Popular solutions to housing crisis

Building more co-living developments and micro-homes in urban areas top the list of people’s preferred solutions to the housing crisis according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), while building on the greenbelt is the least favoured solution.

The FMB asked 2,000 homeowners across the UK if there is a housing shortage and, if so, how best to address this shortage.

Two-thirds (66%) of respondents believe that there is a shortage of housing in the UK.

When asked for views on the most appropriate solutions to the housing shortage, the most commonly cited were:

Build more co-living developments (33%)

Build more micro-homes in urban areas (31%)

Build more granny flats (31%)

Extend permitted development rights (27%)

Encourage more multi-generational living (24%)

Excavate or convert more basements underneath existing properties (18%)

Build on the greenbelt (17%)

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Even the vast majority of those who are lucky enough to own their own home recognise that there’s a housing shortage. When asked about solutions to this problem, the most popular remedy was to construct more co-living developments, which are becoming more and more popular in major cities right across the globe.

“Building more micro-homes in urban areas was the second most commonly cited solution to the UK housing crisis.

“Both of these approaches would increase density in urban areas where demand is particularly high. The creation of more granny flats was the third most popular solution, which would see more elderly people moving out of their properties and living alongside children or grandchildren in self-contained home extensions. This would free up much-needed family homes, which are being under-used by older people living on their own.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, homeowners, who are clearly already on the property ladder, see building on the greenbelt as the least desirable option.”

Brian said small, local building firms faced many barriers to the housebuilding market.

“Recent research from the Federation of Master Builders shows that the lack of small sites and difficulties hiring skilled tradespeople are limiting the amount of homes these firms can build,” he said.

“Removing barriers to SME house builders matters, as in the late 1980s two-thirds of all new homes were built by small local house builders and this was a time when house building was in step with demand.

“Currently SME house builders build less than one quarter of all new homes and as this proportion has declined, so too has the capacity of our industry to deliver the homes we need.”