New Affordable Housing Commission launched

A new Affordable Housing Commission, chaired by Lord Best, has been established by leading thinktank The Smith Institute, with funding from the Nationwide Foundation. The Commission will examine the causes and impacts of the affordability crisis and propose solutions. This will include looking at whether the existing definition of affordable housing is fit for purpose and if necessary, seek to make a clearer, agreed and applied definition of affordability that will help make housing in England genuinely affordable.

An alarming poll by YouGov for the new Affordable Housing Commission has revealed that 64% of people in England and Wales think the country is in the grips of an affordable housing crisis.
• Seven in ten renters say they would need to win the lottery to buy their own home
• One in two people with housing costs have faced financial difficulties in the last year alone because housing costs are unaffordable.

The survey also revealed that as a result of housing costs, in the last year alone half of people (47%) have faced financial difficulties, such as borrowing to meet basic expenses, being unable to save or struggling to pay household bills.

For the majority of those surveyed, the picture is set to become bleaker still. Over half (52%) stated that housing costs will become less affordable in the next 10 years and just one in 10 (11%) thinking costs will become more affordable.

The poll found these issues are often being felt most acutely by renters. Six in 10 (59%) renters stated that housing costs will become less affordable over the next decade. Half of renters (47%) have been unable to save for long periods because of high housing costs in the last year and just over a quarter (28%) have used a credit card to meet basic expenses. Four in 10 renters (39%) also stated that they would not be able to meet their housing costs for longer than a month if they or their partner lost their job.

For many people who are renting, the prospect of buying is remote with seven in 10 (72%) stating that they would need to win the lottery to buy their own home and one in four (39%) indicating that they would have to wait for the death of a family member to become homeowners.

Lord Best, Chair of the Commission, which will be made up of 15 leading players from the housing world, said: “The survey results hammer home the extent of our national affordable housing crisis. This is no longer a problem confined to a few housing hotspots, but is recognised as an issue by people of all ages and income levels across every region.

“The scale of this challenge demands we stop tinkering and build a consensus around some bold solutions. Over the coming months the Affordable Housing Commission will be speaking with the public and discussing with housing professionals what these big interventions to tackle the housing affordability crisis should be.”

Read more about why we are funding this project.