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Housing and the economy

The latest issue of the National Institute Economic Review contains new research focused on the “broken” housing market in the UK and policy options for fixing it, following a successful conference on these themes co-organised by CaCHE.

Leading experts in the field provide in-depth analyses of key housing issues including planning restrictions and limitations to supply, housing affordability, regulation of rental markets, and taxation:

  • The housing market: challenges and policy responses, by Stephen Aldridge (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government);
  • Broken market or broken policy? The unintended consequences of restrictive planning, by Paul Cheshire (LSE and CEP Urban programme);
  • Housing, debt and the economy: a tale of two countries, by John Muellbauer, (Nuffield College and INET, Oxford);
  • Housing policy and the changing tenure mix, by Christine Whitehead (LSE).

CaCHE is delighted to have partnered with the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in delivering “The Broken Housing Market” conference on the 1st June attended by more than 120 representatives from academia, the private and public sector, civic society and the media. Jointly, we questioned whether the housing market is actually “broken”; if so, where and why; and what can be done to “fix” it, let alone what a fixed housing system might actually consist of.  We believe this coming together reflects not only the importance of housing in the nation but also the extent which solutions need to combine the knowledge of different disciplines.

Evidence-informed policy making is the way forward if we are to learn from the past in constructing a more durable outcome for the future. CaCHE is committed to evaluating the base of research that currently exists, identifying gaps in that evidence, and then translating this technical knowledge into actionable strategies for better housing outcomes. RICS has a long history in the housing market, both in providing timely information through a monthly residential market survey and through challenging government in its policy output. We are equally pleased to work with NIESR in promoting rigorous research methods that can be readily applied to complex policy issues such as those related to housing.

Indeed, all three organisations are bound by a similar objective to promote, through quantitative and qualitative research, a deeper understanding of the interaction of economic and social forces that affect peoples’ lives, and the ways in which policies can improve them.

“Fixing” the broken housing market will require ongoing collaboration and a fair degree of courage. If anything, we’d like the Review and discussions from the conference to stimulate interest in housing research that is being carried out, and, more importantly, to inform evidence-based policy making going forward. This is not an academic exercise but an opportunity to meaningfully engage in a much broader discussion in areas such as the role of housing in consumption patterns of people, implications for macro-prudential policy instruments, and the affordability of housing.

Jeffrey Matsu is a Co-Investigator for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence and is based at the RICS in London.

 
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Date: August 2, 2018 3:09 pm

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