Homes for London

In just 105 days Londoners will take to the polling stations to elect a new Mayor. While the contest itself is not yet top of mind for voters, we can be sure that housing will play a central part in the campaign. It’s by far and away the biggest issue in the minds of Londoners, eclipsing even transport and crime. This is hardly a surprise when the latest stats show that the average house price in the capital is now … Read more

Can Cameron's council estate plan work?

David Cameron is on a blitz of housing policy announcements at the moment. Last week we had an idea for the direct commissioning of new homes, this week we have plans for regenerating 100 council estates. What should we make of it?

Knocking down and rebuilding peoples’ homes is obviously always going to be controversial. But that doesn’t mean it is always wrong. If the hard work is done to win the support of estate residents, and more affordable homes … Read more

Three tests for the next Mayor of London

Over the next six months, Shelter will be running campaigns aimed at the upcoming 2016 London Mayoral contest. Today, we are introducing three tests that we want all the candidates for Mayor to meet when they set out their policies. If they fail these tests then we can expect – at best – more of the same: rising rents, increasing homelessness and rapidly falling ownership. If they pass, they will be on the way to creating a fairer, better city.… Read more

George Osborne’s housing gamble

George Osborne is a housing radical. He may not emphasise it, or even acknowledge it, but he’s taking some big gambles on housing policy which may or may not pay off.

One major gamble he’s considering at the moment is what to do with the Affordable Homes Programme: the main house building budget of the government. In 2010 this budget was cut, as part of the broader deficit reduction programme. To reduce the impact of the cut, Osborne changed … Read more

Who can afford a Starter Home?

At Shelter we’ve been critical of the government’s new “Starter Homes” policy, re-announced by David Cameron in his conference speech yesterday. As a reminder, this is the policy to swap low rent housing out of all new developments and in its place build homes sold at 80% of market prices. There’s a cap at £250,000 for homes sold in England and £450,000 for London.

We do want to see better options for people on low and typical incomes, who want … Read more

Non-starter homes

The government’s flagship house building policy is 200,000 new “Starter Homes” by 2020. The policy was launched with a fanfare by the Prime Minister during the general election campaign with the words “a home of your own” emblazoned behind him: a sentiment that Shelter would certainly endorse.

However, new analysis we’ve published today shows that these Starter Homes will be a non-starter for families on typical wages across most of the country. In fact, average earning families will be priced … Read more

The true cost of the Right to Buy

If you’re a family searching for a home in Stevenage the chances are that you’ll need to rent from a private landlord. Shelter research in April found that there are no 2 bedroom homes on the market in Stevenage that a family earning the average income in the town could afford to buy, even if they already have a deposit saved up. So families searching for a home are likely to come across rented properties like this two bed on … Read more

Genesis: a new beginning?

While there’s a broad consensus that we need to build many more homes in England, the debate about the type of homes we should build – whether homes to buy, private rent or for social rent – is far from settled.* That’s perhaps why many people were shocked this week by the comments of the Chief Executive of Genesis, a not-for-profit housing association, who said that they would be moving away from the traditional model of building low rent homes … Read more

Will house building survive the next crash?

House prices are now above the peak they hit before the last recession. That crisis, caused in part by dodgy lending, was a disaster for many parts of our society and economy. House building was high among them with so many jobs lost and so many much-needed homes never built. Next time house prices fall though it will be even worse. House-building will be devastated.

From 2007 to 2009 the number of new homes started by private builders plunged 59%. … Read more

Zoning: American dreams or going Dutch?

The Chancellor is determined to get us building more homes. I’m genuinely convinced of that. What I’m much less convinced of it’s that his current set of reforms will let this happen at scale or that the homes that get built will be affordable to buy or rent for most people on normal wages.

He’s certainly got the right language. When Shelter and KPMG put out our recommendations for how to get us building 250,000 new homes per year we … Read more

Who are we building homes for?

A non-existent block of flats just fully sold out. In five hours. The real thing will apparently rise out of the ground somewhere near London’s Canary Wharf in 2019, but right now it’s just a promotional image and a pile of cash for the developer.

And what cash these towers generate. Non-existent “studio flats” (that means one room) sold for £350,000, while non-existent three-bedroom flats sold for £1.25m: the developer will take a cash deposit now and the full … Read more

Osborne’s planning revolution

“Britain has been incapable of building enough homes”.

We often criticise the politicians of all parties on this blog, but on this point we strongly agree with George Osborne. But will he have the measures necessary to tackle this chronic problem? The Chancellor has announced some striking planning reforms to get more homes built:

A “zonal” approach to brownfield land, with the assumption of planning permission. A tougher approach to councils who drag their feet agreeing a Local Plan. Osborne… Read more