More houses = more housing need!

An interesting blog over the weekend which looks at housing need across Cornwall, This examines the evidence in several ways:

Comparing the numbers on the HCR with the stock of social rented housing 

On this measure those towns with the largest social housing stock per HCR applicant are as follow

  • Penzance (0.69 HCR applicants for each social rented property)
  • Saltash (0.74)
  • Bude-Stratton (0.76
  • Launceston (0.77)

And the towns with the biggest shortage of social housing in relation to HCR applicants are

  • St Ives and St Austell (1.00)
  • Camborne-Redruth (1.02)
  • Helston (1.11)
  • Newquay (1.18)

For a more grounded picture we might look at the actual lettings of social housing in 2012 (both via turnover and new builds) and compare that with the numbers on the HCR. On this measure those towns with the highest stress last year were

  • Bude and Wadebridge – 23 HCR registrations for each available property in 2012
  • Helston 29
  • St Ives 78

Those towns with the lowest comparative stress in 2012 were

  • Launceston – 7 on the HCR for each available property
  • St Austell – 8
  • Bodmin and Liskeard – 11

(Incidentally, the average for Cornwall was 15.5 HCR applicants for each social rented property; Penzance comes out at 15.6).

Developers and others often claim that we simply need to build more houses to reduce the problem of affordability. If this were true then we would expect those CNAs which had the greatest housing growth in the 20 years to 2010 to experience the lowest level of housing stress now. But when we compare overall growth in dwellings with the level of housing stress on the above measures at the CNA level we discover that there is a positive correlation between housing growth and stress, significant at the 95% level. (The actual correlations are a Pearson’s product moment of 0.408 and a Spearman’s rho of 0.504).

What this means is there is a moderate relationship between the numbers of new houses built and the levels of housing stress. Let’s put this another way. Those areas which saw the most houses built in 1990-2010 have the greatest level of housing need now. This is precisely the opposite of what developers and some councillors would argue!

For More:


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