Affordability is one of the biggest housing problems facing many households today in the UK and internationally. In the UK, in 2016, average house prices were 7.7 times full-time earnings, a level that many consider unsustainable. However, price to earnings ratios are misleading and, in fact, the majority of households in the UK have modest housing costs with the main exceptions of those on lower incomes and younger households. Affordability is largely a question of distribution, not captured in averages. The first objective of this project is therefore to evaluate different measures of affordability. Broadly, policies to improve affordability attempt either to increase supply or reduce “over-consumption” by existing households. In practice, in the UK and internationally, most attention has been paid to the former, although attention is now also being paid to the latter; the second objective is to examine which policies are likely to be the most effective – particularly for the two target groups.
Starts: October 2017