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Consumers demand greater collaboration to ensure the right mix of homes are built

10th February 2020

The UK’s housing shortage is well documented but did you know that almost half (49%) of consumers believe greater collaboration between local councils, property developers and social housing associations is critical if the UK is to build the right mix of properties in future?

That’s according to the findings of our latest survey, which draws on the views of 1,000 UK residents that either own homes, rent privately or live in social housing, which asked about UK consumers’ thoughts on the communities of the future.

Other factors identified by respondents as critical to ensuring the right mix of homes is built included providing more opportunities for public consultation during planning decisions (35%), more powers being given to local planning authorities for better local oversight (29%) and more strategic leadership at a national level (21%).

The findings are part of a report by Eurocell that explores how the communities of the future may look. It includes insights from five architects from practices BDP, Stanton Williams, TOWN and Urbanist Architecture.

When asked about the current mix of homes being built, half reported that they felt not enough affordable homes for first time buyers were being built. An almost identical number (49%) said they believed not enough social housing was being built. This fell to 31% when asked about the amount of private rental (PRS) options being built, while 37% said that not enough homes in general were being built.

As a result, two fifths of respondents, who were equally split between private renters, home owners and social housing tenants, said that PRS, social housing and homes to buy should be of equal priority as more homes were built. However, 28% identified social housing as the priority, 17% said homes to buy and 10% said PRS options should be the priority.

When we spoke to Doriano Chiarparin, an architect at Stanton Williams, and asked for his viewpoint, he told us: “Unless there is a push towards more social and affordable housing in city centres, land values alone tend to create socially segregated cities. In any productive environment, you need different levels of skill, different types of people and levels of affordability – so there definitely needs to be more support towards affordable residential and social housing in order to keep cities working.”

What is evident is that the public’s view on the housing mix that they want to see developed in the communities of the future requires careful consideration. The UK has typically been a nation of aspiring property owners. However, these findings suggest that there could be a shift towards more continental attitudes towards homeownership where renting is far more common. As the construction sector continues to design, plan and build the communities of the future serious consideration will need to be given towards this issue to ensure that the needs of consumers are being met.

The Future Communities report can be downloaded in full here.

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