The supply of new homes is intricately linked to every aspect of housing policy and to many of the economic and social issues faced by the UK. Significant change is necessary if the country is to get the housing it needs. With the recommendations presented in this report, it is also possible.
The UK’s historic and growing undersupply of housing has a substantial impact on the country: it affects individual households, who struggle to find housing that fits their needs at a price they can afford; it affects the wider economy, creating a drag on growth and hindering labour mobility; and it affects society, worsening inequality and amplifying the challenges of demographic change.
This undersupply of housing is a longstanding problem, which has been exacerbated by the financial crisis of 2007/08. The structural problems – such as those related to land and planning, opposition to development, and the operation of the construction industry – have been compounded by increased restrictions on finance and mortgage availability.
The current government, like the last, is publicly committed to a vision for significantly increased housing supply, and is implementing a variety of policies across different aspects of housing supply. However, critics suggest that these changes are insufficient to deal with the scale of the problem. Significant change is necessary if the country is to get the housing it needs. With the recommendations presented in this report, it is also possible.
At present there is an absence of clearly articulated strategic objectives, to provide a coherent framework within which individual policies can be developed, to contribute to the overall vision of greater supply. The following strategic objectives would work together to overcome many of the substantial barriers to delivering sufficient housing.
- Build new places
- Enhance delivery of land
- Ensure that an appropriate range of finance is available to support development
- Maximise the use of the existing building stock.