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Lords inquiry is sign of ‘housing shortage at crisis point’, says RIBA

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The RIBA has welcomed a new government inquiry into the UK housing market, but says it signals a ‘crisis point’ in the housing shortage

The inquiry, which has been launched by the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, will investigate the supply and affordability of homes, and review the government’s policies for providing low-cost housing.

In a statement, the RIBA said: ‘The solution to our broken housing market is not going to be found in tinkering around the edges; the government needs to take a much more holistic approach.

‘In addition to supply and affordability, we encourage the committee to look at the barriers to speeding up new house-building projects – specifically the poor design of many new developments that leads to public opposition to new homes.

‘[We] welcome the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s inquiry and the recognition from government that the shortage of housing is at crisis point and must be tackled.’

Lord Hollick, chairman of the committee, said: ‘There are clearly serious issues with the UK housing market. Across the country, young people in particular are struggling with the cost of housing, whether they are looking to buy or rent. There is an affordability crisis in housing.

‘We feel the time is now right for a thorough evidence-based assessment of the economics of the housing market. We would like to get to the bottom of the affordability crises. Is the primary cause a lack of supply? What effect have recent government initiatives to encourage first-time buyers had? Or is there too much emphasis on owning your own home? Should we be focusing efforts on ensuring adequate affordable housing is available for rent?’

Evidence can be submitted to the inquiry until 17 December.

Questions being asked by the inquiry

  • How can we increase the supply of reasonably priced private housing in the UK?
  • How effective have government schemes such as Help to Buy been in improving the affordability of housing?
  • Are there tax measures that could improve housing supply and affordability? What impact will the proposed changes to inheritance tax have on housing supply?
  • Have the 2014 reforms to stamp duty had an impact? Should there be further reform to stamp duty?
  • Are changes to the planning system needed to increase the availability of low-cost housing?
  • How can we improve the availability of low-cost private rental properties? Will the current trend for a decline in home ownership and rise in private rental continue and is it desirable?
  • Is there a case for restricting rent increases in the private sector?
  • Are new measures needed to increase the supply of social housing?
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