Towards a new housing settlement

Project Details

An affordable, secure, and comfortable home is a foundational block of any good life. But we have an increasing deficit in housing supply, caused by decades of undersupply. Private rents at record highs; home ownership at record lows; 1.4 million families on social housing waiting lists; and average house prices soaring to 10 times the average salary. This has caused a crisis that extends beyond pure economics.

Basic, shared aspirations are in great peril: a shortage of suitable, affordable homes where they are needed makes it harder to find meaningful employment, have a happy and lasting relationship, raise children and have a secure retirement. In increasingly depriving a generation of the hope of owning their own home, it has contributed to great divides in wealth and has diminished community life in our cities, towns and villages.

The good news

Proper recognition of the problem is the first step towards finding the solutions – and we at ResPublica are committed to doing that. We are developing radical but serious ideas for policy across three themes that will make lasting impact on policy.

  • Building the homes we need: Last year, we proposed a National Housing Fund in Going to Scale: How a National Housing Fund Can Unlock Britain’s House Building Capacity. In 2017 we will develop this further to show how the Fund could deliver up to 75,000 new homes a year and how it would be operated and funded. We also want to look at complementary solutions to unlock new housing. In particular, we will look at community-led housing solutions, making best use of public land for housing, and realising the potential of institutional investment to deliver the homes we need.
  • Opening routes to ownership: Home ownership creates prosperity. The rise in ownership that we saw over the course of the 20th century gave families a stake in the wealth of the nation. But ownership has since tumbled and has reached a 30 year low. Boosting supply is of course vital, but we will still be left with an ownership gap not seen for generations. We will explore what can be done to support routes into ownership for all.
  • The renaissance of place: Housing and planning policy support community life, shaping the built environment and creating places in which people can flourish. Building on the success of our recent papers, Great Estates: Putting communities at the heart of regenerations, and on beauty and the planning system, A Community Right to Beauty: Giving communities the power to shape, enhance and create beautiful places, we will do further research and policy development to shape the debate on place-making, the public realm and the built environment.

Work with us

ResPublica is working with partners to help address the challenges and opportunities presented by the housing agenda. Through leadership content and targeted events we are jointly shaping the national housing debate.  For a conversation with our Home programme lead Ed Douglas about how your organisation can partner with us, please contact him on