Local housing need – what exactly is it?


The DCLG consultation paper states –

The Government argued in the housing White Paper that a standard approach to assessing local housing need would be simpler, quicker, and more transparent. This would speed up the time taken to prepare Local Plans and give local communities greater control of development in their area.

The phrase ‘local housing need’ sounds as if housing targets for an area are designed to meet the needs of the local population. The targets are therefore justifiable. How could anyone object to meeting the housing needs of the local community?

Yet in reality the targets are not based on or designed to meet ‘local housing need’ at all, they are based on meeting a combination of need and demand.

We can identify the various components of housing wants:

Local need – households within an area who are in need of housing

Local demand – households within an area who are housed but would like a different or extra house

External demand – people living outside the area who wish to move for say lifestyle reasons

Investment demand – people generally living outside the area who wish to purchase property for investment purposes. This could include buy to let and holiday lets

Holiday home demand – people generally living outside the area who wish to purchase property to use as a second home. They might also see the option as an investment

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