London’s housing crisis presents a huge and urgent challenge. There are no easy solutions and costs continue to rise. As such, it is imperative that the politicians and decision-makers get the policy right and secure the best possible outcomes. London can’t afford policy mistakes and the wrong interventions. Nor with demand increasing can London afford to delay. This report acknowledges these imperatives and seeks to inform and shape the housing policies of the London mayor and the 32 boroughs and City of London.
Whilst the data and analysis records the seriousness of the situation and documents how Londoners are being priced out, its added value rests in the evidence presented on what is truly affordable, where and for whom. The picture it paints is far from straight-forward. London’s housing is certainly expensive compared to the rest of the UK, but it’s complicated and not everywhere is unaffordable for everyone. Furthermore, the research shows that there are big differences between and within boroughs, not least in terms of tenure mix. Understanding these variances is essential in getting London’s housing and planning policies fit for purpose.
This report though does more than explain the complexities and differences of London’s housing market. It also examines the costs to the public purse of supporting affordable housing in different places and for different tenures. If London is to make the most out of the limited resources it gets from government then it is vital to spend that funding wisely and ensure value for money. Deciding where to invest in new affordable homes is difficult political terrain, but the decisions must be made on the basis of solid evidence and for the benefit of London as a whole.
With land values and property prices rising to unprecedented levels the report asks if there is scope for greater burden sharing among the London boroughs and whether investment should perhaps be directed more towards those places in outer London which offer a bigger bang for your buck? It also questions how the creation of mixed income/mixed tenure communities can be given a higher profile. These are difficult tasks, but vital to helping London provide the housing it needs.