Updated Mar 2016
London Housing Commission
Our capital city faces unprecedented challenges in housing its citizens. Double-digit annual inflation has resulted in house prices that are now one-third higher than they were before the financial crisis. With no corresponding improvement in people's incomes, or expansion in supply to curb price inflation, affordability problems are deepening and mortgage debt-to-income ratios are rising rapidly.
Such forces create severe consequences elsewhere: rising rents, stubborn levels of housing-induced poverty, and homelessness. Now fully 25 per cent of the housing benefit bill is absorbed by renters in the capital.
Providing enough secure, affordable and decent housing is one of the biggest challenges facing our nation, and at present we are falling short. The Strategic London Housing Market Assessment has estimated that the London housing market needs at least 49,000 additional homes per year to house the growing population and meet the severe backlog that weak development has allowed to develop. Last year, only 18,700 were delivered.
The capital needs a radical strategy to solve its deep housing problems. IPPR has been at the forefront of exploring new ideas and policies for tackling the housing crisis, and with the challenges most acute in London, this project will establish a four-member commission of experts and supply them with detailed market analysis and policy research, to facilitate the development of a radical portfolio of solutions to the London housing crisis.
The London Housing Commission will address the following key questions:
- How can we double the delivery of homes in London every year, and maintain high levels of housing delivery in the long term?
- How can we reconnect the costs of home ownership and renting to incomes in London?
- How can we provide a high quality private rented sector?
Building a new deal: the London Housing Commission publishes its final report
The next mayor of London and the 33 boroughs should join forces to strike a major devolution deal with central government. They should commit to increase supply to 50,000 homes a year by the end of the decade, to ensure that London has sufficient affordable housing for citizens of all income levels, and to eliminate poor conditions in the rented market. In return, the government should give London significant new freedoms to control its own planning, borrowing and taxes.
‘The London Housing Commission does not claim to have all of the answers, but it is clear that the status quo will not do. The housing crisis will not solve itself, and radical measures of the sort we outline in this report will go a long way to delivering the volume of quality, affordable homes that the capital desperately needs.’
Lord Bob Kerslake, chair
To listen to the podcast from this event, click here.
The London Housing Commission has published its interim report
This new illustrated briefing paper highlights and explores the fundamental problems that are holding back housing delivery in the capital – issues that cut across the four main elements of housebuilding: land, planning consent, finance, and the housebuilders themselves.
The paper also asks why other world cities, some more densely populated than London, are both more affordable and better able to deliver the homes that their citizens need, and argues that to tackle London's deeply entrenched problems we need an equally unique strategy and set of reforms, led from within the capital.
Submit evidence to the London Housing Commission
The London Housing Commission invites you to contribute your research, analysis and ideas on how to improve the housing market in the capital. The call for evidence document, which describes the Commission's objectives and the key questions about the London housing market that it hopes to answer, is published here.
Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; see the call for evidence document for submission requirements and more information. This call for evidence will remain open until Monday 12 October 2015.
Meet the members of our London Housing Commission
The London Housing Commission will be chaired by Lord Sir Bob Kerslake, former head of the UK Civil Service, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Homes and Communities Agency.
Sir Bob is joined on the commission by:
- Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute for Housing
- Mark Clare, outgoing chief executive of Barratt Homes
- Professor Rebecca Tunstall, University of York
- Nick Walkley, chief executive of the London Borough of Haringey
- Professor Christine Whitehead, London School of Economics