Housing in the marginals: how is the housing crisis affecting political battlegrounds?

Today is the last day of this Parliament. From now on, more than ever before, the election is about how the campaign plays out in the handful of swing seats that might change hands.

We know it’s a top 5 issue in the polls nationally – but how does it play in the kind of seats that will decide the next election?

To find out, we have looked at housing affordability in every single marginal seat in England, as polled Read more

As politicians fiddle, home ownership collapses

The new English Housing Survey is out today, the last of this Parliament. And if you want to understand why housing has become a top 5 issue for voters heading in to the election – or why, despite an improved economy, families remain gloomy about the future, take a quick look at it.

It shows that the shortage of homes is having a profound effect:

Homeownership has declined again, reaching its lowest level in 29 years . The clock on… Read more
When in a hole, stop digging: how Right to Buy became bad politics as well as bad policy

The front page of The Times today has the latest attempt to wring some more votes out of Right to Buy. The newest idea is a sort of Right to Buy on steroids: a give away of social homes, for free, to anyone in work longer than a year. Its running mate is applying RTB to housing association properties, without giving them the money to replace the stock.

There’s lots of good reasons this is dubious policy (many picked up … Read more

The strange death of NIMBY England

Last week we revealed more evidence of the sheer level of anxiety among voters about housing, particularly parents anxious about their children’s future. Heading into the election, it’s making housing a top 5 issue for voters.

Up to now, though, anxiety has not always been joined by public support for the solution: building more homes. Sure, people have always agreed with the need for more homes generally, but “not here, not there”, not locally; not in my backyard. This has … Read more

The kids are not alright: parents more anxious about their children’s housing prospects than any other issue

With May 7th fast approaching, the latest YouGov of election season shows housing is now a top 5 issue for voters – ahead of traditional election territory like education, Europe and tax.

And new research we have out today gives you an idea of why.

It shows that the shortage of homes in England now means young couples with children, on typical incomes, face 12 years of saving before they can afford to buy their first home. This affects … Read more

England’s ‘rent-trap’: just another reason housing is now a top 5 issue for voters

The last few weeks have seen senior politicians in all parties clamber over each other to promise bold action to solve our housing shortage. Both of the men most likely to be PM next year highlighted it as a priority in their last conference speech before the election.

Now, all parties still have a way to go to show the kind of leadership voters want – something we’ll come back to on the blog tomorrow. But for a minute it’s … Read more

Housing in the reshuffle: big shoes to fill, and an even bigger challenge

Yesterday’s reshuffle was a mixed bag for housing: the good, the bad and the unknown.

On the positive side of things, the housing portfolio was combined with planning and returned to Ministerial status – after being demoted to Undersecretary level last year.  This starts to reflect how important housing has become as an issue to voters and politicians alike.  Housing is now consistently a top 5 voter issue (YouGov) and for the first time in years it looks like it’s … Read more

Six popular housebuilding policies

At Shelter we have long argued that housebuilding can be a vote winner.

We know from our campaigns that engaging the public in the problem isn’t too difficult – almost universally, they are worried about where their kids are going to live.

But when it comes to solutions, one of the things that holds housing back among political types is the belief that housebuilding itself isn’t, well, very sexy. In that hideous Westminster jargon, it isn’t much of a ‘retail … Read more

England’s housing crisis reaches the marginals

With the election under a year away, strategists of all stripes will be sitting down and working through their campaign priorities for the months leading up to May 2015. I’m sure the economy, education, the NHS and crime will all feature.

But taking a look through the new research that Shelter published today, it’s going to be impossible for them to ignore housing. For the first time in a generation, the housing shortage is badly affecting the kind of … Read more

World Cup 2014 predictions: does housing hold all the answers?

With the World Cup getting under way today, there’s a good chance you’re currently mulling over the dozens of office sweepstakes, prediction competitions and fantasy leagues that friends and colleagues have spent the last few weeks filling your inbox with.

If you’re anything like me, you’re currently still staring blankly at these. You’ll be wondering with increasing bewilderment how to war game it all out, and make sense of where to put your money.

So what is the best guide … Read more

CBI guest blog: Building our way out of the housing shortage

One of the most striking things about the housing debate over the last year is how there seems to be more and more agreement over what needs to be done – at least outside Parliament. This stretches beyond just the need to build more homes, to specific solutions. Across the sector, there is an emerging consensus on the need for bolder action, including tough reform, smart investment and strategic local leadership.

Below, our guest blogger Joe Harley from the CBI … Read more

Help to Buy - still not clever politics either

Has there ever been a government scheme with fewer friends than the Treasury’s flagship ‘Help to Buy’?

Yesterday no less than three former Chancellors, two of them Conservatives, added their voice to those expressing concern. They are worried that the explosive house-price inflation unleashed by the scheme threatens economic stability and risks locking an entire generation out of home ownership. Here they join the OECD, the IMF, the Treasury Select Committee, the OBR, Mervyn King etc (I really could … Read more