Thursday, November 29, 2018

A proper analysis of the housing shortage

I have no hesitation in recommending the report from Residential Analysts which explains why the ‘housing crisis’ should be seen as many different problems affecting all parts of the country in different ways.

The question does arise as to why local authorities have bought into the relatively crude analysis on which the Strategic Housing Market assessments have been prepared and why the DHCLG has not sought to emphasise the need for local responses to housing needs, based on the figures reproduced in the RA report?

One interesting figure is the 9million ‘spare’ bedrooms. This is the equivalent of about 4.5million two bedroomed dwellings.  Taking the Government estimate of demand at 300,000 new dwellings per year (and average household size of about 2.6), there is potential for about 15 years supply without any new building.  It would be seriously delusional to expect all this space to be magically available in the places (ie where there are jobs) and in the form that could be used ( eg as rented rooms or conversions into flats).  However, the carbon cost of new building (50% being embodied at substantial completion and before occupation), the prevalence of fuel poverty, and the need for the housing sector to be net carbon zero by about 2030 points to residential sub-divisions (including custom-splitting) as a serious if not the main contender.

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