Redfern Review echoes Homes for Scotland’s call for joined-up approach to housing

Nicola Barclay
Nicola Barclay

Scotland’s home builders have responded to a review by one of the UK’s biggest housebuilders into the decline of home ownership in England.

Launched yesterday, the Redfern Review, led by Pete Redfern, chief executive of Taylor Wimpey, revealed that the financial squeeze on young people is at the heart of the decline in the number of home owners and called for a long-term, cross-party approach to housing issues.

According to the review, home ownership rates in England fell from 71 per cent to 64 per cent over 12 years, with the steepest drop among young people. Among 25-34 year olds, the rate of home ownership fell from 59 per cent in 2003 to 37 per cent in 2015, it added.

Lower incomes for younger people since the financial crisis in 2008, as well as their more limited access to mortgage finance, were listed as major contributing factors.

To help them back on the housing ladder, Mr Redfern said schemes such as Help to Buy should be targeted more exclusively at first-time buyers.

“We must focus on supporting today’s younger generation and creating a genuine long-term housing strategy independent of short-term party politics if we are to improve the position in a sustainable way for future generations,” he said.

Responding to the findings of the Redfern Review, Homes for Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay welcomed the focus on a “long-term, cross-party approach to housing issues”.

Ms Barclay said: “The conclusions of the Redfern Review echo the joined-up approach to increasing housing supply which we are calling for in Scotland. With all political parties acknowledging the fundamental national need for more homes, the report further reinforces that the challenge of delivering more homes on the ground can only be achieved by working in partnership with all levels of government over the long term.

“It is important that we fully recognise the housing needs of our growing population, whether that be the aspiration of the majority to own their own home or by increasing access across other tenures in order to create and sustain a healthy market for all.”

The Chartered Institute of Housing said the Redfern Review highlights a need for new homes of all kinds for both sale and rent.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat, who was on the Redfern Review advisory panel, said: “Home ownership remains an aspiration for many people and measures which support people and families to own a home remain important.

“However, what the Redfern Review clearly demonstrates is that the primary causes of the decline in home ownership are not related to the supply of new housing and are instead associated with factors like the decline in relative income for younger people.

“Our own research has shown that 79 per cent of people believe young people will struggle to access decent housing even if they work hard and have good jobs.

“The government has pledged to building more homes for both sale and rent, that everyone can afford. This review very clearly highlights how important it is that measures are put in place to achieve this.”

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