Does The New Normal — Renting — Require A New Affordable Housing Strategy?

Nottinghill Genesis buildings on the waterfront in Newham, London
Royal Albert Wharf photo by diamond geezer is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The Notting Hill Genesis Housing Association developed this project at the Royal Albert Wharf in Newham, London. Housing associations, which manage a significant share of UK social housing, have changed with the times, supporting their non-profit mission with a range of affordable and free market housing.

National governments on both sides of the Atlantic obsess about the home-ownership dream, even as households are shifting away from home ownership towards renting their housing, permanently. Part of this trend is involuntary, as growing numbers cannot afford to own and may never be able to do so. But a growing number of individuals and families who can afford to buy have dismissed the supposed advantages of ownership in favour of renting.

In the face of these trends, have many governments simply lost the plot? They pay lip service to housing but are reluctant to build it, preferring to partner with equally reluctant private builders whose meagre contributions depend on various forms of bribery.

A British renter who is also the head of a large non-profit housing association has another vision. It requires no private sector developer, but relies on the building industry for services. It needs the government for a bridge loan, then otherwise, not at all.

Read more about how non-profit developers such as housing associations could, with a government kick-start, could deliver 30,000 rental units per year. The units would be affordable to low income households. See in CityMetric: Here’s How We Get Pension Providers To Help Fix The Housing Crisis