A study into the housing shortage in the West Midlands has found that a new approach to housing policy is needed if the region’s housing gap is to be addressed.
The report comes as separate research* by KPMG and Shelter found that 69% of respondents in the West Midlands do not believe any economic recovery will ‘feel real’ until it gets easier for young people to own a home. Indeed, 83% of West Midlands respondents believe that it will become increasingly difficult for future generations to own their own home.
The joint Shelter/KPMG study – called Homes for the Next Generation – focused on the housing system covered by the West Midlands Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and involved discussions with major stakeholders including private house builders, housing associations and LEPs.
The discussions revealed a disconnect between the assumptions underlying policies and the issues facing key stakeholders, most notably concerning funding. According to the study, access to development finance was not the major issue for larger house builders, despite often being seen as critical by politicians and policy makers. However, grant funding or alternative funding sources for social housing providers were viewed as being an issue with capital investment from government needed to grow their current operations. In addition, issues around obtaining planning permission and stringent building regulation requirements were not viewed as significant barriers.
Clearer data on public and private land ownership and price would also aid all stakeholders with the study revealing that participants found it hard to establish ownership or sale price due to complex ownership structures involving multiple public bodies such as local authorities, the NHS and the MOD.
Andy Argyle, partner at KPMG in the West Midlands, said:
“This study highlights the challenges facing the region in addressing the gap between houses being built and the number of houses needed – which is currently running at over 8,000 per year. Interestingly, it shows a disconnect between what policymakers think are the major challenges and what other stakeholders consider to be the barriers.
“There is no doubt that a major step change is needed in the way we run our housing system and this snapshot of how stakeholders and systems are interacting within the West Midlands, will hopefully go on to create a catalyst for a UK-wide review.”
The study also highlighted a bold new direction for policy with a call for a more strategic long-term vision on meeting housing needs in the region. An increase in public and private collaboration on strategic sites, together with greater coordination across boundaries was highlighted as a way to assist in maximisng the investment needed for infrastructure and for the allocation of land for development.
Notes to editors:
*The KPMG/Shelter research was carried out by Populus amongst 4,071 GB adults (18+) online, including 370 in the West Midlands, between 25 and 31 October 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults. For more information, see www.populus.co.uk
Media enquiries to:
Mark Hamilton, KPMG Corporate Communications 020 7694 2687
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