Thursday, 13 September 2012

Northern Ireland House Condition Survey

Key findings from the 2011 Northern Ireland House Condition Survey are now available.  The survey was the eleventh undertaken by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive since 1974.  The preliminary findings showed ongoing growth in the total housing stock, shifts in the tenure distribution, growth in the number and proportion of vacant properties, and changes in the fitness of properties in Northern Ireland.  For more information contact

Monday, 10 September 2012

News from the Centre for Housing Policy


  • CHP is hosting Feantsa’s  7th European Research Conference: Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe on 21 September.
  • Breaking up communities? The social impact of housing demolition in the late twentieth century:  A free study and information sharing day (with refreshments)  10am-4pm, November 2nd 2012, York. Booking is open to all. For further information or to book a place please contact

More details of these events can be found at CHP

New projects

Derwenthorpe: A three-year study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, evaluating a new build eco-scheme in York. The aim is to provide feedback to residents and to the Trust to support the development of an environmentally and socially sustainable community at Derwenthorpe, and to provide lessons for other areas and for policy.

EAGA CT Fuel Poverty and Disability: This project aims:  to consolidate existing knowledge and understanding in the field of disability and fuel poverty;  to conduct empirical work that will help to understand different dimensions of disability and fuel poverty in depth, and to consider and assess the impact of policy changes on disabled people. Ultimately, the project will make policy recommendations to alleviate any negative or unintended consequences of policy change.

Lloyds TSB Banking Group are funding this project to increase their understanding of the custom-build housing market. The research aims to set the contemporary context, identify the range of experience amongst custom builders (both individuals and groups), identify any obstacles commonly encountered and the responses of key players designed to ease such barriers, including the likely impact of the current Government/industry initiatives. 

Crisis: Skylight: A project on outcomes evaluation for Crisis PRS access schemes. Evaluation of Managing the Journey of Younger Members Programme based at Skylight Oxford. 

Crisis: Evaluation Tool for the Private Rented Sector: This project aims to develop a tool to demonstrate the outcomes, effectiveness and cost benefits of schemes that enable access to the private rented sector for homeless and potentially homeless single people.

Crisis: Reconnection schemes: CHP will contribute to a project led by Heriot Watt University, evaluating the effectiveness and ethicality of reconnections schemes in England.
Simon Communities: Policy Research on the Homeless Strategy: The research will look at access to long term accommodation and housing and explore the range of possible exits.

HABITACT: Habitact is a review of Homelessness Service and Homeless Strategy Evaluation Methodologies for Use in the EU : The review is being carried out with the aim of recommending an evaluative methodology for the robust assessment of homelessness services and homelessness strategies.

News from the Centre for Housing Research, University of St Andrews

ESRC Seminar Series Website Launched by the Centre for Housing Research
The Centre for Housing Research at the University of St Andrews has launched the website for its new seminar series: "The Big Society, Localism and Housing Policy".
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the events will explore the impact of the coalition government’s localist ‘Big Society’ agenda on housing policy across the UK. Localism aims to shift decision-making downwards and empower local people to solve their own problems. However, in an era of restrained public spending, questions can be raised as to whether this may widen existing housing inequalities. Dr Kim McKee, Principal Investigator on the project said:
“‘The ‘Big Society’ and ‘Localism’ have become buzz words in policy and politics since the formation of the coalition government in 2010, and their influence can already be seen in housing policy and practice in the UK. This varies however depending on how devolved administrations and local authorities use their powers and budgets. Devolving power downwards may therefore lead to greater divergence in housing policy than we have seen under devolution so far. Understanding the varied geographical impact of these ideas is a key aim of the seminars.”
Drawing on expertise from the Universities of St Andrews, Sheffield, Cardiff, and Queens University Belfast, these two-day interdisciplinary workshops will bring together perspectives from academia, policy and practice and will include speakers from beyond the UK:
  • Seminar 1: Localism and the Big Society: what do they mean for housing studies? (Sheffield, 7-8 March 2013)
  • Seminar 2: Localism, Welfare Reform and Tenure Restructuring in the UK (Belfast, 24-25 October 2013)
  • Seminar 3: The Big Society, Localism and the Future of Social Housing (St Andrews, 13-14 March 2014) 
Registration for Seminar 1 will open in autumn 2012. For more details, or to register your interest, please contact the project administrator Dr Tom Moore, or follow us on Twitter (@housingseminars). Updates will also be posted on our website:

Annual Conference of the Isles: Transitions and Transformations in Housing: Embracing Change and Promoting Innovative Housing Policy and Practice

The annual Conference of the Isles, organised by the University of Ulster, will take place on the 18th and 19th October 2012 at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast. This annual event brings together housing professionals from across the UK and Ireland. It is an event which has grown in scale in recent years, and will comprise a range of high profile speakers from across Ireland and the UK jurisdictions, including Ministers, senior policy makers and housing professionals. For further details go to Conference of the Isles

Institute for Housing, Urban and Real Estate Research (IHURER), Heriot-Watt University

Placed-based policies in deprived neighbourhoods
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission published rapid evidence review led by Dr Peter Matthews Gina Netto and Kirsten Besemer. The report – 'Hard to Reach' or 'Easy to Ignore' - analyses what impact place-based policies to tackle socio-economic deprivation might have on the equalities of groups protected under UK legislation.
The analysis brought together a wide range of literature along with new analysis of 2001 Scottish Census data and the Scottish Health Survey to enable us to better understand the intersection between the most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland and the spatial distribution of equalities groups in Scotland. One of the key findings is that place-based policies are often unintentionally blind to equalities issues, or protected equalities groups such as the disabled or lone parents, are treated as problematic.

Mark Stephens and Peter Williams Tackling Housing Market Volatility in the UK: a progress report” (Joseph Rowntree Foundation)
In May 2011 the JRF’s Housing Market Taskforce report outlined measures the Government should take to limit the extent and consequences of housing market volatility. This report provides a review on progress since then. It concludes that in some ways we are moving away from the goal, and that the Government continues to be too timid concerning actions that are needed to bring about greater housing market stability. The authors highlight some priorities.

Other housing market publications
C. Jones, M Coombes and C Wong (2012) “A System of National Tiered Housing Market Areas and Spatial Planning”, Environment and Planning B, 39, 518-532 (2012).
C. Jones,  M Coombes, N Dunse, D Watkins and C Wymer (2012) “Tiered Housing Markets and their Relationship to Labour Market Areas”, Urban Studies, 49, 12, 2633-2650 (2012).
Colin Jones, Michael White and Neil Dunse (eds) (2012) Challenges of the Housing Economy: An International Perspective, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.

Colin Jones gave a keynote lecture at the 2012 European Real Estate Society conference entitled “An International Perspective on the Housing Market Crisis: Causes and Consequences”
Mark Stephens presented a paper written with Marja Elsinga and Thomas Knor Seedow on housing privatization in England, the Netherlands and Germany at the Second International Symposium on “Public Housing Futures”, August 29-30, hosted by Fudan University, Shanghai
Chris Leishman and Mark Stephens participated in the New School Housing Conference in New York, 123-14 September. Chris presented a paper on “Aggregate Housing Supply: are the microeconomics of behaviour of housing developers important?.” Mark was a panel member for a debate on “Post-crisis prospects for affordable rental housing in a time of fiscal austerity"

Vacancy: Lecturer in Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield

A vacancy has arisen for a Lecturer in Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield which may be of interest to housing academics.  Information, including contacts details for informal inquiries is available from Lecturer in Town and Regional Planning

ONS 'Beyond 2011' User Consulation

HSA members may be interested to read about the ongoing work of the Office for National Statistics' 'Beyond 2011' initiative, which is seeking to assess the options for the collection and reporting of accurate and timely social, economic and demographic data in the future, including potentially reducing reliance on decennial population censuses and increasing the use of administrative data. The Beyond 2011 team have recently published a summary of their consultation responses and are planning a programme of publications and workshops from October.  More information can be found at ONS 'Beyond 2011'
The summary report has some specific information on housing matters and concludes that small-area data on 'traditional' topics like tenure, type and size continue to be of central importance to the work of a number of housing organisations, but that quality measures (such as homes without central heating) are becoming less so.

Localism Debated at Early Careers Housing and Planning Conference, University of Sheffield.

‘Localism’ defied the bravest attempts at definition from Early Careers and more seasoned academic researchers alike at the Housing Studies Association- supported Postgraduate Conference held at the University of Sheffield on 25 May. During the conference, organised by Richard Dunning and his colleagues in the Department of Town and Regional Planning at Sheffield University, presenters and delegates from across the UK provided a broad picture of the impact the Localism agenda upon a range of issues related to housing and planning.
Professor Ian Cole (Sheffield Hallam University) opened the conference with a discussion on the paradox of the Localist rhetoric and recent political events. He built an argument for the reintroduction of overtly place based policy thinking and a reconceptualisation of government intervention in failing (housing) markets and welfare reforms. A lively question and answer session followed and set the scene for the rest of the day in providing a supportive, but intellectually demanding and rigorous, critique of the presentations. 
Eight early careers presentations covered a range of perspectives, problems and philosophical questions. Dr Sarah Payne discussed the role of the volume house-builder, whilst Rachel Daneman (nee Bland) discussed the implications of Localism on the local authority planner. Eddy Hogg considered the role and engagement of elderly volunteers in the Big Society and Maxwell Ayamba problemitised the relationship of BME groups and Green Infrastructure in the planning system. Abbas Bafarasat delivered a compelling critique of the philosophy of localism and spatial planning and Ann Kolodziejski highlighted a number of questions paramount to mobilising local people in neighbourhoods where sense of place is ill defined and only loosely motivates households. Katherine Brookfield reported on her empirical work with local neighbourhood groups’ perceptions of the planning process and reflected on the impact of perceptions on housebuilding within a localist planning framework.  Matt Thompson’s overview of class divide in pepper-potted estates and Community Land Trusts completed the early careers presentations.
Professor Nick Johnson’s (Urban Splash, The University of Sheffield) provocative presentation raised contemporary issues for the planning and housebuilding professions, and the systematic obstructions engrained in both, which are preventing the development of local communities in new build and regeneration projects across the UK. Professor John Flint and Dr Ed Ferrari responded to the issues Nick had raised and developed the undercurrents of critical thinking running throughout the conference.
The excellent drinks reception provided a social atmosphere to continue developing a response to the issues raised by a Localist approach to planning and housebuilding, as well as fostering the early careers networks necessary for long term collaboration.
The Housing Studies Association was delighted to be able to support this event through sponsoring a number of bursaries and a closing drinks reception. The HSA would like to congratulate and thank the organisers and participants for a very successful conference. More details about the HSA’s sponsorship and endorsement of events and activities may be found by following the link on our website home page.

News from Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research

New publication - 
Measuring the affordability of housing association rents in England: a dual approach
A new journal article has been published by Dr Connie Tang in the latest issue of the International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis. The purpose of this article is to compare relative levels of rental affordability across the English housing association sector, using two methods, rent-to-income ratio and residual income standards (poverty-line and budget standard). The rent-to-income ratio analysis identified that housing association rents were generally affordable. However, the residual income analyses using two different minimum acceptable standards suggested some scepticism in this regard. In particular, both analyses confirmed the affordability problem in London where nearly half of existing housing association tenants had disposable household incomes that were well below the poverty-line as well as the largest rent-to-income ratio. Both analyses also confirmed that lone parents were more likely than average households to have an affordability problem.

The article is published in the International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, Vol. 5, Issue: 3, pp.218 - 234. You can access the article online by this link: Measuring the affordability of housing association rents in England: a duel approach

New projects

Welfare reform
CCHPR is working with Ipsos Mori on a major new study for the National Housing Foundation on the impact of welfare reform. The work, which will report in 2014 aims to focus particularly on the impact of welfare reform for the housing association sector and its tenants. It will monitor the impact of reforms as they come into operation next year, including the cuts to housing benefit for under-occupiers of working age, and the changes to the method of payment brought in under Universal Credit.

Maximising the performance of the new Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy Planning Framework with Local Authorities: Developing a Planning Gain Model
The Centre is currently developing a simple model to estimate the impact of charging different CIL and S106 rates on the economic viability of development. The model has huge potential to assist local authorities in modelling the impact of different CIL and S106 rates on the economic viability of development across their area. We propose a project to further develop the model for local authority use. We will work with a sample of local authorities to test and refine the model with a view to eventually making it publicly available for use by local authorities to assist in developing their new CIL and S106 charging frameworks. This will transfer our academic knowledge and expertise into a tool that can be used by local authorities in policy and practice.
Evaluation of lighting interventions
CCHPR is currently starting three separate small evaluations of lighting interventions in housing settings for the Thomas Pocklington Trust. The impact on health wellbeing and reduction in falls will be examined.

Analysis of the PRS in Richmond and surrounding areas
Richmond Council, together with Richmond Housing Partnership, are currently jointly commissioning research in order form the evidence base of their tenancy strategy. This work will help supplement this evidence base by improving understanding of the private rented sector in and nearby to Richmond with a particular focus on the availability of housing for low income groups.

Developing best practice in social care and support for adults with concurrent sight loss and dementia within different housing settings
This project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research seeks to develop best practice in social care and support for people with dementia and sight loss in a range of housing settings. The research is led by York University and CCHPR will lead the element of the study that looks at the costs of care in different settings.

Channel Islands housing markets
An overview of housing markets and their economic context in the Channel Islands, based upon secondary data, has been commissioned by One Savings Bank.

Conference papers
Dr Gemma Burgess, Sarah Monk and Christine Whitehead all presented papers at the European Network for Housing Researchers conference in June. Their presentations were:

The role of regulation in the private rented sector: a comparative study (by Christine Whitehead, Sarah Monk, Sanna Markkanen, Kathleen Scanlon and Connie Tang) conducted case studies of eleven European countries to clarify how regulation had changed over the last thirty years and what impact this has had on the scale of private rental provision.

The role of the planning system in delivering housing choice to older Londoners (Sarah Monk and Gemma Burgess) draws on recent research into the role of the planning system in delivering specialist older people’s housing to explore the barriers to increased delivery and make recommendations for change.

Housing an Ageing Population: Housing Options and the Value of Information and Advice to Older People in England (Gemma Burgess) drew on ongoing work evaluating advice services for older people in England.