Councils are set to crackdown on landlords who are charging tenants high rates for living in squalor, but what are your rights as a renter?
An ITV investigation has found that thousands of homes have been built on floodplains against expert advice, and may now be uninsurable.
You may be surprised to learn that the number of people claiming housing benefit is on the rise, including among those with jobs.
The number of mortgage approvals granted to home buyers reached a new six-year high in January, Bank of England figures showed.
A total of 76,947 approvals with a value of £12.4 billion got the go-ahead last month, marking the highest number since November 2007.
However, loans, including overdrafts, to non-financial businesses fell by £600 million in the first month of the year and that decrease follows a fall of £1.7 billion in December.
Lending to small and medium-sized enterprises fell by £300 million compared to the average monthly decrease of £500 million over the previous six months.
The number of people who own their homes has fallen in the last 10 years, with around 340,000 fewer owner-occupiers in England according to government figures.
Private renting has almost doubled in the past decade and has overtaken the number of renters in social housing, the English Housing Survey found.
Overall, home ownership dropped from 71% to 65% between 2003 and 2013 while private renting increased from 11% to 18%.
Campaigners have backed the Princess Royal for challenging the development of large-scale new towns and instead highlighting the benefits of limited expansion of rural villages.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England welcomed her intervention, saying it was important to have a "living countryside" with villages which grew "organically".
We want a living countryside, not a countryside of commuter villages or retirement ghettos. The important thing is that villages should grow organically, with the consent of those who live there, and that priority is given to creating genuinely affordable homes for people with strong employment or family ties to the area.
– Shaun Spiers, Campaign to Protect Rural England
The way to do this is, wherever possible, is to have a community-led process which identifies suitable sites for inclusion in local and neighbourhood plans. With this in place, development is more likely to be well located and high quality, and therefore win local support.
Princess Anne has advocated small-scale developments in villages, rather than 'big estates' as a solution to the rural housing crisis, according to The Telegraph.
Speaking just weeks after the Coalition discussed plans for two new garden cities, the Princess Royal entered the debate over Britain's housing shortage by asking planners if it was "really necessary" to build developments of up to 15,000 new houses.
Instead, small developments of between six and 12 homes could be scattered villages to make up the same number, she said.
She said: “Our battle is to argue the toss with real house builders that this has real value - and some local authorities, frankly, who would much rather invest in a large scale development.
“Maybe it isn't such good value if you have to build in the facilities that need to go with it".
House sellers' asking prices were ramped up by 3.3% across the country, on a month-on-month basis, although Rightmove said that signs that more sellers are starting to coming to market could have a calming effect on prices in some areas the coming months.
– Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove
The housing market can only help to support a wider economic recovery if there is a sustained boost to property supply and not just buyer demand, and there is some early evidence that this is happening.
However, supply and demand imbalances remain and are getting worse in many markets, as a result of years of under-provision of additional housing stock, especially in the areas where the local economy and employment are strong.
Every region saw year-on-year growth in asking prices, from a 11.2% year-on-year increase in London which took average prices to £541,313, to a 0.1% uplift in the North East, pushing typical prices to £142,372.
In Wales, asking prices are up by 2.3% year on year, to reach £165,055 on average.
Rightmove said there was a "welcome jump" in the number of properties coming to market this month. The number of new properties listed on the website has averaged 27,768 over the last four weeks, up 18%.
House sellers' asking prices saw their biggest year on year jump since 2007 in February, a property website has reported.
Rightmove said that asking prices have risen to £251,964 on average across England and Wales, which is 6.9% higher than a year ago as demand from would-be buyers continues to strengthen.
This is the highest annual rate of growth since November 2007 and means that new sellers are now asking over £16,000 more for their home than those who came to market a year ago.
Philip Hammond has defended the decision to build on flood plains after it was revealed that Local authorities are planning to build hundreds of homes on land that is currently under water.
The Defence Secretary told Andrew Marr on the BBC:
"The whole of the Thames Valley is a flood plain, there has to be a proper balance. We need to avoid the highest risk areas when we do build in lower flood risk areas that properties are built in way that minimises the risk of flooding.
"Like everything in the real world a balance needs to be struck, it's very easy to say today, because we're in the middle of this crisis flood resilience is not the only issue. It's a very important issue but it isn't the only issue."
Th chief executive of insurance firm Aviva Mark Wilson has called for building on “defenceless” floodplains to stop.
The Telegraph said that in the past decade tens of thousands of homes have been built in areas of significant flood risk.
– chief executive of insurance firm Aviva Mark Wilso
As a nation we need to build more homes, but the cost of development must include the cost of defences. Let’s be crystal clear: no defences, no development.
The newspaper also reported that the British insurance industry has paid out more than £5?billion to homes and businesses over flooding since 2000.
Local authorities are planning to build hundreds of homes on land that is currently under water, according to the Telegraph.
The newspaper reports that a number of sites are in development in areas hit by the floods, such as Wraysbury in Berkshire and Chertsey in Surrey.
Two riverside sites with potential for housing development in Surrey are currently subject to “severe” flood warnings involving danger to life: Walton-on-Thames and Molesey.