Book Review: The End of the Affair – Implications of declining home ownership

Home ownership levels have been falling in the UK, while the percentage of people who rent has been rising. In this report, Heywood explores what this dynamic means for government policies and the affordable housing sector.

Heywood provides a timeline of activities in the UK’s housing sector as far back as the 1910s with a backdrop of the government’s intervention at each phase. Traditionally, UK’s housing sector comprises  three major forms of home occupation: home ownership, private rental, and public rental housing.  With the decrease in public expenditure on housing, the growth of low income housing has been slower, reducing the home ownership and public housing levels. Presently the home ownership level in the UK is at 67.4% and it is expected to decline to 60% in 2025.

Heywood uses this historical analysis to pose challenges and solutions to two parties: the government and the affordable housing providers. His challenges and solutions cover various areas such as house prices, housing as an asset based welfare, the effect on house taxes etc.

Even though the book focuses on the UK, Heywood’s historical approach helps housing and housing finance stakeholders outside the UK to critically understand the pros and cons of various interventions by the government and private sector across all phases of the sector growth.

This report was written by Andrew Haywood of The Smith Institute, a UK based independent think tank, that focuses on promoting policies ‘for a fairer society’.

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