The UK’s chronic housing shortage is one of the biggest challenges the country faces. The Government is aiming to build 300,000 new homes every year to match demand and keep housing costs affordable, but less than 250,000 were built last year, the highest rate in a decade. But contrary to popular belief, there is not one single national housing crisis. In many parts of the country housing is relatively affordable, and supply keeps up with the demand for new homes.
Instead, Britain has many localised housing crises focussed on its most economically successful cities and towns where employment opportunities draw in large numbers of people. These housing crises are caused by how our planning system disconnects the local supply of housing from local demand.
Cities with the biggest housing shortages are primarily concentrated in the Greater South East of England such as London and Brighton. But some places elsewhere like Edinburgh, Bristol, and York are also affected.
Many expensive cities, such as Oxford and Brighton, often build far less housing than cities with cheaper housing and lower demand, such as Wakefield and Telford. This is because the supply of houses has little connection to prices and therefore the cities with the most unaffordable housing.
There is huge variation around where in large cities and towns new homes are being built. The vast majority of development happens either in city centres or on the very edges of cities. Meanwhile, half of all these suburban neighbourhoods have built less than one home each year.
The UK doesn’t have a national housing crisis, but there is a housing crisis in our most unaffordable cities. Our work offers ideas on how national and local leaders can get homes built where demand is highest.
This report uses new data to examine which neighbourhoods within cities are building the most and the least new homes and explores what this means for policy making.
This report investigates the amount of space people have in different cities and how this has changed since 2011. It sets out what should be done to give people more space and make housing more affordable as the economy grows.
Releasing green belt around more than one thousand existing commuter stations would solve the UK housing crisis.
What's the relationship between urban economies and housing wealth in England and Wales?
The scarcity of new homes in Britain’s most economically successful cities has created huge inequalities in housing wealth.
Urban homeowners in the South East made on average £80,000 more in housing equity than those elsewhere in England and Wales from 2013 to 2018.
This wealth inequality exacerbates existing social problems, and may have been one underlying factor in many areas’ strong Leave vote in the 2016 EU referendum.
The housing crisis also creates huge cost for the rest of society. The money spent on housing benefit, the difficulties that the NHS, police, and schools has in staffing roles in expensive cities, and homelessness are all linked to the unaffordability of housing in certain places. Fixing their housing shortages will reduce pressure on the rest of the welfare state.
The UK must concentrate homebuilding primarily in economically successful cities where demand is highest.
The current planning system will not deliver homes at this scale or in the right places. Only a wholescale reform of housing policy will deliver the development needed.
What changes are needed to get more housing built where it is needed?
Politicians and campaigners from across the political spectrum are coming together to push for changes to green belt policies
The Government’s revised planning rulebook focuses too much on rural areas, and not enough on cities
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Guilherme Rodrigues outlines how the government can take action to achieve ‘London-style’ urban public transport networks across the UK.
Senior Analyst Anthony Breach calls for three key commitments from Government if progress is to be made on levelling up.
Investment zones will need to help struggling places offer something different to businesses, rather than doubling down on what they already have, if they are to improve their fortunes.
The recently announced package to tackle the energy crisis is welcome but like previous measures, it does not address the existing North-South divide in energy needs.
Senior Analyst Anthony Breach urges politicians to be clear about what they want the green belt to do and how they aim to address the costs it imposes on the country.
Some parts of the UK are in dire need of new homes and the Census data shows why.
The second blog in Centre for Cities' TfL series shows that while Hong Kong’s mass transit operator may not be the answer to TfL’s short-term funding issues, it needs to be considered in the long-term.
The Levelling Up Bill is the last and best chance for this Government to leave a positive and permanent legacy in housing.
The cities more likely to receive payments to deal with the cost of living crisis tend to be poorer and have higher energy needs
The new levy needs to ensure more certainty for developers and more freedom for local authorities.