Healthy economies need the right supply of housing to support the local workforce and business base. Housing can enhance a city’s productivity, but if it is not of the right type, at the right price or in the right place for local people, it can impair and restrict economic potential.
Too often housing policy has been considered in isolation from other factors such as employment and business growth. While this there is growing awareness amongst policy makers of the links between housing and economic development, the precise nature of these links remain poorly understood and clear policies that link homes to jobs and economic opportunity have been less than forthcoming. The result can be ill-considered housing policy, which can undermine the way our city economies function.
Understanding this relationship is particularly important at the local level. As this report finds, it is local housing markets – not the national picture – that really matter to the economic performance of cities, and by extension, the national economy. Policy makers therefore need to set housing objectives that reflect these local requirements, and the local economic context – not just headline-driven national supply targets.
*Professor Kenneth Gibb is Head of the Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow. Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Director of Newhaven Research, is a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow. Catherine Glossop is an Analyst at the Centre for Cities.