Fixing Our Broken Housing Market – A response to the government’s Housing White Paper

Questionnaire below

The Government’s white paper sets out a series of challenges in the light of our major housing crisis.

Some facts:

  • Since the 1970s, there have been on average 160,000 new homes built each year in England.(DCLG)
  • The consensus is that we need from 225,000 to 275,000 or more homes per year to keep up with population growth and start to tackle years of under-supply. (see Barker Review of Housing Supply, and Shelter Building Homes We Need)
  • Only around 11 per cent of land in England has been built on.

The government considers that the problem is threefold:

  1. Not enough local authorities planning for the homes they need;
  2. House building that is simply too slow;
  3. A construction industry that is too reliant on a small number of big players; and the structure of the housing market makes it harder to increase supply

Housing seen as an investment:

  1. In 2015, the average home in the South East of England increased in value by £29,000, while the average annual pay in the region was just £24,542.
  2. The Council of Mortgage Lenders predicts that by 2020 only a quarter of 30-year-olds will own their own home. In contrast, more than half the generation currently approaching retirement were homeowners by their 30th birthday
  3. Home ownership among 25- to 34-year-olds has fallen from 59 per cent just over a decade ago to just 37 per cent today
  4. The average couple in the private rented sector now send roughly half their salary to their landlord each month making it impossible to save for a deposit

Housing has been a concern of The Academy of Urbanism for a number of years and a working group has been established that looks at the design of new housing and planning of new suburbs and neighbourhoods. In light of the government’s Housing White Paper, the Academy has decided to a call to all Academicians and Young Urbanists to submit their views on its content.

The AoU housing group is seeking to widen the debate and to draw together a Position Statement on housing that can be used to respond formally to the consultation on the white paper and which will also be featured in the coming issue of the Academy’s journal and presented at our symposium in Milton Keynes.

Below is a form with 10 questions that need to be answered – and some thoughts. We invite all Academicians and Young Urbanists to fill out the survey.

The deadline to complete the form is 9:00am on Monday, 20 March 2017.

There are 3 comments

  1. Prof Dr John Montgomery

    My view is that the problem lies primarily with supply. Letting a few million people come here to live under Blair government was rash, but that is on the past.

    If the figures show a need for 250,000 new houses every year, then we must get on and build them. That’s 2.5 million over 10 years.

    I’d say that is still just playing catch up, and personally would favour 4 million new homes.

    The bulk of these will be in the South East and Midlands.

    I propose all local authorities should be asked to release as much land around towns as they can. A 10 year supply doubled. Small, large and medium sized sites. Plus infill in villages, on unused public land and of course development in the cities.

    The building industry will respond. One thing to watch out for will be landbanking, and so the zoning changes might be reviewed after, say, 7 years.

    I doubt that this would deeply undermine existing house prices. If it does, too bad. We can’t have it both ways. It should mean new housing coming onto the market is less expensive.

    Any taxes that restrict house-building or buying, such as stamp duty, should simply be axed or suspended for 5 years.

    Subsidies to individual house buyers, either as tax breaks or “affordable housing” should be scrapped too.

  2. Christian Bocci

    The commitment for additional services and transport /infrastructure that comes with more housing needs to be addressed.
    There are too often pressures on these services already, before new developments are proposed and so there is no support gained by either local people or councils/LAs under pressure for new housing. The S106 gained tends to not go on direct relief benefits i.e. Schools /trains, bus services etc.
    There should be a funding commitment and project commitment drawn up for LA’s if staged housing targets are met.
    This might mean development is supported.
    Too often development comes and just adds pressure to existing services.

  3. omotolani sulu

    Industrial Strategy and Housing are intertwined as housing shortage has consequences, while housing-induced poverty remains stubbornly high. If the-Housing white paper are implemented it’s likely to have an impact.

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