Making housing affordable: a new vision for housing policy

Document type
Morton, Alex
Policy Exchange
Date of publication
27 August 2010
Housing and Homelessness, Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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Between 1995 and 2009 the average house price rose by 120% and average private rents rose 64%.  In turn this is driving up government expenditure on Housing Benefit and social and affordable housing whilst driving down home-ownership. The largest single cause of the housing crisis is a crisis in supply.  At the same time social housing is failing its tenants.  Current social housing policies are driving unaffordable levels of welfare reliance and increasing poverty for social tenants, caused by the existing disincentives to employment. This report outlines how to improve social outcomes (e.g. home-ownership and employment) and save £20 billion a year.  The following solutions are proposed:

  • Reduce the rate at which rents/house prices rise by increasing the numbers of new homes built. Achieved by replacing the current failing planning system with a ‘community-controlled’ system, where those impacted by development (not local councils) decide on whether or not to allow developments and receive incentives for doing so.
  • Radically reshape the incentives social tenants face by ending ‘needs-based’ allocations and making social housing a stepping stone into ownership for tenants who work.
  • Create a new ‘Path to Ownership’ model of social housing and build more social homes.

The paper provides extensive analysis of the current situation before discussing these proposals in greater detail. 

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