Shifting sands

Originally published on January 4 on Inside Edge 2, my blog for Inside Housing

So a New Year brings a ‘radical new policy shift’ for housing. Seven years after the crash and four years after its failed ‘radical and unashamedly ambitious’ housing strategy, the government now thinks it has what’s needed to boost housebuilding.

Hailed by David Cameron as ‘a huge shift in government policy’, today’s announcement that the government will directly commission 13,000 homes certainly seems to be a welcome admission that the market cannot fix housing on its own, that state intervention is required on a significant scale and that the major housebuilders alone will not deliver.

But what took so long? This much has been clear since 2008, when the Global Financial Crisis and credit crunch triggered a housebuilding slump and the Conservatives were drawing up their housing and planning policies in opposition.

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