Capital failure: Understanding the roots of London's housing crisis

Published Wed 30 Dec 2015
London's housing crisis is critical, and its problems are complex and well-entrenched. This short briefing addresses the root causes and impacts of the chronic undersupply of homes for the millions who call the capital home.

If we don't act now to improve housing supply, housing costs will continue to rise, homeownership will continue to fall, families and businesses will bear the brunt, and more people will feel that private renting – expensive, often poor quality and increasingly insecure – is their only option.

How did we get into this mess? The reasons are widespread – it's not just about planning and nimbyism. Tackling them at their core requires a focus on why we are not producing enough homes. In this short pamphlet we highlight what we see as the fundamental issues holding back the delivery of housing in the capital. These issues cut across the four main elements of housebuilding: land, planning consent, finance, and the housebuilders.

London's housing problems are unique in England but are not unassailable. Other cities in the world are more densely populated, more affordable, and better able to deliver more homes. There is no single magic bullet solution or simple policy fix. Tackling London's deeply entrenched problems demands an equally unique strategy and set of reforms, led from within the capital.

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