Fixing Our Broken Housing Market
By Oscar Watkins, Consultant

Here are 4 important highlights from the housing white paper and what the Government’s proposals will mean for the British public and decision makers.

Build to Rent

The white paper outlines an ambitious plan to speed up delivery, with a new focus on Build to Rent. Our 2016 research among MPs on behalf of the British Property Federation suggests that their strategy carries wide appeal.

91% of Conservative MPs say they support build to rent, compared to 71% of Labour MPs. Build to Rent enjoys relative popularity across the house. A majority of MPs (81%) voice their support for Build to Rent, while only one in seven (14%) say they oppose it.


The white paper suggests that the rental market could be the solution to delivering affordable homes. Our data suggests that the success of the rental alternative is a key issue for the British public- so much so that strongly interventionist policies such as rent caps see widespread support.

ComRes research on behalf of BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme in 2016 found that three quarters (74%) of British adults support the government setting maximum caps on private rent prices.


The white paper proposes development on less desirable marginal greenbelt land. Although there will be concerns among greenbelt communities, we find that businesses can see the benefits.

ComRes’ 2016 research for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry suggests that businesses are generally in favour of reclassifying poor quality Green Belt land, with 60% of London business decision makers supporting at least some form of reclassification of poor quality Green Belt land around London to enable new housing developments.

Empty Homes

The white paper does not outline any new powers for local authorities to tackle empty homes, but does celebrate existing good work across the country. Our research on behalf of Empty Homes suggests that tackling the problem of empty homes would be popular among the public. 83% of British adults believe the Government should place a higher priority on tackling empty homes.

From a list of five policies that Government could implement to tackle the blight of empty homes, the most popular, chosen by more than half (54%) of British adults, is Government funding for local authorities or charities to buy and repair long-term empty homes to rent or sell to people in housing need.