Article

The Right to Buy: Analysis & Evaluation of a Housing Policy

Article

The Right to Buy: Analysis & Evaluation of a Housing Policy

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Abstract

An evaluation of the most enduring privatisation of the Thatcher era... Written in an accessible style, this is a key reference for students and researchers in housing and planning; geography; and social policy. The book analyses the operation and impact of the right to buy policy (RTB). It includes a critique of the Housing Act and the 2001 Housing (Scotland) Act. The enactment of these changes under a Labour government affirms the continuance of the RTB. The authors take stock of its profound effect on housing policy, reversing the growth in social housing developed over the twentieth century, transforming the nation's tenure structure and revolutionising the UK housing system. The Right to Buy: analysis and evaluation of a housing policy begins with an examination of the policy background to the establishment of the RTB and the main features of the legislation. This is followed by chapters that review its take-up and the pattern of sales and their impact on social housing; a chapter examining the financial aspects of the RTB from the viewpoints of tenants, local authorities and central government; one looking at the impact of the RTB via subsequent re-sales on the open market and on the private rented sector; and a chapter drawing on the information already reviewed to consider the potential of the RTB to create sustainable and diverse communities. In the final chapters the international experience of parallel policies are considered and the future take-up of the RTB is assessed in the light of recent reforms together with alternatives.

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... By the mid-20 0 0s, around 2.8 million council houses had been sold in the UK, mostly under RTB. These sales comprised around half the total stock that had existing at the start of the policy ( Jones and Murie, 2006 ). Who were the gainers and losers from the policy? ...
... On the one hand, the Labour government that came to power in 1997 decided to tighten up the rules for selling council houses. A series of measures between 1998 and 2004 tightened eligibility conditions, limited access to publiclyprovided mortgages, extended and restricted conditions on resale and capped discounts in areas of greatest council housing shortages such as London (for details, see Jones and Murie, 2006;House of Commons, 2012 ). For example, in 2003, the maximum absolute discount on a council property for RTB in all but two London boroughs was reduced to £16,0 0 0. Since London is the area of the highest house prices and rents, this reduced the RTB incentive to a fraction of that available during the 1980s. ...
... number of bedrooms) in the sense of floor space per person, amenities, etc. ( Forrest and Murie, 1990 ). This is also reflected in the price of council housing sold under the RTB policy where a discount of 20% on resold RTB dwellings relative to similar privately-constructed housing types is typical ( Jones and Murie, 1999;2006 ). 4 Hence, we assume that the possible range of public housing quality is between zero and one, with the quality of any type of public housing at best equal to the equivalent privately-owned house which is normalized to one and at worse of some positive quality close to zero. ...
Article
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We investigate the impact on social welfare of the United Kingdom (UK) policy introduced in 1980 by which public housing tenants (council housing in UK parlance) had the right to purchase their houses at heavily discounted prices. This was known as the Right to Buy (RTB) policy. Although this internationally-unique policy was the largest source of public privatization revenue in the UK and raised home ownership as a share of housing tenure by around 15%, the policy has been little analyzed by economists. We investigate the equilibrium housing policy of the public authority in terms of quality and quantity of publicly-provided housing both in the absence and presence of a RTB policy. We find that RTB can improve the aggregate welfare of low-income households only if the council housing quality is sufficiently low such that middle-wealth households have no incentive to exercise RTB. We also explore the welfare effects of various adjustments to the policy, in particular (i) reduce discounts on RTB sales; (ii) loosen restrictions on resale; (iii) return the proceeds from RTB sales to local authorities to construct new public properties; and (iv) replace RTB with rent subsidies in cash.
... 8 Although the Left favored council housing and the Right favored private ownership, their goals became irreconcilable only during the 1970s. The expansion of owner occupation could no longer be achieved by new construction and transfers from the much-diminished private rental sector (Jones and Murie 2006). Homeownership, now for the first time since the Second World War in direct conflict with council housing, thus became central to the rise of the New Right in Great Britain. ...
... By the time of this circular, British public housing was already being affected by the most important of the privatization initiatives introduced by the Thatcher government, namely, the right-to-buy scheme (Jones and Murie 2006). The New Right had come to power in part by casting private homeownership as an inalienable right, denied for too long by Labour's "socialist" housing policies. ...
... 8 Although the Left favored council housing and the Right favored private ownership, their goals became irreconcilable only during the 1970s. The expansion of owner occupation could no longer be achieved by new construction and transfers from the much-diminished private rental sector (Jones and Murie 2006). Homeownership, now for the first time since the Second World War in direct conflict with council housing, thus became central to the rise of the New Right in Great Britain. ...
... By the time of this circular, British public housing was already being affected by the most important of the privatization initiatives introduced by the Thatcher government, namely, the right-to-buy scheme (Jones and Murie 2006). The New Right had come to power in part by casting private homeownership as an inalienable right, denied for too long by Labour's "socialist" housing policies. ...
Article
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This article examines theories of human territoriality and their historical role in the demise of public housing in Western Europe and North America between the 1960s and the 1980s. The neglect and privatization of the public housing stock and the withdrawal of the state in direct provision in this period are often subsumed under the category of neoliberalism. This article unpacks this narrative by focusing on the intersection between architecture and social science. It argues that the neoliberalization of housing not only constitutes a transformation of housing economics, from public to private funding, or design, from highrise blocks in large estates to semidetached or detached individual dwellings; it also constitutes an epistemological turn, which revolves around the shift from “habitat” to “human territoriality.”
... Also, high-rise living is seen by many households with children as less safe (Costello 2005). Indeed, many of the high-rise council housing, which were constructed in the 1960s in the UK, have been socially unpopular, and are treated as market residue (Turkington et al. 2004;Jones and Murie 2006). Moreover, rescue operations during emergencies are also difficult in tall buildings (Liu et al. 2012). ...
... The social unpopularity of high-rise developments in the metropolis is comparable to similar attitudes in the UK, for instance, see (Ipsos MORI 2016;Turkington et al. 2004;Jones and Murie 2006;Bramley et al. 2004). Moreover, as with the findings of Short (2007) and Tavernor (2007), which pointed to a conflict between high-rise buildings and cultural heritage in the UK, significant proportion of residents in Kumasi metropolis view high-rise living as an impediment their ability to prepare their traditional food. ...
Article
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Over the years, many city managers, policy makers and academics alike have turned to high-rise buildings as pathway to sustainable urban development. However, the sustainability of such types of development in various geographical contexts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, is a subject less explored. Amidst the promotion of high-rise development in a rapidly urbanizing metropolis in Ghana, Kumasi, the research empirically examined the social acceptability of high-rise residential facilities and the institutional capacity for their effective management. By conducting face-to-face interviews with sampled households, and critical public service providers in the metropolis, the study uncovered that, contrary to the evidence from many Asian cities, there is generally low social acceptability of high-rise developments, and a weak institutional capacity for effective service delivery. The research concludes that, whilst it is tempting to embrace high-rise buildings as sustainable development pathway, it is crucial they are pursued with much circumspection. In addition to their design being tailored to the local needs of the people for whom they are built, the promotion of high-rise development should recognize the importance of effective service delivery, and general social acceptability.
... However, data suggests that the plight of housing associations went the other way, with numbers and market share both rising initially due to the increased capital gains provided to new houses and subsequently through stock transfers from local authorities (Murie 2016). The rise in home ownership rates amongst those households of lower socio-economic status, to which RTB had made a major contribution, prompted Jones and Murie (2006) to argue that RTB had 'transformed the housing market' (p119). Saunders (1990) took a similar view, stating that RTB was 'one of the most dramatic redistributive measures ever taken by a British government' (p183), but also recognised that those council tenants who chose or were unable to afford to buy their home had become relatively poorer. ...
... He blames failures by governments prior to 1997 to prioritise this represented a lost opportunity during an era of major housing, demographic, social and economic change, and contributed to housing crises in years to come. Whereas Jones and Murie (2006) accept that RTB was a progressively redistributive policy, they also challenge the fact that loss of council housing stock had regressive consequences on the availability of housing. ...
Thesis
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Abstract The Right to Buy (RTB) policy introduced by the Thatcher-led Conservative government in 1980 compelled local authorities in selling their housing stock to sitting tenants at heavily discounted prices. This paper considers the policy’s lasting social legacy in the UK in the forty years since its enactment. In ascertaining this, the views of academics, politicians and experts in the field are garnered, from the ideological to pragmatic elements that bought about this policy, to how it was received by the population and to what effects it had on communities. Having analysed the literature it is clear is that, on a macro and meso level, RTB contributed in part to the residualisation of an ever-decreasing council housing stock, increases in homelessness, increased crime and anti-social behaviour and the re-emergence of the private rented sector and with it a ballooning of Housing Benefit expenditure. On an individual micro level, RTB may have exposed some owner-occupiers to unaffordable household repairs, mortgage arrears and debt, problems with leasehold properties. Another major concern is homeowners having to sell their property to pay for health and social care, if their total assets are deemed to be more than £23,250. A case study is offered to illustrate what one local authority has done to ameliorate reduction of its housing stock on its largest estate.
... From the four low performing school areas identified above, the majority of non-white cases are located in these most affordable areas, while in white dominated eastern Erdington and eastern Yardley, the low-skilled population tends to live in social housing estates, thus making use of lower-cost housing in areas with mid-range prices in the private market. Historically, affordable housing in the UK was delivered by the state through social rented housing (Jones and Murie, 2008). In 2011, Birmingham had the largest stock of social housing of all local authorities in England, with 99,592 dwellings either rented from the Council and a smaller but growing number from housing associations (ONS) ( Figure 5). ...
... This is largely a reflection of a national Right to Buy scheme introduced in England by the Housing Act 1980, allowing residents in social housing to purchase state-owned properties at subsidised prices. Heralded as the most significant act of privatization of any recent UK government, this radical policy fundamentally changed the structure and operation of the UK's housing system via the mass transfer of social rented housing into the private market (Jones and Murie, 2008). The resulting diminution of social housing has had particularly negative consequences for a growing proportion of residents in low-skilled, low-income occupations (Figure 3), with the percentage of economically active residents in unskilled/routine jobs increasing from 5.3% to 10.8% between 1991 and 2011 (ONS). ...
Conference Paper
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In The Just City, Fainstein (2010) proposes principles for directing and evaluating urban planning with regard to the ‘just city’. Equity and a fair distribution of costs and benefits from public policy are central to her concept of social justice, while expanding it with considerations on diversity and democracy. The just city, in her view, may comprise of relatively homogeneous neighbourhoods, as long as their boundaries remain porous and further segregation and large-scale displacement are contained. Although Fainstein mentions the problem of involuntary concentrations of disadvantaged population groups and unequal spatial access to opportunities, her planning principles seem to be more concerned about securing social benefits from given projects and general policies, rather than devising pro-active spatial strategies directed towards equal access to opportunities on a citywide scale. In this paper, we propose an alternative, spatialized approach to the just city and just planning policies. Following Soja (2010), we assert that space and spatial processes have a central role in producing and reproducing social injustices in terms of access to opportunities. Accordingly, we consider trends of ‘ghettoization’ as a major source of social injustice, where we understand ghettos as areas with high concentrations of disadvantaged people, potentially leading to social marginalization, overburdened schools and a general lack of life chances. ‘Gentrification’ marks another source of injustice, where previously neglected areas become areas of privilege, depriving displaced residents and others from newly created opportunities. Based on the cases of Birmingham and Zurich, cities with contrasting planning traditions, we offer a discussion of housing and urban renewal policies against the background of city-specific patterns of ghettoization and gentrification. Focusing on the 1990s onwards, we find that the continued marketization of housing and urban renewal efforts in Birmingham have done little to counteract ghettoization, while the public reliance on housing associations and neighbourhood upgrading in Zurich have allowed for exclusionary practices and displacement. For both cities, however, the framework can serve for devising spatially just planning policies. Social justice in cities, we believe, is aided by a spatial understanding of social injustice and corresponding, spatially informed, citywide planning strategies.
... The second was more pragmatic: right-to-buy was hugely popular amongst working-class voters. While sales of council homes fluctuated during Thatcher's time in office, tens of thousands took advantage of the scheme every year (Jones & Murie, 2008). This was aided by the way in which the scheme was presented: the 'right-to-buy' was thought to imply ownership, and hence a sense of long-term security over the life-course. ...
... This means fewer affordable properties now exist in the communities where right-tobuy was most vigorously pursued (Jones & Murie, 2008;Kleinhans & van Ham, 2013). However, the (subsidised) transfer of property from the council to the private sector shows much geographical variation. ...
Article
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Since the 1990s, the renewal of council housing estates in London has involved widespread ‘decanting’ of resident populations to allow for demolition and redevelopment, primarily by private developers who sell the majority of new housing at market rate. This process of decanting has displaced long-term council tenants and shorter-term ‘temporary’ tenants, with many not able to return to the estate. In contrast, those leaseholders who bought under the ‘right-to-buy’ legislation introduced in the 1980s have a ‘right to remain’ by virtue of the property rights they have. Nonetheless, given the threat that their property will ultimately be subject to compulsory purchase because the redevelopment of the estate is in the ‘public interest’, these leaseholders experience similar displacement pressures to other residents. Describing these pressures, this article argues that the right-to-buy legislation offered these residents the illusion of entering a property-owning middle-class, but that they were never able to escape the labelling of council estates as stigmatised spaces which have ultimately been seized by the state and capital in a moment of ‘accumulation by dispossession’.
... By contrast, in most countries, including China in the twentieth century, states have withdrawn their involvements in housing provision and even decided to sell the existing public housing at large discounts, as illustrated by the 'right to buy' policy in the UK. They have gradually authorized private sectors to provide affordable housing and capital subsidies (Gilbert, 2004;Jones & Murie, 2008). Generally, we now see a very low proportion of public housing across the world, and although developing countries generally lack rental housing, many governments consider the market to be more effective in providing housing assistance (Musterd, 2014;Ronald & Doling, 2014). ...
... Long-term sitting tenants were offered a range of steep discounts on the purchase price of council-owned properties, as an incentive to switch housing tenures from being social renters to becoming private owner-occupiers (Balchin & Rhoden, 2002, p. 188). Therefore, the RTB can be considered 'an end to itself ' , implemented to increase access to private owner-occupied housing at the expense of social housing (Jones & Murie, 2006, p. 33). ...
Article
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The financialization of the British economy has occurred in part due to the deregulation of the financial sector by the Thatcher government, which was necessary to support their drive to widen access to private housing. However, explaining how the macroeconomic effects of increased homeownership and mortgage credit under the Thatcher government can be more concretely linked to the micro-foundations of the economy and subject formation remains an under-explored research area. This paper contributes to such research through the use of Foucault’s theory of morality to explain how the Thatcher government promoted an ethics-oriented morality that transformed private homeownership into a dominant social norm and established a mortgage-led accumulation regime in Britain. Additionally, the widespread acceptance of private homeownership subjected the British public to the disciplinary rules-oriented morality of mortgage finance, which integrated a previously fractured social base into a functioning social formation under British neoliberalism.
... As Mitchell et al. (2000 note, the suitability of census variables as indicators of deprivation is period specific. Prior to a policy in the UK called the 'Right to Buy initiative' introduced in 1980, social tenancy was widespread and not necessarily associated with deprivation (Jones & Murie, 2006). Hence, whilst male unemployment, households without a car and overcrowded households were used in all census years from 1971 to 2011, households which were socially rented was only used from 1991 to 2011. ...
Article
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Measuring change in the spatial arrangement of deprivation over time, and making international, inter-city comparisons, is technically challenging. Meeting these challenges offers a means of furthering understanding and providing new insights into the geography of urban poverty and deprivation. In this paper, we introduce a novel approach to mapping and analysing spatio-temporal patterns of household deprivation, assessing the distribution at the landscape level. The approach we develop has advantages over existing techniques because it is applicable in situations where i) conventional approaches based on choropleth mapping are not feasible due to boundary change and/or ii) where spatial relationships at a landscape level are of interest. Through the application of surface mapping techniques to disaggregate census count data, and by applying spatial metrics commonly used in ecology, we were able to compare the development of the spatial arrangement of deprivation between 1971 and 2011 in three UK cities of particular interest: Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool. Applying three spatial metrics – spatial extent, patch density, and mean patch size – revealed that over the 40 year period household deprivation has been more spatially dispersed in Glasgow. This novel approach has enabled an analysis of deprivation distributions over time which is less affected by boundary change and which accurately assesses and quantifies the spatial relationships between those living with differing levels of deprivation. It thereby offers a new approach for researchers working in this area.
... But with the election of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government in 1979, the UK's housing sector began to be dramatically transformed as privatization, deregulation and speculation became central pillars of government policy. Championing the creation of a 'property-owning democracy' as part of a drive to promote individualism and win over traditional Labour voters (Murie & Jones 2006), Thatcher's government instituted the rightto-buy (RTB) policy in 1980, giving council tenants the right to buy their homes at a discounted price while failing to replace these with equivalent properties (Hodkinson et al. 2013). Between 1999 and 2010, London lost around 85,000 council houses to RTB (DCLG 2015). ...
Article
One of the hallmarks of the austerity agenda in the UK has been the discursive prevalence of both scarcity and individual responsibility as justifications for drastic cuts to public services. In the context of London's housing crisis, cuts to welfare for low-income tenants have resulted in an alarming rise in evictions and homelessness within a wider context of displacement and gentrification in the city. This article explores how embryonic resistance to these processes, as well as to deeper histories of dispossession, is undertaken by housing activists through a set of ethical practices that promote collectivized care and mutual support among those faced with housing precarity. Although these emergent networks are fragile, it argues that a nascent housing movement in London offers some compelling glimpses of a more hopeful politics that may lie just beneath the surface of the present moment.
... Furthermore, from the late 1970s to early 1980s, public housing allocation increasingly became targeted at those with high and complex needs. This was partially achieved by selling stock to homebuyers from the 1950s onwards (similar to the UK's right-to-buy policies; Jones & Murie, 2008). Social housing as a proportion of total housing stock decreased from its peak of 7.1% in 1991 to 4.7% in 2016 (AIHW, 2017;Groenhart & Burke, 2014), reflecting the preference for homeownership in Australia's post-war social settlement and the retreat of the state from direct housing provision. ...
Article
Social mixing has been part of government policies regarding estate renewals in many countries. It is mostly achieved through tenure diversification, such as introducing privately owned and rented dwellings. Concurrently, in many residualized social housing sectors, larger shares of tenants now have high and complex needs, including recently settled refugees. Therefore, social and spatial manifestations of multiculture have become more complex. Consequently, a non-tenure-related form of social mixing, primarily one of cultural difference, occurs. This article considers the unintended effects of wider policies around resettlement of refugees in the context of estate renewal. Considering Wacquant et al.’s (2014 Wacquant, L., Slater, T. & Borges Pereira, V. (2014) Territorial stigmatization in action, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 46, pp. 1270–1280.[Crossref], [Web of Science ®] , [Google Scholar], Territorial stigmatization in action, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 46, pp. 1270–1280) discussions of dissimulation and microdifferences, it reflects on the experiences of residents living on estates that are currently undergoing renewal in suburban Adelaide, South Australia, and reports on tensions that sometimes emerge between long-established and more recently settled residents as well as efforts (by managing authorities, support services and the residents) to foster cross-cultural engagement and cultural sensitivity on these estates.
... For a useful classification of the financialization literature, see Van der Zwan (2014). 2. The main aspects are mortgage securitization (Aalbers, 2008;Fernandez & Aalbers, 2017a;Gotham, 2009;Wainwright, 2009;Walks & Clifford, 2015); the role of the state in restructuring housing finance and mortgage markets (Aalbers, Engelen, & Glasmacher, 2011;Hofman & Aalbers, 2019;Wainwright, 2009;Walks & Clifford, 2015); the role of housing as collateral for debt ; social/subsidized housing and/or (privatized) rental housing (Aalbers, Van Loon, & Fernandez, 2017;Bernt, Colini, & Förste, 2017;Chua, 2015;Fields, 2015;Fields & Uffer, 2016;Forrest & Hirayama, 2015;Jones & Murie, 2006;Soederberg, 2018;Wijburg & Aalbers, 2017a;Wijburg, Aalbers, & Heeg, 2018); housing as a weak link of the financialized system, leading to fragilities in the financial system (Fernandez & Aalbers, 2017b); transnational wealth elites purchasing superprime residential real estate (Fernandez, Hofman, & Aalbers, 2016); a transition in the housing industry from pure speculation to long-term investment ( Wijburg et al., 2018); the response of domestic financial actors to the internationalization of commercial real estate markets (Wijburg & Aalbers, 2017b); the role of (urban) redevelopment projects (Guironnet, Attuyer, & Halbert, 2016;Rutland, 2010;Savini & Aalbers, 2016;Theurillat & Crevoisier, 2013); land financialization (Kaika & Ruggiero, 2016;Savini & Aalbers, 2016); and pension funds (Theurillat, Corpataux, & Crevoisier, 2010). 3. See Aalbers (2019) for a selection of studies on housing financialization in the developing countries and for a discussion on the housing financialization processes in the Global North and Global South. ...
Article
Financialization influenced the Turkish economy and housing industry mostly through financial liberalization moves and soaring capital inflows. It both increased household liabilities and mortgage loans dramatically and offered various facilities for the housing industry. Relevant legal regulations not only helped the Turkish housing industry prosper but also eased its integration into the national and global financial system. In addition, political implications constituted a strong motivation for governments to attach special importance to the housing industry. I examine housing financialization as an integral part of the accumulation model of the Turkish economy and argue that the housing industry lies at the very heart of the contradictions of this model. The large-scale capital inflows both intensified the dependency on foreign resources and increased the role of the domestic demand. This is the main contradiction of the accumulation model; it manifests itself in the interest rate dilemma and is also critical for housing financialization in Turkey because the characteristics of this model are especially valid for the housing industry. Moreover, not only do the contradictions of the accumulation model disrupt the housing industry, but also the characteristics of the housing industry contribute to the disruption of this model.
... Council housing gave millions of working-class Britons secure and affordable homes but was consistently demonised by the political right, who accused it of stifling 'aspiration' and fostering a culture of dependency on the state (Power 1999;Hanley 2007). After the Conservative Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979, her government instituted the Right-to-Buy (RTB) policy in 1980, giving council tenants the right to buy their homes at discounted prices but failing to replace these with equivalent social housing properties (Harvey 2005;Murie & Jones 2006;Leyshon & French 2009;Hodkinson et al. 2013). ...
Article
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This article uses the lens of moral economies to examine the everyday experience of eviction, precarious housing and grassroots activism in contemporary London. Situated within a context of ongoing austerity measures, it explores how divergent, conflicting and overlapping moral economies of housing emerge both within the state and at its margins, as local authorities struggle to reconcile contradictory obligations to both uphold property relations and offer a duty of care to tenants. The article shows how being precariously housed is experienced as a series of disorientating advice and support encounters in which the right to state assistance is contested by low-income tenants, state housing officers and community activists. It contends that these encounters are surface-level expressions of a deeper underlying struggle over the political and moral status of housing, in which the unresolved tension between housing as a home and housing as a commodity shapes contested visions of economic justice.
... In England, the first shift was realised through incremental privatisation of the consumption of housing, particularly through the sale of public housing to sitting tenants, beginning in the 1950s and accelerating during the 1980s (Gallent and Tewdwr-Jones, 2007;Jones and Murie, 2002). The increased proportion of housing available to the market began to normalise its function as a fungible asset. ...
Article
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This paper provides a critical perspective on England's housing crisis, characterised here as a concentration of wealth in residential property which is driving up prices and reducing access to the homes that people need. Housing has become a wealth machine and government has arguably lost sight of its social function. It is important that planning draws a functional distinction between housing as an asset and housing as a social good. The paper ends by considering how a decoupling of housing's 'home' and 'asset' functions might be achieved through land-use policy.
... The discounts start at 33% (for those who have lived in the accommodation for at least three years), increasing by 1% for each additional year, up to a maximum of 50%. By 2014, around 1.8 million properties had been sold under the 'Right to Buy' scheme (Jones and Murie, 2008). ...
Conference Paper
This research contributes to advancing our knowledge on the topical issue of the proliferating use of digital platforms, specifically the home-sharing platform, Airbnb. The aim is to answer the research question of how to measure possible impacts stemming from the adaptation of Airbnb as a form of digital platform economy. A set of various spatial analysis methods and a predictive model were constructed utilising novel datasets such as Airbnb accommodation data and Zoopla rental price data, as well as open government datasets such as dwelling types, housing tenure, and points of interest. This gave rise to a set of methods and results that are four-fold. On the one hand, the spatial distribution and temporal trends, is analysed using the space time cube. These findings show that for London and San Francisco, Airbnb tend to be centrally located, favouring residential areas. In addition, this method also shows the seasonality of the use of the platform. Secondly, using Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) and the multi-scale form of GWR, it is possible to look at the local scale and the influencing factors for Airbnb locations, and the thesis shows that these are related to functional elements such as hotels, food and beverages availability, and access to public transport links. Thirdly, how Airbnb may be disrupting the housing system by exacerbating the already problematic condition posed by the housing crisis in London is explored. To do this, the focus is shifted onto Airbnb misuse, defined from entire property listings that do not conform with the local regulation, and we look at the relation between those listings and residential areas that are experiencing rapid rental price changes. These changes are measured by extracting the difference in rents for certain years based on the Zoopla longitudinal data. The results conclude that indeed, there is a linear relationship between them, indicating that Airbnb might be putting pressure on housing provision. Lastly, a gravity model is constructed to forecast possible future locations for Airbnb. These are determined in terms of proximity to touristic locations, the historical Airbnb supply, and rental prices. The estimated Airbnb rental distribution based on the model follows a similar distribution to the actual rent derived from Zoopla rental price data. This last outcome suggests that prime Airbnb locations are often located in highly-priced residential neighbourhoods. These often are prime areas for residential location, that now have competing interests with Airbnb conversion. Overall, this thesis provides an analytical perspective that can prompt a conversation on best practices which mitigate the adverse impact of over-saturated short-term rental adaptation in urban settings. Keywords: Platform economy, Airbnb, Zoopla, tourism, housing, gravity model.
... Europe, Australasia and the USA were characterized by a receding involvement in public housing and a general instability within different housing systems in the 1980s, and this trend has continued through the 1990s and into the new century [Forrest & Lee, 2003;Gruis et al., 2009]. As part of these changing policies, a significant portion of public housing stock was sold to tenants [Jones & Murie, 2006]. Public housing privatization has significantly affected the tenure structure and created a new class of homeowners in Western, Central and Eastern European countries. ...
Article
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Council (public) housing privatization, as the basic instrument for transforming housing systems, has significantly affected the tenure structure and created millions of new owners across Europe. In Poland, the concept of the dispersed privatization was adopted and implemented in the long term primarily through preferential sales of council dwellings from the municipal housing stock to sitting tenants. The aim of the study was to analyze the effects of the dispersed privatization of municipal dwellings in the spatial and ownership structure of the municipal housing stock of the city of Olsztyn in Poland. The results showed that poorly controlled processes of the dispersed privatization of municipal housing caused unfavorable structural effects in the surveyed housing stock. The stock has shrunk significantly, losing buildings in better locations and conditions and the undesired fragmentation of municipal ownership and its mixing with private ownership has increased. The results and proposals are important to other cities and countries facing the challenge of slow privatization of public housing.
... Housing is a key political, social and economic issue in the UK, where all governments promote the ideal of home ownership, and where the ability to purchase a property (usually leveraged via a mortgage) is a common and increasingly distant aspiration for most people in the country. The continued electoral success of Margaret Thatcher's governments in the 1980s were premised on selling local authority owned social housing to their tenants and thus creating a new class and generation of homeowners and social and economic climbers (Jones and Murie 2008). This new generation of homeowners then used the equity they were essentially gifted by the housing boom to spur a consumer driven economic boom from 1998 to 2007. ...
Article
The British Military Covenant can be located in and from many sources and from 2011 onwards in primary legislation. This article argues that the provision of military housing amounts to an early test of how the military covenant is understood and used by those involved in defence policy, and those in the armed forces affected by it. It finds that housing was a prominent feature of how service personnel understood how they were valued, but was not explicitly understood as a covenant issue by those personnel or the officials in charge of the Defence Estates. We locate three reasons for this: (1) the covenant has been poorly translated from aspiration into policy practice, (2) the covenant is unevenly understood across its stakeholders which has the effect of generating disappointment through misaligned expectations, (3) those engaged in the reform process surrounding the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) saw the covenant as a means to energise reform. Ultimately housing was seen as a dry and technocratic business area and thus an issue ripe for being refracted through the covenant was ultimately left outside of its remit.
... More than half of civil servants were transferred to new semiautonomous executive agencies (Butcher, 1995;Carter & Greer, 1993). Two million local authority homes were sold to tenants (Jones & Murie, 2008). Local government and health services were required by law to expose services to compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) (Walsh, 1995;Walsh et al., 1997). ...
Article
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This paper analyses a UK polity that is characterised by fragmentation, differentiation and decentred governance which is evident at multiple layers of public policy and administration. The development of devolved governments as well as ongoing debates around regional and local governance have created increasingly fragmented places. The intensification of policies associated with the New Public Management have fragmented the provision of public services. And the absence of a common approach to professional development has led to growing fragmentation of public service workers from different professions and sectors. We argue that these trends reflect many of the aspects of an advanced or late-stage New Public Governance. This is ripe territory for further research and demonstrates that UK public administration continues to have much to offer to international scholars. It also raises important questions about what forms of public administration might emerge next. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... In the UK, this included the transfer of public housing through the Right-to-Buy (RTB) scheme which particularly benefitted certain older cohorts (Forrest and Hirayama 2009;Jones and Murie 2008;Forrest and Murie 1994). RTB resulted in nearly 3 million homes being sold to tenants at mostly below-market rates with up to 38% having incomes below the national average (Jones 2003;Searle and Köppe 2014). ...
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There is much evidence of rising inequalities across advanced economies. This paper argues for the special position of housing equity in inequality dynamics while challenging a persistent “ideology of mass homeownership” as a widespread and equalizing mechanism of asset accumulation. Contemporary dynamics of diminished homeownership access contrast to the continued attractiveness of real estate among those with capital and recent growths in private landlordism. The research presents an explorative examination of the housing wealth dimension of inequality through the British case and assesses empirically the dimensions of: equity concentration, inter and intra-generational divergences, and the role of private landlordism. The research points to the starkly concentrated nature of housing equity and significant trends towards increasing disparities, with especially disadvantaged prospects among younger cohorts. The recent emergence of a substantial secondary rental-property market presents a further key dimension of wealth concentration. The research underscores the fundamental inequality of housing equity and brings into question rooted ideologies of housing-asset-based economic security in an era of individualized welfare responsibility.
... These wider changes may affect large housing estates in two ways. As has been the case in the UK (Jones & Murie, 2006;Malpass, 2005), the sale of the most attractive parts of the housing stock risks reinforcing stigmatization and concentrating poverty in the most deprived "residualized" parts of large housing estates. This would also weaken housing managers' ability to provide local services and management. ...
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This paper explores the spatial and residential impact of social-mix and urban renewal policies in large French social housing estates. Tenure diversification is one of the drivers of a privatization process that is leading to an increase in private housing, especially home ownership developments. The wholesale urban restructuring of the modernist conception of high-rise buildings and open public spaces of the 1960s provides another vector. Analyzing the implementation of these two national strategies at large housing estate micro level—partly at La Duchère housing complex in Lyon—sheds light on how the design and location of new housing developments results in fragmentation of “residences” and space. To a certain extent, these social-mix policies exacerbate internal socio-residential differentiation by simply “displacing the stigma”. What is new is rescaling at the level of small “residences” and gating of housing more than the segmentation process itself, which already existed in large housing estates. At the micro-level of large housing estates, this challenges the standardization of urban and social practices through design, the “residualization” of social housing and public space as well as the public management of fragmented space. In a broader context, these changes show how the recent shift in the French social housing model has been embodied in spatial reconfiguration.
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IntroductionHousing contexts and privatisation policiesApproaches and challenges for the management of privatised housingImplications for policyConcluding remarksNoteReferences
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This article examines the effects of implementing the proposals of the European Commission to institute a Capital Market Union (CMU) on the diverse landscape of residential capitalism in Europe. The CMU will bypass existing national institutional blockades that left core countries of the Eurozone, namely Germany, France and Italy, largely untouched by the housing-centred financialization that developed in countries like Spain, Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands. It is widely acknowledged that the rise in securitized mortgage debt contributed to the global financial crisis. As part of the CMU, the new European Commission is promoting mortgage securitization throughout the EU and thereby rescaling the political economy of housing finance that was hitherto rooted in national, institutional models. We argue that countries which 'missed' the previous housing boom will not be able to prevent future housing-centred financialization. CMU thus signifies a spatial expansion of the debt-led accumulation model.
Chapter
This chapter considers how the crisis of the 1970s was resolved. The Thatcherite reforms of the 1980s built upon the rhetoric of the 1970s, which—as the previous chapter demonstrates—blamed the trade unions for the wider economic problems. Kirkland outlines the changing relationship between labour and capital in the 1980s, focusing upon the “Right to Buy” housing scheme, the privatisation programme and the Big Bang deregulation of 1986. Finally, this chapter demonstrates how such legislation had the effect of shifting the economic balance of power away from organised labour (and by extension trade unions) towards capital and the owners of capital.
Article
Asset-based welfare (ABW) is a policy approach that claims the individual ownership of assets is important for individual welfare. It is concerned mainly with small amounts of financial wealth and has sparked growing scholarly criticism that argues that it ignores the dominant role of housing as a type of asset. This housing asset-based welfare (HABW) critique also charts the ways that ABW leads to pathologies in housing markets. A major problem for ABW though is that HABW has emptied ABW of its original content. This paper claims that this results in a ‘house divided’, that is two separate literatures that both purport to study assets but talk past one another. This paper suggests that research would be enhanced by a greater dialogue between these different literatures. It further argues that a theme of egalitarian property-owning democracy is a way of uniting these different literatures. Creating an egalitarian property-owning democracy suggests that there should be shared research on taxing housing wealth and developing new models of home ownership.
Book
This book offers a cross-national perspective on contemporary urban renewal in relation to social rental housing. Social housing estates – as developed either by governments (public housing) or not-for-profit agencies – became a prominent feature of the 20th century urban landscape in Northern European cities, but also in North America and Australia. Many estates were built as part of earlier urban renewal, ‘slum clearance’ programs especially in the post-World War 2 heyday of the Keynesian welfare state. During the last three decades, however, Western governments have launched high-profile ‘new urban renewal’ programs whose aim has been to change the image and status of social housing estates away from being zones of concentrated poverty, crime and other social problems. This latest phase of urban renewal – often called ‘regeneration’ – has involved widespread demolition of social housing estates and their replacement with mixed-tenure housing developments in which poverty deconcentration, reduced territorial stigmatization, and social mixing of poor tenants and wealthy homeowners are explicit policy goals. Academic critical urbanists, as well as housing activists, have however queried this dominant policy narrative regarding contemporary urban renewal, preferring instead to regard it as a key part of neoliberal urban restructuring and state-led gentrification which generate new socio-spatial inequalities and insecurities through displacement and exclusion processes. This book examines this debate through original, in-depth case study research on the processes and impacts of urban renewal on social housing in European, U.S. and Australian cities. The book also looks beyond the Western urban heartlands of social housing to consider how renewal is occurring, and with what effects, in countries with historically limited social housing sectors such as Japan, Chile, Turkey and South Africa.
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Book synopsis: This book offers a cross-national perspective on contemporary urban renewal in relation to social rental housing. Social housing estates – as developed either by governments (public housing) or not-for-profit agencies – became a prominent feature of the 20th century urban landscape in Northern European cities, but also in North America and Australia. Many estates were built as part of earlier urban renewal, ‘slum clearance’ programs especially in the post-World War 2 heyday of the Keynesian welfare state. During the last three decades, however, Western governments have launched high-profile ‘new urban renewal’ programs whose aim has been to change the image and status of social housing estates away from being zones of concentrated poverty, crime and other social problems. This latest phase of urban renewal – often called ‘regeneration’ – has involved widespread demolition of social housing estates and their replacement with mixed-tenure housing developments in which poverty deconcentration, reduced territorial stigmatization, and social mixing of poor tenants and wealthy homeowners are explicit policy goals. Academic critical urbanists, as well as housing activists, have however queried this dominant policy narrative regarding contemporary urban renewal, preferring instead to regard it as a key part of neoliberal urban restructuring and state-led gentrification which generate new socio-spatial inequalities and insecurities through displacement and exclusion processes. This book examines this debate through original, in-depth case study research on the processes and impacts of urban renewal on social housing in European, U.S. and Australian cities. The book also looks beyond the Western urban heartlands of social housing to consider how renewal is occurring, and with what effects, in countries with historically limited social housing sectors such as Japan, Chile, Turkey and South Africa.
Article
Much attention has been devoted to examining the absolute benefits of home-ownership (e.g. security and autonomy). This paper, by contrast, is concerned with conceptualising and testing the relative benefits of home-ownership; those benefits that depend on an individual’s status in society. Home-ownership has previously been analysed as a social norm, implying that the relative benefits (costs) associated with being an owner (renter) are positively related to relevant others’ home-ownership values. The theoretical contribution of this paper is to additionally conceptualise home-ownership as a positional good, implying that the status of both home-owners and renters is negatively related to relevant others’ home-ownership consumption. The empirical contribution of this paper is to quantitatively test for these relative benefits in terms of subjective wellbeing. We run fixed effects regressions on three waves of the British Household Panel Study. We find that (1) a strengthening of relevant others’ home-ownership values is associated with increases (decreases) in the subjective wellbeing of home-owners (renters), and (2) an increase in relevant others’ home-ownership consumption decreases the life satisfaction of owners but has no effect for renters. Overall our findings suggest that (1) the relative benefits of home-ownership are both statistically significant and of a meaningful magnitude, and (2) home-ownership is likely to be both a social norm and a positional good. Without explicitly recognising these relative benefits, policymakers risk overestimating the contribution of home-ownership to societal wellbeing.
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Scope and aim of the bookDevelopments and challenges in former communist countriesDevelopments and challenges in Western Europe and AustraliaApproach of the bookNotesReferences
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This article tracks how a trope of middle-class household thrift, grounded on the autarchic Aristotelian oikos , has long fueled derogatory discourses in Britain aimed at low-income urban residents who practice quite different forms of thrift. Since the 1970s this trope has migrated across scales, proving a potent metaphor for national economic policy and planetary care alike, and morally and economically justifying both neoliberal welfare retraction compounded by austerity policies and national responses to excessive resource extraction and waste production. Both austerity and formal recycling schemes shift responsibility onto consumer citizens, regardless of capacity. Further, this model of thrift eclipses the thriftiness of low-income urban households, which emerges at the nexus of kin and waged labor, sharing, welfare, debt, conserving material resources through remaking and repair and, crucially, the fundamental need for decency expressed through kin care. Through a historicized ethnography of a London social housing estate and its residents, this paper excavates what happens as these different forms and scales of household thrift coexist, change over time, and clash. Ultimately, neoliberal policy centered on an inimical idiom of thrift delegitimizes and disentitles low-income urban households and undermines their ability to enact livelihood practices of sustainability and projects of dignity across generations.
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In the book’s opening chapter, we discuss the introduction of the Conservative Party’s flagship ‘Right to Buy’ policy of 1980 and the implications it would have for social housing in the UK and, more specifically, estates like Lashall Green (LG), the focus of this book. We also describe the physical geography of the estate and its environs, before surveying key areas of the sociological and anthropological literature with which we engage extensively in subsequent chapters.
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Seeking Urban Transformation. Alternative Urban Futures in Zimbabwe tells the stories of ordinary people's struggles to remake urban centres. It interrogates and highlights the principle conditions in which urban transformation takes place. The main catalysts of the transformation are social movements and planning institutions. Social movements pool resources and skills, acquire land, install infrastructure and build houses. Planning institutions change policies, regulations and traditions to embrace and support a new form of urban development driven by grassroots movements. Besides providing a comprehensive analysis of planning and housing in Zimbabwe, there is a specific focus on three urban centres of Harare, Chitungwiza and Epworth. In metropolitan Harare, the books examines new housing and infrastructure series to the predominantly urban poor population; vital roles played by the urban poor in urban development and the adoption by planning institutions of grassroots-centered, urban-planning approaches. The book draws from three case studies and in-depth interviews from diverse urban shapers i.e. representatives and members of social movements, urban planners, engineers, surveyors, policy makers, politicians, civil society workers and students to generate a varied selection of insights and experiences. Based on the Zimbabwean experience, the book illustrates how actions and power of ordinary people contributes to the transformation of African cities.
Article
This paper examines public housing as an art of government to conceive, produce and discipline a normative ideal of ‘good’ citizenship through people and place. Using the framework of infrastructural citizenship, case studies from state-subsidised homeownership programmes in Cape Town (South Africa) and Stoke-on-Trent (UK) demonstrate how public housing provides a physical mediator for the politicisation of citizenship. Infrastructural citizenship is explored through both state expectations (of housing, of citizens) and citizens’ everyday practices, revealing state-society contestation and conformity in how ‘order’ and ‘decency’ materialise. In bridging the global south/north the paper not only generates new knowledge from two rarely contrasted contexts, but also illuminates and challenges the dominance of global north examples in public housing debates. By juxtaposing contemporary case studies where neither is the dominant lens for analysis, the paper argues that difference is particularly illuminating for knowledge production, and that housing theory and policy need to embrace postcolonial perspectives to ensure global relevance and legitimacy.
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In this paper we explore the types of employment and livelihood strategies witnessed on an inner-city estate in London. In doing so we engage with debates over the changing occupational class structure of London, contending that although the estate was a neat enough microcosm of city-wide trends in terms of inequality and professionalisation, because of the day-to-day dynamics of residents’ working and social lives a perception of social polarisation dominated their understandings of the city. Key factors here included the ongoing restructuring of London’s labour market and a tendency for people to see the world in terms of an opposition between ‘winners’ and ‘losers’.
Technical Report
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Social housing is an important dimension of social welfare policy and affordable housing provision, representing more than 28 million dwellings and about 6% of the total housing stock in OECD and non-OECD EU countries. There are significant differences across countries in the definition, size, scope, target population and type of provider of social housing. For instance, social rental housing makes up less than 10% of the total dwelling stock in most OECD and EU countries, but more than 20% of the total stock in Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands, where it represents a key “third sector” in the housing market. Social mixing remains a key objective of the social housing sector in many countries. Yet the sector has become home to an increasingly higher concentration of lower-income and vulnerable tenants and a reduced cross-section of income levels. This can pose challenges to the economic sustainability of the sector and lead to an increasing spatial concentration of poverty and disadvantage. The relative size of the social housing sector has been shrinking in recent years in all but six countries for which data are available; at the same time, the absolute number of social housing units has decreased in just four countries for which data are available. This is partly due to a decline in public investment in the housing stock. Many countries have undertaken major building revitalisation projects to improve the quality of social dwellings and the surrounding neighbourhoods as a means to overcome persistent challenges associated with social housing, including segregation. Policy makers should ensure that low-income households are not displaced by renovation efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the enduring housing affordability and quality gaps facing many households. Investments in social housing construction and renovation should be a central part of a more sustainable, inclusive economic recovery, reinforced by the EU’s “Renovation wave” announced in early 2020 as part of the European Green Deal.
Article
This article explores older owner occupiers in lower value properties who, having acquired their home through the Right to Buy (RTB) in the 1980s, are now experiencing housing-related challenges in older age. This article outlines the views and perceptions of older owner occupiers, social landlords, voluntary groups and housing organisations to explore the legacy of the RTB. Current and future policy challenges in the area include the differentiation of home owners, difficulties of selling property with low equity in older age and the relationship between health and housing. This article calls to widen the analysis of the long-term impact of the RTB to owner occupiers in lower value properties and notes that ‘ageing in place’ goes beyond looking at people’s current house to the linked housing choices available to them. We recommend that policy support be extended to older home owners to increase housing choice in older age.
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In this chapter, we explore the types of employment and livelihood strategies witnessed on the estate. In doing so, we engage with debates over the changing occupational class structure of London in contending that although LG was a neat-enough microcosm of citywide trends in terms of inequality and professionalisation, because of the day-to-day dynamics of residents’ working and social lives, a perception of social polarisation dominated their understandings of the city. Key factors here included the ongoing restructuring of London’s labour market, the residualisation of social housing in Northtown and a tendency for people to see the world in terms of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. In connection with this, we argue that the opportunity structures evident on LG were both intra- and pan-ethnic, with people belonging to certain ethno-racial groups being more or less inclined to proffer and take up opportunities across ethno-racial lines.
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This chapter argues that two key, overlapping, fields of political and public discourse have tended to obfuscate the shared social reality of urban marginality in England in recent years: housing and migration. We suggest that the noisy public space of “race talk” and heightened anxieties over migration serve to obscure the socio-spatial reshaping of urban housing systems and deflect attention from the policy moves and longer-term processes that produce insecurity and precarity at the bottom of the class structure, regardless of race or ethnicity. We argue for the preeminence of social class as an explanation socio-spatial reshaping of urban systems in England and suggest that the specificity and complexity of national housing systems is a neglected aspect in the understanding of advanced urban marginality.
Article
The introduction of the mandatory ‘Right to Buy’ (RTB) in 1980 for qualifying tenants in municipal housing was a significant development in British housing policy. It was an extension of the post-war ‘social project’ of the state-subsidised expansion of home ownership, leading to the sale of nearly two million dwellings over forty years. In 2015, the UK government sought to ‘reinvigorate’ RTB by extending it to the housing association (HA) sector in England, initially on a pilot basis. This article investigates the impact of this pilot programme and the response of eligible tenants to the opportunity to purchase. It compares the pilot programme to the local authority RTB in terms of the changing demographic base of social renting, increased spatial differentiation in the housing market, the different institutional framework for HAs and the design of the pilot scheme. Research findings suggest that the take-up and impact of any national RTB scheme is likely to be limited, for a mixture of financial, institutional and demographic reasons. RTB will provide only a very selective route into home ownership for some HA tenants, as a specific segment of a more fragmented tenure than in 1980.
Article
Purpose Increasing regional wealth disparities have been explained by the role of agglomeration economies and the concentration of skilled mobile human capital. This paper aims to draw out the role of the housing market by considering the differential experience of Germany and the UK. Design/methodology/approach The empirical analysis is based on the comparison of regional house price trends in Germany and UK-based annual data from 1991 to 2015. Findings Regional house price inequality is found to have increased in both countries with the spatial concentration of skilled human capital. However, the main conclusion is that there are differential paths to regional house price inequality explained by the parameters of each country’s housing market. Originality/value The research is the first to compare and explain differential regional house price trends across countries.
Article
Public housing is a public sector that has been severely affected by privatization policies. Not so in Denmark, however, where public housing is not provided directly by the State but is run by independent housing associations: the “common housing” sector. This sector is the outcome of a compromise between the social-democratic movement and liberal-conservative parties in the 1920-30s. The social-democrats were politically too weak to implement their “municipal socialism” programme, which included (municipal) State-owned housing. This weakness, however, has in fact proven itself to be strength in the face of recent State-led privatization and mercantilization schemes. This experience problematizes the assumptions underlying the historical construction of the welfare State and its role in stewarding resources that are put in common, particularly in the sphere of housing. Instituting the common beyond the direct reach of the State is a lesson that can be learnt from the demise of social-democratic welfare statism.
Article
Addressing the issue of underoccupation has been a prominent feature in English social housing policy since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government was formed in 2010. A key move under the Coalition’s welfare reform agenda was the implementation of the underoccupancy penalty—the so-called ‘bedroom tax’—from April 2013. However, while this policy triggered high-profile protests, it does not represent a novel policy preoccupation. Variations on the theme have recurred in housing policy debates almost since the advent of council housing. This paper adopts a long-term perspective and presents a sociological institutionalist analysis which focuses on the mechanisms through which underoccupation has been governed. Drawing on a range of archival material, we argue that the government of underoccupation has undergone revealing transformations over the period since 1929. Not only does the broader policy context—understandings of the purpose of social housing and the role it fulfils in the housing market—differ over time, but, at the more detailed level of policy instruments, the mechanisms proposed to address underoccupation differ in ways that can be explained in terms of prevailing policy logics and institutional structures. Most significantly, the nature of the underoccupation problem has been framed differently: the rationales offered as justification for policy action draw on very different vocabularies, in ways that allow us to trace the influence of more fundamental shifts in policy discourse into the domain of housing policy.
Chapter
In this chapter, we explain how LG came to have the social mix that it does. This requires that we document a number of policies, processes and trends. In doing so, we first provide a potted history of social housing in London, detailing where in the city it is concentrated, when it was built and by whom. Second, we describe the kind of sociopolitical context in which estates like LG were constructed. We then discuss the vexed issue of Right to Buy along with more recent market-led legislation on social housing, before taking stock of the cumulative effects of these policies for LG and other inner-city estates. Finally, in teasing out the characteristics of LG, we develop the notion of ‘select centro-margins’ (SCMs). This notion is important in later chapters when it comes to analysing the realities of ‘social mix’ on LG in relation to themes such as interclass and interethnic engagement, gentrification and (dis)order (among others).
Article
The paper problematizes public housing privatization. It compares the trajectory of tenure change in two garden communities – Garbatella, Rome and Sunnyside Gardens, New York City – which privileged public and private ownership, respectively. The cases are currently dealing with tenure change. Sunnyside experienced the enclosure of gardens and citizens’ attempt to reclaim what was held in common in order to bring back the communal spaces. Garbatella is a place where growth over time of rights, powers, immunities, and privileges is manifested in long-lasting processes of appropriation of public housing goods. Despite their different stories, Sunnyside helps to problematize the process of public housing privatization in Garbatella which is further complicated by tenure complexity, State-induced rent gap and institutional displacement. The analysis of tenure change, done by using the ‘incidents of ownership’ notion developed by Marcuse, contributes to the understanding of what public housing privatization means in social and spatial terms. Housing privatization leads to an erosion of the in-between space where individual and collective aspiration meet as a precondition for the reproduction of what is held in common: spatial goods such as open spaces and housing – a fundamental aspect of our citizenship.
Article
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Urban regeneration strategies in the UK have placed considerable emphasis on the development of homeownership and particularly low-cost homeownership. The paper assesses the long-term viability of local homeownership initiatives in public sector communities by reference to case studies in four UK cities. In particular, the research chronicles the housing market experience of localized initiatives and assesses whether in the long term a sustainable market is achieved. The research finds similar market characteristics for both public sector community and inner city homeownership initiatives. Internal demand and externalities create fragile markets. Initial purchasers of these houses acquired in general a poor long-term investment relative to opportunities elsewhere in the housing market. The research suggests that private housing developments within public sector communities are at least as successful as inner city estates for sale. However, while resale markets have developed in most of these estates prices are not high enough to establish sustainable markets.
Article
Examines the allocation process in general and then discusses these issues in the context of a case-study of Ferguslie Park, Glasgow. Various policy options to improve the situation are discussed, including physical improvement, rent and structure changes, allocation criteria changes, a wider range of council tenants, and the greater use of transfers. Concludes that though little progress has been made in elaborating solutions, the practical means of change can be found if the political will is present. -after Author
Article
Programs designed to sell conventional public housing units to low-income families are both new and controversial. This article reviews arguments for and against selling public housing to the residents and presents the results of an evaluation of the Public Housing Homeownership Demonstration. This HUD demonstration involved seventeen public housing authorities that designed separate programs to sell 1,315 public housing units to tenants. The results support several of the arguments both for and against public housing homeownership programs. The article concludes with policy recommendations for designing future public housing homeownership programs.
Article
Variations in stock turnover in social housing are important for a number of reasons. First, they influence the supply of properties available to meet housing need; secondly, they have implications for housing management costs and performance; and, thirdly, they are a barometer of neighbourhood stability and cohesion. The paper examines national, regional and local trends in council housing turnover rates over the past 20 years, focusing on changes during the first half of the 1990s. Linking data from various secondary sources together with new evidence, the paper explores the elements involved in the generation of relets and examines the characteristics and motivations of households exiting from the council sector. Finally, the article reports results of statistical modelling of relet rates at the local authority level which reveal new insights on the causal factors involved.
Article
Analyses of the social, economic and spatial consequences of council house sales have tended to rely on local case study evidence or limited official statistics at the national level. This paper seeks to provide more systematic evidence for England as a whole. Sales which were completed between 1979 and 1985 are mapped by local authority to indicate the uneven geography of the privatisation of council housing in England. Statistical analyses of key variables are then used to draw out some of the factors at work contributing to high and low levels of sales. One of the principle conclusions is that sale of council houses is leading to a greater unevenness in the national pattern of housing tenure.
Article
The transition from plan to market in socialist economies dominates the economic agenda of this decade. This two-part paper on the Russian housing reforms addresses four questions. First, what is the legacy of the administrative-command system and why were demands for major reforms so widespread in the housing sector? Secondly, in what manner does the severe contraction of the Russian economy complicate the reformers' task? Thirdly, how has the Russian government responded so far to the reform challenge? Fourthly, why are the privatisation of housing and rent reforms at the core of the transition to market? The first part of the paper deals with the first two questions. The second part addresses the last two questions. Priority goes to an integrated perspective on the early stages of Russian reforms over an in-depth analysis of individual issues. The modern analysis of the real estate economy distinguishes two markets: the 'property market' for the allocation of space, and the 'asset market' where investment decisions are made. This theoretical insight provides a much needed framework to understand how the key components of Russian reform interact during the housing transition to market.
Article
Recent discussions of the social rented sector in the UK have placed considerable emphasis on the restructuring and declining size of the tenure, privatisation, a shift from object to subject subsidies, residualisation and the increased significance of the poverty trap for tenants. Against this background, and in the light of the view that major public sector investment is unlikely in the future, the policy debate has shifted further towards concern with transfer of stock out of the public sector. This paper reviews key changes in the role of social rented sector housing and the background to these debates. It argues that it is important to relate the development of council housing to the wider structure of the welfare state; its position within the public sector; the changing structure of the private sector in housing; and the changing economic, social and demographic context. These aspects are of key importance to debates about residualisation and the future of the sector.
Article
Research on urban housing policies in socialist China and Eastern European countries has concentrated on understanding the production and distribution of state housing. More recently researchers have shifted their attention to the commodification of urban housing and establishment of private housing markets. A very important aspect of socialist housing ‐ the process of nationalisation of privately owned urban housing in the early period of socialist development ‐ has been relatively neglected. Ignoring this aspect of the historical background of socialist urban housing policy may create difficulties in understanding the nature of the public sector and recent privatisation experience.This paper intends to fill this gap in relation to China by examining both the nationalisation of urban privately owned housing in the early years of socialism and the more recent privatisation and commercialisation of the urban housing sector. This highlights shifting approaches to the urban housing market in different periods of socialist development and helps in understanding recent developments in housing reform. It examines the development of policy and the resultant impacts on the private housing market in Xian, one of the major cities in central China. The pattern of private ownership, the state policy of nationalisation and the more recent commercialisation of urban public sector housing are the main issues examined.
Article
The introduction of policy instruments such as the Right to Buy (RTB) led to prophecies of the demise of the welfare state in Western Europe. Yet it is increasingly apparent that a welfare state will survive, albeit in a restructured form. This paper examines the place of RTB in the restructuring of social rented housing in the UK and accounts for recent changes to it. A new politics of RTB has arisen from the restructuring of social housing. As the politics of welfare shifted its focus from the scale of welfare provision to reorganising, adjusting and ‘modernising’ what remained, RTB came into question. This, along with political devolution, has created a new set of conditions that have called RTB into question in different parts of the UK while paradoxically it continues to be widely perceived as inviolable. RTB now occupies an ambiguous and slightly troublesome position as a feature of a residualised social rented sector that is more secure in its role of meeting social needs, as well as being seen to provide a route to owner occupation.