1 Introduction |
1. A decent home at an affordable cost is something
which everyone has the right to expect, and it is the responsibility
of Government to ensure it is available.
The number of homes built each year has declined in most of the
last 15 years, while the population and the number of households
has continued to grow. The Government is seeking to address this
mismatch with major proposals to increase the housing supply.
We therefore considered it an appropriate time to examine Government's
2. We adopted the following terms of reference for
- The potential benefits of and
scope to promote greater homeownership;
- The extent to which home purchase tackles social
and economic inequalities and reduces poverty;
- The economic and social impact of current house
- The relationship between house prices and housing
- Other factors influencing the affordability of
housing for sale, including construction methods and fiscal measures;
- The scale of the Government's plans to boost
- The relative importance of increasing the supply
of private housing as opposed to subsidised housing;
- How the planning system should respond to the
demand for housing for sale;
- The scale of housing development required to
influence house prices and the impact of promoting such a programme
on the natural and historical environment and infrastructure provision,
- The regional disparities in the supply and demand
for housing and how they might be tackled.
3. We received 101 submissions and held four evidence
sessions. We would like to thank our specialist advisers, Christine
Whitehead, Professor of Housing at the London School of Economics,
and Richard Bate from the consultancy Green Balance, for their
guidance and assistance and all those who made written submissions
or gave oral evidence to this inquiry.
4. There are many definitions of affordable housing.
In this report we define it as subsidised housing that meets the
needs of those who cannot afford secure decent housing on the
open market either to rent or buy. Social rented housing is defined
as housing which is provided for rent by a local authority, a
housing association or another not-for-profit organisation. Intermediate
tenures are homes bought as part of a shared ownership or equity
share scheme, whereby the purchaser (at least initially) buys
a proportion of the equity in a home, while the remaining share
is owned by a housing association or other agency.
5. As well as examining the amount of new house-building
required we have also considered
- Housing needed to meet housing
requirements and aspirations;
- How the house-building programme can be linked
with urban regeneration, and
- How the development process should be managed
to ensure infrastructure is provided and the negative environmental
impact is minimised.
1 This right was enshrined in the UN Declaration on
Human Settlement, 1976. Back