Yes, we must build more homes
Yes, we must build more homes

This is my last ever blog for Shelter, so I hope I can be forgiven for indulging in a bit of arguing-with-men-on-the-internet.

Challenging the consensus

There is no denying that there is now a well-established consensus that England has not been building enough homes for many years, so it was probably inevitable that it would get challenged. We should welcome that: challenging the received wisdom is always a worthwhile check on complacency. But the truth in this case is that … Read more

Spring is in the air
Spring is in the air

We were promised that the chancellor’s Spring Statement today would be boring – and he didn’t disappoint.

As all the big news will be in the Autumn Budget, observers only have some relatively minor details to comment on – but there’s always something of interest in the details, and some of the details this time suggest the end of the long winter of the housing shortage may finally be in sight.

Firstly, it’s great that tackling the housing crisis is … Read more

Ingredients for a public housebuilding revolution
Ingredients for a public housebuilding revolution

A year ago today we launched New Civic Housebuilding, setting out our vision for reviving England’s tradition of building attractive, affordable homes. With the newly rebranded Ministry of Housing and its agency, Homes England, talking up their role in transforming house building, and the new National Planning Policy Framework due next week, this feels like a good moment to assess progress.

The need for public housebuilding

The government commitment to building a lot more homes is an essential first … Read more

Inching towards better land value sharing

These are exciting times for the select-but-growing band of Westminster-watchers interested in the role land value plays in our housing crisis – and in the wider economy.

Just before Christmas, there was the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture, chaired by Sir Vince Cable. Then the Communities and Local Government (CLG) committee launched an inquiry into the ‘effectiveness of current land value capture methods’. This sort of language may not set pulses … Read more

London’s missing homes: why can’t we turn planning permissions into houses?

Yesterday, London First released the latest round of their analysis of planning and housebuilding in London. The headline is stark – almost one in two planning permissions in London aren’t turning into actual homes.

The scale of the problem

A total of 54,941 new homes received planning permission in London during 2014. Planning permissions generally last three years before they expire – so we would expect these to have been built or at least started by the end of 2017. … Read more

Yesterday's Budget: the good, the bad, the interesting

Like several recent Budgets, yesterday’s was billed as ‘a housing budget’. In the end, the reality didn’t quite match up to the claim, although it did include some genuinely positive steps forward. Once again we’re faced with a variety of changes, big and small; some that are definitely positive; some that are just a bit ‘meh’; and some that are hard to read, but might be a signal of truly exciting changes to come.

The good

As Kate’s blog sets Read more

Smashing avocados, not the housebuilding targets

As was widely expected, today’s net additional housing supply figures showed an increase in the number of homes provided in England. A total of 217,350 ‘net additional dwellings’ were provided in 2016–17 in England, the highest figure since 2007–08 and the fourth year in a row that this measure has increased.

A small step

This is undoubtedly encouraging, as those new homes are urgently needed. Secretary of State Sajid Javid was well within his rights to herald the increase as … Read more

We need to lower the cost of land to true market prices

After many decades of political obscurity, reforming the way that land is bought, sold and owned is back on the agenda. It’s about time too: the dysfunctional land market is at the heart of our broken housing market – and underpins the total failure to build enough high quality homes that people can actually afford. One thing we’re hoping for in next week’s budget is a sign that Downing Street is ready to overcome bureaucratic opposition to real reform.

Unrealistic Read more
Will the Budget finally begin to fix the broken housing market?

I don’t want to jinx it, but we’re increasingly excited about the prospects of a major housing announcement in the Budget later this month. The government has repeatedly signalled that fixing the housing crisis is the top domestic priority – and much of the pre-Budget jockeying and kite-flying has been around how to do that. Inevitably, some of the ideas being floated are better than others, so here’s a quick round-up.

What to expect

In the short run, low-income families … Read more

White Paper day: get ready for housing policy bingo

Today’s release of the White Paper on housing will finally show us whether the government is serious about tackling the housing shortage and giving renters the security they need. This blog looks at what’s been trailed so far.

After a gestation period longer than an elephant’s and as closely watched as a royal pregnancy, the White Paper on housing is finally due to be birthed later day. Despite a huge number of trails, leaks and pre-briefs, we still don’t know … Read more

Static models cannot explain the failings of a dynamic housing market

In this guest Blog, Thomas Aubrey of the Centre for Progressive Capitalism takes issue with economic analysis being used to justify slow build out of housing developments with planning permission.

Economists and financial analysts have often struggled to model complex, dynamic systems such as the economy, but since the financial crisis there is an increasing acceptance of the limits of simple economic models. So, I was surprised to read a recent report by the planning consultancy NLP which used a … Read more