Housing matters a great deal. The present housing market has worked well for many of us (who have enjoyed the steeply rising values of our homes) which is why change, especially new building, is resisted. But for increasing numbers it w works less well as home ownership is out of reach, and for many years it has been commonly felt that there is a 'housing crisis' in Britain. Reforms are urgently needed to avoid a growing human cost. With so many conflicting views in evidence and a balance to be struck between growth and conservation, what housing market outcomes might be regarded as a success for policymakers? This short book attempts to give at least some answers, concluding with a list of criteria by which success might be judged along with a list of policy recommendations. Along the way a number of 'myths' are identified - either ideas about the UK housing market or possible solutions to the housing issue - that the author argues are mistaken. She argues that we need to be realistic, and t simplistic, about what mix of outcomes can be achieved.There are many national policy aims, including decent homes for all, protection of the green belt, better design of buildings and places, the avoidance of house price volatility, and intergenerational fairness. At the local level, planning provokes conflict and strong feelings. We also have an existing housing stock that is arguably, at least in part, wrongly located, and some of the housing we do have is of poor quality. For anyone with an interest in housing, this is an authoritative, accessible and constructive contribution to a debate that is likely to rumble on until the cows come home.
Kate Barker CBE has led two major policy reviews for government: one on housing supply and one on land use planning. She is currently Senior Adviser to Credit Suisse and a non-executive director of Electra Private Equity plc, Taylor Wimpey plc and the Yorkshire Building Society. Kate Barker was previously a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England from 2001 until May 2010. Before joining the Monetary Policy Committee she was Chief Economic Adviser at the Confederation of British Industry.