New builds? Don’t get me started
New builds? Don’t get me started

Last week saw the release of data on housebuilding, with some good news for once; a little over 214,000 new homes were built this year, and total supply – including conversions – is higher than it has been for decades; 241,000 in fact. Given government’s target is to reach 300,00 net additional dwellings annually by the middle of next decade; they and developers are celebrating.

But if you understand the housing market, you’ll be waiting for the fall – … Read more

No Help to Buy
No Help to Buy

With the new government publicly renewing their ambition to see more people owning their own home, we’re reviewing the main policy tool recent governments have used to try and achieve this.

Since 2013, Help to Buy has been the flagship housing policy to make ownership a reality for households dissatisfied with the private rental sector – the only alternative given the current level of social housing supply. Through it, government has funded around £12.5bn in equity loans, resulting in around … Read more

If it is broke, it needs fixing
If it is broke, it needs fixing

Today sees the publication of the Children’s Commissioners’ report, Bleak House. It’s an upsetting exploration of the awful conditions that homeless families are having to endure, and highlights how broken our housing system truly is.

The report shows that temporary accommodation (TA) is rarely that at all; 40% of families stay in TA for over 6 months and 5% – that’s one in 20 families – end up in temporary accommodation continuously for a year or more. These are … Read more

Lies, damn lies, and making use of statistics
Lies, damn lies, and making use of statistics

Using statistics often requires a compromise of some sort, because a statistic is usually a simplification of a more complex issue. This means stats are often misused, or misunderstood.

We were recently criticised (along with the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) – always a good organisation to be grouped with) by Ian Mulheirn on our use of the local authority level Valuation Office Authority (VOA) data on two-bed private sector housing rents. We were told that the VOA data does … Read more

The price households pay for poorly informed policy
The price households pay for poorly informed policy

The papers on housing affordability measures and their implications for policy released by UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Excellence (CaCHE) this week are an important contribution towards fixing the housing crisis. They highlight the inadequacies of how policy makers often conceive of affordability, and in turn how policy levers can be used to improve affordability.

The takeaway message from Professor Meen’s papers, as far as we’re concerned, is clear: the government needs to do a lot more work if they … Read more

The English Housing Survey

Today saw the release of the English Housing Survey (EHS) – the most important source we have for understanding the housing crisis. This government survey collects details on the quality and conditions of the homes households live in. This includes the cost and affordability of those homes.

As the survey has been running for 50 years (in various forms), it’s an invaluable record of how the situation of English households has changed over time.

Home ownership down

An Englishman’s home … Read more

Is the Stamp Duty cut worth it?

In amongst the jokes and the political padding, Wednesday’s Autumn Budget aimed to deliver policy ideas to address the housing crisis. The top billing for housing this time certainly underlined the fact that this government wanted to show it’s a priority.

There were some positive announcements too. Some good news on Universal Credit payments, and an increase in the Targeted Assistance Funding for areas where Housing Benefits fail to cover the shortfalls in private rents (all at a cumulative cost … Read more

Toblerones and tenancies – 'shrinkflation' in the private rental sector

While it’s not been added to the Oxford English Dictionary yet, ‘shrinkflation’ isn’t a new concept for economics or housing. If you’re a fan of the triangular chocolate treat, you’ll be aware of the hoo-ha earlier this year when the makers of Toblerone effectively increased the cost of the product by putting less in the packet.

I don’t think I’m going too far by saying that many people felt the whole affair was a bit of a con.  It’s inflation … Read more

Planning for the homes we need

Last week saw the release of the quarterly stats on planning applications in England. The data is our opportunity to get a preview of how many homes are likely to be built in the near future and helps us to assess whether planning slows down the delivery of the new residential properties we need.

Source; DCLG Table P120: District planning authorities

Planning applications take time and the chart of headline activity for residential and commercial, above, shows how the process … Read more