the scandal. For those living in unsaleable properties, help cannot come soon enough.