Average house prices have doubled in the last decade. Demand for housing has outstripped supply to such an extent that housing has become a national policy priority for the Brown government, as well as a staple topic of conversation at dinner parties.
That there is a continuing fundamental mismatch between supply and demand in the housing market is no longer disputed, yet there is less agreement about how to tackle the problem. In particular, debate rages about where to build new homes, whether demand can be accommodated on already developed land and how these decisions should be made by local communities.
It is against this backdrop that the Social Market Foundation formed an internal commission to examine how the UK can meet demand for housing over the medium term.
This report outlines the preliminary findings of the Commission, concluding that if the UK is to meet the government’s housing target of 3 million new homes by 2020, it will have to build 1.8 million new houses on greenfield sites or the Green Belt and that the 3 million target is the minimum need to ease the UK’s overstretched housing market.