Broken from top to bottom

It’s widely accepted that England has something of a two speed housing market. The narrative usually goes like this – in London and the south east, real estate is as much an investment as a home, creating a frenzy of competition between investors, foreign buyers, commuters and local residents that bump up house prices.  Further north, house prices are falling, with low sales, higher numbers of empty homes and worrying pockets of high housing debt.

The natural conclusion … Read more

5 reasons why cutting housing support for young people is a bad move

We’ve just finished watching David Cameron’s major speech on welfare reform. In case you missed it, he is proposing that housing benefit should no longer be available to under 25s. It’s already kicked off a wealth of comment, with Conservative Home asking whether this a bold way to cut down a burgeoning benefits bill, or a political gamble that could ‘re-toxify’ the Conservative brand.

Here are five good reasons why cutting off this support could hold back … Read more

Appetite for construction

I blogged recently about the need for ambitious ideas to tackle our housing shortage and the IPPR has duly obliged, today publishing a comprehensive analysis of British housing policy. Our excellent guest blogger – Matt Griffith – gives his take on the new report.

Matt Griffith is a campaigner for PricedOut.   

Good news, housing is getting some serious attention. The, not so subtle, question being ‘how the hell do we get out of this mess?’

It’s a question that … Read more

Does private renting offer stability for homeless families?

As Research Manager for the Sustain study – a project exploring the use of the private rented sector to accommodate homeless people and those in housing need – I’ve found myself reflecting on how rare it is to see a large scale, explorative research project addressing a pressing social policy issue.

Sadly research budgets have been cut back across both government and charitable sectors at a time when evidence on the impact of huge policy changes is badly needed.

Sustain … Read more

Myth busting round two: Is the cap hurting or working?

Yesterday I went to the DWP to hear the first findings [PDF] from the project monitoring the impact of changes to the Local Housing Allowance – the housing benefit for private renters.

It was interesting but ultimately inconclusive.  The researchers summarised very clearly ‘the results of the two surveys do not lend themselves to a concise or straightforward summary of the main effect so far’.

The report itself warns the results are an indication of ‘emerging trends and early signs … Read more

Top tips for spotting stats porkies

On the Today programme yesterday morning, Housing Minister Grant Shapps was questioned about his claim that there has been a ‘dramatic increase in affordable homes’. Shelter pointed out that in fact the number of new affordable homes being started has fallen by 68% since the previous year – from around 50,000 to around 16,000.*

So how do you know who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to stats? As the debate about the number of new affordable homes being … Read more

Guest Blog: Renting is the only game in town

There are signs all around that the housing market is changing. I’ve lost count of conversations with friends about how they’d like to buy a place but just can’t. When I walk down my local high street I see a huge number of estate agents but not a lot of choice: homes that are either crazy expensive or have ‘NO DSS!’ signs emblazoned in the windows.

Here, our guest blogger – the excellent Kathleen Kelly – reflects on two pieces … Read more

To buy or not buy?

What with me leading Shelter’s policy work on the future of the private rented sector, it was a surprise to my colleagues when I told them I was buying a flat. ‘That’s it, you’re out of the private rented sector!’ was Toby’s response.

The thing is, I am fed up with renting. I hate the magnolia walls in my flat, the worn laminate floors, the slope in the kitchen that means the cooker is wonky and one side of … Read more

Some reason to celebrate

Among a number of pre-Jubilee announcements made yesterday, the Government quietly published the long-awaited draft regulations on the suitability of private rented accommodation offered to homeless people.

The Localism Act 2011 will soon allow councils to offer a twelve month private letting to homeless households in order to discharge their duty to provide a settled home. During the passage of the bill, parliamentarians and organisations like Shelter and Crisis argued that, given the poor quality of much private rented housing … Read more