Are housing associations two-faced?

Savills have just released an interesting report focusing mainly on the housing association sector (Disclaimer – a planner that I know well works for Savills).  Nicky Morrison at the Department of Land Economy in Cambridge has been writing for a while contributing to an emerging body of academic work on the growth of development of housing for profit by social enterprises such as housing associations.  The L&Q acquisition of Gallagher Estates was something that I’ve commented on before.

The Savills report provides some good up to date insights and data on trends in the sector.  The Coalition government in 2010 slashed grant funding.  In the same period, social rented housing supply has largely been supplanted by affordable rented housing.  Supply by housing associations has largely gone down.  Nicky’s work* suggests that their supply of for-profit housing has gone up.   Ironically, most housing associations saw the supply of social rented housing as their first priority.  Access to land seems to be the key constraint to increased supply.  Certainty on rents is also a key concern.  The report also provides some interesting data on the ownership of development land.  There are major differences in land ownership pre-application and post-permission.  Lots to see for anyone interested in this area.

*Manzi, T. and Morrison, N., 2017. Risk, commercialism and social purpose: Repositioning the English housing association sector. Urban Studies, p.0042098017700792.

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