Last edited 04 Jan 2016

Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into the economics of the housing market

The Economic Affairs Committee is one of five permanent investigative committees in the House of Lords. Its main function is to examine economic affairs and to report to the House of Lords with recommendations for government action. The committee is usually made up of thirteen members, appointed by the House for each Session of Parliament.

On 03 November 2015 the committee launched an inquiry into the economics of the housing market. In particular this will investigate the supply and affordability of housing and review the effectiveness of policies to provide low cost housing to rent and to buy.

In a call for evidence, the committee posed the following questions:

  • How can we increase the supply of reasonably priced private housing in the UK?
  • How effective have government schemes such as help to buy been in improving the affordability of housing?
  • Are there tax measures that could improve housing supply and affordability?
  • What impact will the proposed changes to inheritance tax have on housing supply?
  • Have the 2014 reforms to stamp duty had an impact?
  • Should there be further reform to stamp duty?
  • Are changes to the planning system needed to increase the availability of low cost housing?
  • How can we improve the availability of low cost private rental properties?
  • Will the current trend for a decline in home ownership and rise in private rental continue and is it desirable?
  • Is there a case for restricting rent increases in the private sector?
  • Are new measures needed to increase the supply of social housing?

The closing date for submissions was 17 December 2015.

Lord Hollick, Chairman of the Committee, said, "There are clearly serious issues with the UK housing market. Across the country, young people in particular are struggling with the cost of housing, whether they are looking to buy or rent. There is an affordability crisis in housing.

“…Is the primary cause a lack of supply? What effect have recent Government initiatives to encourage first time buyers had? Or is there too much emphasis on owning your own home, should we be focusing efforts on ensuring adequate affordable housing is available for rent?

“…we would particularly like to hear from people who are struggling with the cost of housing.”

Andrew Forth, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the RIBA said, "We welcome the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s inquiry and the recognition from government that the shortage of housing is at crisis point and must be tackled.

"In addition to supply and affordability, we encourage the committee to look at the barriers to speeding up new house-building projects – specifically the poor design of many new developments that leads to public opposition to new homes.

"The solution to our broken housing market is not going to be found in tinkering around the edges; the government needs to take a much more holistic approach."

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