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Major new research to examine lack of affordable housing


Professor Michael Oxley

New ideas which could provide answers to the lack of affordable homes for rent in the UK are set to be developed as part of a major new research project.

The project, called Boosting the Supply of Affordable Rented Housing in the UK: Learning from Other Countries, has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

De Montfort University’s Centre for Comparative Housing Research (CCHR) and Places for People (PfP), one of the largest housing development and management organisations in the UK, will work together on the research collaboration.

They will examine policy and practice in North America and Western Europe to generate ideas which could boost the production of affordable housing for rent in this country.

Among the initiatives to be studied will be the effectiveness of offering financial incentives to developers of affordable rented housing, a system used in the USA, France and other countries.

By exploring the institutional and policy changes needed to boost supply here in the UK, and analysing the way in which other countries have approached the problem, it is hoped that the outcomes of this research will have significant implications for Government policy.

A series of discussions, presentations and seminars will be held with stakeholders including Places for People, housing organisations, local government and central government departments to hear views and gather practical opinions.

Professor Michael Oxley will lead the six month project, working with Ros Lishman, Dr Tim Brown and Dr Jo Richardson, from CCHR alongside several staff from PfP. There will also be input from colleagues overseas, including the OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment, at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The research will build on previous work into housing supply overseas by the CCHR, as well as the vast experience of PfP in developing and managing homes. The CCHR and PfP teams will also work together to set the agenda for future research.

Professor Oxley said: “The Government wants more house building and it wants more affordable rented housing. It is seeking ways of achieving this. This research will help produce new ideas and it will, through the involvement of PfP, apply a rigorous ‘reality check’ to the value and applicability of fresh ideas.

“Ultimately, it is expected that this research will have an impact on the volume of housing construction and the availability of rented housing for lower income households.”

David Cowans, Group Chief Executive at PfP, said: “We have long believed that new ideas are needed in boosting housing supply in a variety of tenures. The research with CCHR will enable us to really understand what works in other countries and make recommendations to UK Government that have the potential to make a tangible difference.”

Posted on Wednesday 3rd July 2013

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