Regeneration and bringing back empty homes into use are desired measures to meet the housing crisis, research reveals

PS HousingResearch released by Callcredit Information Group, has revealed that 58 per cent of consumers would prefer to see the regeneration and bringing back into use of dilapidated and empty housing to meet housing requirements.

Specialising in public sector solutions, Callcredit’s research highlights a need for local authorities to look at their existing housing stock and better understand which long-term empty properties could be brought back into use to help address the needs of the 1.37 million households that are on waiting lists for social housing. This is shown with the stark difference between the 58 per cent preferring regeneration and bringing back into use of dilapidated and empty housing compared to 26 per cent opting for the replacement of dilapidated and empty housing with newly built housing.

The independent research undertaken by YouGov* also asked consumers what type of housing they thought was most needed where they lived and what the main actions should be to reduce the number of households on waiting lists.

The top three types of housing highlighted as most needed were:

  • Social housing, provided by the local authority or a housing association – 25 per cent
  • New housing for outright purchase by individual homeowners – 19 per cent  
  • Affordable rented housing, (rent charged at up to 80 per cent of the cost of private rent) – 17 per cent.

The top three main priorities identified to reduce the number of households on waiting lists were:  

  • Building more social housing for people to live in – 29 per cent  
  • Building more affordable housing for people to buy – 20 per cent  
  • Forcing owners of empty housing to rent or sell it – 16 per cent

Andrew Davis, Director of public sector, Callcredit Information Group said: “For local authorities to be able to serve their areas more effectively they need to get beneath the real needs of the consumer.  It is interesting the views that our research is highlighting and provides a deeper understanding to what consumers believe are the housing issues in their local area and what they would prefer to be done to overcome these.” 

Overall consumers highlighted there is a need for more social housing but the results also indicate a clear north south divide with Scotland having a strong desire for social housing with 36 per cent compared to lower figures across England & Wales.  

  • Scotland -36 per cent  
  • London – 23 per cent  
  • Rest of south – 24 per cent  
  • Midlands/Wales – 23 per cent  
  • North – 24 per cent

Interestingly the research also revealed a difference in views across age groups indicating that the younger generation has a clear aspiration to get onto the property ladder.

  • 26 per cent of 18-24 and 20 per cent of 25-39 year olds opted for new housing for outright purchase by individual as the most needed compared to 17 per cent of 40-59 and 16 per cent of 60+.  
  • Only 11 per cent of 18-24 and 16 per cent of 25–39 year olds selected social housing as the most needed compared to 28 per cent of 40-59 year olds and 34 per cent of 60+.

Andrew concluded: “We’re in the middle of one of the most closely fought election campaigns in our modern political history and this week, all the parties have set out their own proposals on how to address Britain’s housing crisis. Our survey results show that there is a strong desire to bring empty homes back in to use through regeneration—rather than demolition—and that a mix of more social homes and private homes for ownership are wanted.”

 *All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,782 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th - 10th April 2015.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).