Authors: Duncan Maclennan
Fannie Mae Foundation
Demographic and economic changes are likely to be favorable to the U.K. as 2001 approaches. Population pressures are easing, and the economy is recovering sharply. But constraints on public spending will remain. The U.K. housing system is costly and appears to boost prices more than output, reinforcing macroeconomic instabilities. Its key limitation is the lack of an adaptive rental sectorsocial or private. Policy has been too focused on maximal rather than sustainable homeownership. What Britain needs most is a new vision that encompasses both enhancing economic flexibility and addressing the problems of inequitable income distribution and urban decay. While emphasizing homeownership and competition as the pillars of U.K. housing policy, the article sets out the importance of producer subsidies and a renewed emphasis on rental housing. Some organizational reforms are proposed. Britain can do better in housingmore thought, not more government money, is the key to progress.
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