Professor Crook comments on the implications for housing of the Autumn Statement

Commenting on the recent housing announcements in the government’s Autumn Statement, Professor Tony Crook, Emeritus Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and housing policy expert said:

Any of these announcements that result in the building of more new homes is good news since we must double what we are currently building if we are to meet needs. More new homes will go some way to dealing with this big gap and hopefully will dampen the growth in house prices and improve affordability. 

However these announcements are as much about fostering and subsidising home ownership as about meeting the needs of those living in the worst housing conditions including sharing with others. What we urgently need is to build more homes for affordable rent to help those in the most urgent need of a decent home that they can afford. Instead the announcement has backed more homes to buy.

This is good for those who can afford to do so but we must not forget the very many who will not be able to buy even the most subsidised of the new homes.

Meanwhile the Chancellor has further increased the taxes paid by private landlords and reduced their investment returns at a time when we need more not fewer decent homes of all types of renting. Competitive economies worldwide have vibrant private rented sectors which help foster labour mobility and improve housing choices and the UK needs one too and it is a pity that no new steps were taken to attract funds from the major financial institutions to build new homes for rent.