This report from the London School of Economics (LSE), commissioned by the Family Building Society, calls for politicians, key national and local government departments, as well as the Bank of England, to cooperate on solving the UK’s current housing crisis by producing a realistic, coherent and consistent policy.
The authors argue that without an integrated strategy covering housing as a whole, including providing housing of a safe and acceptable standard, individual policy solutions are likely to bring only limited success. The report also argues that there must be a focus on optimising the use of existing housing stock, finding that while new build of all types must be increased, what can bring larger and more immediate benefits is to use the 99 per cent of housing already in existence more efficiently.
The report notes that decisions made by older households are increasingly important to the overall housing market. Methods to incentivise downsizing by older people to smaller and more suitable homes, which would benefit older residents as well as releasing family homes to the market, are outlined in the report, including changes to stamp duty. The authors find that with current disincentives for older people to downsize affecting demand for suitable housing, "the UK is almost alone in the developed world in having so few retirement communities which can both ease the moving process and help keep people healthier and connected".