The number of households on the ‘waiting list’ more correctly referred to as the Home Choice Register (HCR), is often used as an excuse to support high housing targets. We say excuse as there is some confusion as to what the HCR numbers actually mean.
Rather than thinking of the HCR as the number of people waiting for a house, it is better to think of it mainly as a transfer list. In other words for most people on the HCR it indicates a desire to transfer from one property to another. Thats right, most people on the HCR are already living in a property. The reasons for wanting to move vary, including- a desire to move to a larger/smaller property; issues with facilities; problems with paying the rent or mortgage; in danger of losing the property. When these people move their existing property becomes available for someone else. We do not need to build a new property for them. A small number, we estimate about 20% probably need a new property, although the figure could be lower.
So if a candidate says we need more housing to accommodate those on the ‘waiting list’/HCR, it is incorrect!