Authors: Peter Williams
Fannie Mae Foundation

This article examines housing policy and the housing market in the U.K. in the broader social, economic, and political context. It focuses on how housing relates to the economy, the labor market, health, welfare, inequality, and the general social and economic environment. In recent years, government has reshaped housing policy by reducing and redirecting subsidies, introducing market prices and private finance, altering the role of local authorities as direct providers, and boosting the level of homeownership. But reduced subsidies and greater reliance on the private market may have made the system more unstable and vulnerable to economic shocks. There is growing evidence of both residualized populations in the social rental sector and widespread homelessness. U.K. housing policy is also poorly integrated with other social and economic objectives. Overall, the changes may have made the housing system marginally more efficient, but the policy probably increases pressures toward economic instability and inequality.

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