The housing crisis remains one of the biggest domestic challenges that the UK faces, and this problem is particularly acute in cities in the Greater South East of England where demand outpaces supply.
While there is now a good understanding of which cities and towns build the most – and the fewest – homes, much less attention is given to exactly where in cities new homes are being built, and why.
For the first time, this report uses new data to examine which neighbourhoods within cities are building the most new homes and explores what this means for policy making.
Where in cities are new homes being built?
- Large parts of existing suburbs in England and Wales are providing almost no new homes.
- Over a fifth of neighbourhoods outside city centres have built no new houses since 2011 while half of all these suburban neighbourhoods have built less than one home each year.
- A few suburban neighbourhoods are building the lion’s share of new homes: 4 per cent of suburban neighbourhoods have supplied 45 per cent of all new suburban homes since 2011.
- If every suburban neighbourhood had at least built just under four houses per year since 2011, there would be 446,000 more homes in cities today.
- If cities did this and built the 56,000 extra homes a year required, they would almost close the remaining gap between our national housebuilding rate of 241,000 and the national housing target of 300,000.
Why is this happening?
The local housing plans, national policy and NIMBYism are are forcing the concentration of new homes in city centres, or on the very edges of cities.
However, this is not sustainable and solving the housing crisis will require building more housing in existing suburbs, in addition to making more land available for development on the outskirts of cities.
What needs to change?
- National reforms to the planning system to reconnect supply with demand.
- Reforms to national policy to make suburban homebuilding easier
- More experimental ideas like greater a use of ‘granny flats’ and ‘millennial pads’ as pioneered in places such as California.