Letwin identifies the problem but misses the solution
Letwin identifies the problem but misses the solution

One thing that probably won’t feature in today’s post-Budget headlines is the result of the Independent Review of Build Out undertaken by Sir Oliver Letwin.

While the report might not provide headlines, it does deserve recognition because it taps into a singularly vital part of our housing crisis: the cost of land. This means Letwin joins a growing group who recognise that only by bringing land into development at lower values can we unlock better, faster, more affordable development.

This … Read more

The cap is scrapped! Where next for council housebuilding?
The cap is scrapped! Where next for council housebuilding?

Last year, Theresa May used her speech at Conservative Party Conference to announce £2bn of new grant funding – the first money made available for building social homes since 2010.

Two weeks ago, the prime minister used a speech at the National Housing Federation’s annual summit to announce another £2bn of long-term funding for housing associations. At the time, we asked ‘Is Theresa May getting serious about social housing?’, taking stock of the many small actions May’s governments … Read more

Another step towards land market reform
Another step towards land market reform

Two weeks ago, an unlikely coalition of around 20 organisations including charities, think tanks, and trade bodies came together to sign a joint letter calling on the government to address one of the biggest issues in housing: the urgent need to reform the 1961 Land Compensation Act.

On the face of it this may seem like a pretty dry issue, but as any avid reader of this blog in recent years will know, it is one that sits at the … Read more

An unlikely coalition for land reform
An unlikely coalition for land reform

What do Shelter, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Landlords Association, the New Economics Foundation and centre-right think tank Onward all agree on? Not much, admittedly. The world is round. Homelessness is bad. And we must fix the UK’s broken land laws to get a grip on the housing crisis.

Yesterday, this unlikely coalition published an open letter to James Brokenshire, the housing secretary. In it, we state a simple truth: ‘The root of England’s housing crisis lies … Read more

The roots of the rural housing crisis
The roots of the rural housing crisis

Have you heard about the housing crisis hollowing out the countryside? This week, for once, the answer to that question might just be “yes”. The National Housing Federation’s Rural Housing Week has shone a light on a problem that is poorly understood and rarely discussed with anything like the urgency it deserves.

A vicious chain reaction

In many rural communities, the market for housing has become divorced from local people and their incomes. Homes are sold for as much as … 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

A fork in the road: the Letwin review

In the pantheon of sexy retail offers, the promise of an internal government review does not, you might argue, necessarily set the pulse racing. So when a review of land banking was announced in the Autumn Budget, it wasn’t rewarded with huge media attention. Some world-weary cynics (not me, you understand) even wondered if it was just a way to kick the issue into the long grass.

But there’s every reason to pay attention to the review (which will … 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
Why should the Government improve land market transparency?

The lack of transparency in the land market is a serious barrier to building more homes in England. Shelter is calling on the Government to open up all land data held by the public sector, to let innovation flourish, allow the market to work more efficiently, and get more homes built.

All markets need good quality information to work efficiently. Without this, buyers don’t know what to bid for goods or services, and sellers don’t know what to ask. Poor … Read more

The question should now be about 'how' to get houses built

Shelter have long been campaigning for more houses. We need around 250,000 new homes per year to keep pace with the projected growth in households and even this doesn’t address the cumulative shortfall of past decades. Unfortunately, we are currently building around half of this. If this trend continues, prices will continue to grow at a fast pace putting a strain on families’ lives and budgets.

But the stage on from this is about how we get houses built. Earlier … Read more