Fixing our broken housing market – government white paper

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The ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ white paper launched in February 2017 continues in the same hard-hitting fashion of the Farmer Report ‘Modernise or Die’ published in October 2016.

It begins with the introduction, ‘The housing market in this country is broken, and the cause is very simple: for too long, we haven’t built enough homes.’

Since the 1970s, there have been around 160,000 new homes built each year in England. The consensus is that we need between 225,000 and 275,000 or more new homes per year to keep up with population growth and start to tackle years of under-supply. This isn’t because there’s no space or because the country is “full”- only around 11% of land in England has been built on.

The white paper indicates that the problem is threefold:

  • there aren’t enough local authorities planning for the homes they need
  • house building is simply too slow
  • the construction industry is too reliant on a small number of big players

The laws of supply and demand mean the result is simple…

Since 1998, the ratio of average house prices to average earnings has more than doubled. That means the most basic of human needs – a safe, secure home to call your own, is just a distant dream for millions of people, and it’s a dream that’s moving further and further away.

In 21st century Britain it’s no longer unusual for houses to “earn” more than the people living in them. In 2015, the average home in the South East of England increased in value by £29,000, while the average annual pay in the region was just £24,542.

The proposals in the white paper set out how the government intends to boost housing supply and, over the long term, create a more efficient housing market whose outcomes more closely match the needs and aspirations of all households and which supports wider economic prosperity.

The paper seeks responses to a series of questions covering:

  • Getting plans in place
  • Making enough land available in the right places
  • Strengthening neighbourhood planning and design
  • Providing greater certainty
  • Ensuring infrastructure is provided in the right place at the right time
  • Holding developers and local authorities to account
  • Affordable housing
  • Sustainable development
  • Meeting the challenge of climate change
  • Flood risk
  • Noise and other impacts on new developments
  • Onshore wind energy

Make your voice heard

The consultation closes on 2 May 2017 and if you haven’t already, there’s still time to contribute at: