The 2023 Reports
Our Editorial Panel will assess each new report and those that they consider have the greatest chance of influencing policy makers are shown in the Must Read section. The Editorial Panel aims to nominate a dozen Must Read reports each year and those reports that have made way for more highly ranked ones are listed in the Highly Commended section. All other reports and those not yet assessed are included in the Further Reports section. To help increase awareness of this resource, please cite Thinkhouse in work that uses sources found on this site. Statistics and Government papers are collected at the bottom of the page.
Selected by our editorial panel as being the most important publications.
Turning the Tide on Rising Homelessness and Rough Sleeping
The Government will not meet its goal to end rough sleeping by 2024. In fact, rough sleeping is on the increase and at the heart of it are chronic and unresolved systemic issues, which have left the country vulnerable to new pressures. This report warns that many of the problems outlined would be resolved if there was more supply of social rented housing and supported housing and likens the scale of the challenges to early 20th century Britain. https://www.commissiononroughsleeping.org/2023-report-turning-the-tide/
The Homelessness Monitor: England 2023
A longitudinal study providing independent analysis of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments in England. The research takes stock of homelessness in 2023 and the five year period before this. It also highlights emerging trends and forecasts some of the likely future changes, identifying the developments likely to have the most significant impacts on homelessness.
Still Living in Limbo: Why the use of temporary accommodation must end
Temporary accommodation was never intended to exist outside of emergencies. But it’s now accommodating almost 100,000 households, including over 125,000 children. Temporary accommodation is often far from a temporary arrangement. The majority of households have lived there for a year or more. This report sets out the findings from research into this area and makes recommendations for policy change.
The Property Owning Democracy
The ‘baby-boomer’ generation have been the primary beneficiary of the post war consensus that extended property ownership. Subsequent generations have largely been excluded from this. As asset prices dwarf wages and demand far exceeds supply, we are denying the opportunity of homeownership to great swathes of our young people. As a result, they may see capitalism as the cause of society’s principal problems, rather than a framework to solve them. This report aims to contribute to that debate and offers some solutions.
Rapid rehousing transition plans: assessing the affordability of the private rented sector for LHA
This report examines the housing affordability problems associated with the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and its impact on the private rented sector (PRS). The report builds on recent work by Crisis, the Bevan Foundation, and the Institute of Fiscal Studies, among others, that suggested that the decisions to reduce, cap and then freeze LHA rates have reduced the affordability of the lower end of the PRS.
Heat pumps and domestic heat decarbonisation in the uk: a systems thinking analysis of barriers to adoption
Heat pumps are a cornerstone of the government’s decarbonisation agenda in the United Kingdom. The electrification of domestic heating, underwritten by the installation of ground-, air-, and water-source heat pumps is expected to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by around 15 – 17%. In late 2020, the Johnson government announced a target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028. In mid-2023, despite a grant fund of £450m, data revealed the UK was installing 55,000 heat pumps annually, suggesting the government’s goal is unlikely to be met. Consumers of domestic heat pumps in the UK are owner-occupiers, developers, private and social landlords, as well as local councils responsible for social housing (although tenants are the primary beneficiaries in the last three instances). This report investigates the reasons for this profound gap between government intentions and consumer behaviour.
A practical approach for councils on dealing with empty homes
Bringing empty homes back into use can play a key part of local strategies to meet housing need. Not only are empty homes a wasted resource, they are often the subject of complaints and frustration for communities, as well as being a catalyst for crime and degradation. https://www.local.gov.uk/publications/practical-approach-councils-dealing-empty-homes
The impact of regulatory reform on the private rented sector
This report aims to review the evidence regarding the impacts that regulatory change in the private rental market might be expected to have on housing supply, quality, landlords’ investment/disinvestment decisions, and other important societal outcomes. The focus is on non-price regulation.
Raising the Roof: Building a Better Private Rented Sector
This report advocates a number of avenues to build a better PRS including PRS reform, improving security of tenure, encouraging and enabling good landlords, cracking down on rogue landlords, ensuring fair adjudication and redress, improving quality, supporting affordability and tackling ASB
Funding Affordable Homes 8th Annual Impact Report
This is the eighth Annual Impact Report produced for FAH by The Good Economy (TGE). The assessment in this report is based on both quantitative and qualitative information including portfolio data, scheme-level data, resident feedback collected by housing partners, site visits to three FAH schemes, and interviews with housing partners and residents.
Why have the volume housebuilders been so profitable?
Over the last decade the largest housebuilders, and particularly the “big-three”, have consistently reported high levels of profitability. Through comprehensive analysis of earnings call transcripts, annual reports and policy documents, this study explores the drivers of this profitability, and what it tells us about the nature of the housebuilding industry, the development land market and the relationship between volume housebuilders and the state.
Niddrie Road, Glasgow: tenement retrofit evaluation
As part of a city council policy to inject social housing into areas dominated by private renting, traditional tenemental property in Glasgow is being purchased by housing associations with a view to refurbish them, including to bring them into line with national policies to raise energy efficiency across social housing in Scotland. In the autumn of 2019, Southside housing association saw an opportunity to undertake a demonstration project involving the deep retrofit of such a block
The Citizens' Summit on the Housing Emergency
This report produced by NatCen's Centre for Deliverative Research identifies an agreed set of principles to guide Shelter's general election campaign and to understand which policy solutions people with lived experience of the housing emergency want prioritised in Shelter's manifesto.
The Contested Politics of Residential Space
This report examines the relationship between housing policies and public values. The study aims to understandattitudes towards residential space standards in the UK and compare them with values underlying contested policies: the single occupant Council Tax discount, LHA Shared Accommodation Rate and the "Bedroom Tax".
Brightness on the Edge of Town
The final report of an original research project aimed at developing a policy narrative to outline the place of Community Land Trusts in the current political debate. The report recaps the need for community-led housing solutions, elucidates the parameters for action and highlight possible pathways to overcoming barriers to delivering affordable housing.
Why interventions to improve the welfare of people experiencing homelessness work or not: an updated evidence and gap map
The latest edition of the evidence and gap map includes 597 studies – an increase from the initial 246 studies back in 2018. This growth underscores the growing global interest in understanding homelessness interventions. Notably, 191 of these studies have been added since the previous edition, demonstrating the continual expansion of our knowledge.
Standards for reception conditions under the Temporary Protection Directive: challenges and needs in accessing adequate accommodation
The right to accommodation under the Temporary Protection Directive has been transposed differently across different Member states and a lack of monitoring and redress mechanisms continues to impact on both standards and access.
Hidden homelessness: international evidence review
This report presents an overview of the methods used internationally to identifying or counting people experiencing hidden forms of homelessnessand the populations likely to experience it. It reflects on how these insights could be applied to Scotland where there is currently no standardised way to enumerate hidden homelessness.
Opportunities to better prevent homelessness in England
This discussion paper draws on the available evidence to highlight some potential opportunities to enhance prevention of homelessness and where future policy and practice could focus, which include introducing a greater focus and coherence to national policy commitments to prevent homelessness and bringing forward evidence-based solutions to maximise the impact of existing structures (e.g. legislation) and investment in preventing homelessness.
Reforms to national planning policy
This report, which examines the Government’s planning reform proposals, finds that the Government has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate how the policy of scrapping mandatory local housing targets will directly lead to more housebuilding. While the Government is on track to deliver 1 million new homes over the course of this Parliament, it is not forecast to deliver 300,000 net new homes per year by the mid-2020s.
Route Map for New Home Delivery
The Route Map for New Home Delivery will be used as part of the induction learning process for people who are new to roles in the housing and construction sector, or who want to learn more about what happens in other parts of the construction process that they may not be involved with
A Matrix for Measuring & Delivering Placemaking Quality
The intention of both the Matrix and the paper is to prompt an uplift in placemaking standards that will ultimately create better places. Also, in delivering greater public confidence in housing quality and thereby helping stem the tide of objections that is so often a disruptive feature of the planning process, the paper hopes to realise the kind of increase in housing supply necessary to address the housing crisis.
Shaping futures: changing the housing story (final report)
This report emphasises the need for a new narrative on housing that recognises the importance of metropolitan markets, housing as economic infrastructure, and its role in addressing inequality and exclusion. It highlights common challenges, such as the diminishing focus on housing in policy and lack of evidence-based decision-making. The report calls for effective policies to counter and redirect housing processes and outcomes. The interim report was placed on the site in 2019.
Delivering for Tenants: The Foundations of an Effective Local Authority Landlord Service
This report sets out London Housing Directors’ views, developed in consultation with tenants and key stakeholders, on the principles that should underpin a good quality local authority landlord service, from strategic leadership to front line delivery.
Opportunities for Special Development Orders
A short briefing note setting out how government can use special development orders (SDOs) to encourage potential housing projects in areas of importance to the nation. It illustrates the opportunities for SDOs by outlining two examples in which they could be used to deliver housebuilding projects of national importance, namely in Park Royal, London and in Cambridge.
Leasehold reform proposals in England and Wales: the unconsidered financial implications of reducing the premium in lease extensions
This report analyses the potential financial implications of leasehold reform from changing the extended lease length and eliminating the marriage value payment beyond the distribution of a premium reduction.
Reviewing residential retrofitting literature
In addition to long-standing issues like affordability and access to decent housing, the climate emergency has brought new challenges that demand immediate action to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment. This mapping study explores the international literature on residential retrofitting, addressing these pressing concerns.
Investigation into supported housing
This investigation sets out the facts on how the supported housing system in England works and government oversight of the sector. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), and the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) are both involved with supported housing. The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) is also involved. Local authorities are responsible for managing the system within their areas.
Home is where the start is: The case for ending homelessness with homes
This short briefing, published in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, draws on a range of evidence and data sources to present the case for placing provision of good quality, affordable, settled homes at the centre of solutions to homelessness.
The Case for Place
This report, produced by Create Streets Foundation for Karbon Homes, will explore how and why England has such entrenched patterns of economic imbalance – despite considerable political will for change from successive governments – and what government should do to address spatial inequalities in investment in housing and placemaking.
Investing in the Future: Reforming the UK’s Welfare System
Despite reforms that promised simplicity and fairness, this research shows that the current system remains difficult to navigate, while also leaving many unable to live on the support they receive. This report sets out the experiences and challenges faced by Grand Union's customers, the impact on us as a landlord, and the possible changes – both long and short term – that could make a significant difference.
The potential role of modern methods of construction in addressing systemic supply issues
This research examines existing international evidence on modern methods of development (MMD), which shifts the focus away from construction to a broader institutional perspective. The review covers business models, regulatory practices, and consumer preferences as core aspects of understanding what drives the adoption of MMC. The findings reveal that state leadership is crucial in promoting and incentivising MMC as a mainstream form of housing provision. Furthermore, while MMC offers unique processes, they are often considered risky due to project complexity and a fragmented supply chain.
Trying times, How people living in poor quality housing have fared during the cost of living crisis
Plenty of research has shown the important role housing plays on our living standards, attitudes and wider health and wellbeing. But less attention has been paid to the effect of housing quality on living standards. This briefing summary uses data collected in March 2023 from an online YouGov survey (funded by The Health Foundation), analysing the experience of the cost of living crisis by tenure, the incidence of poor quality housing, and the impact of poor quality housing on health and wellbeing.
UK Housing Review 2022, Executive Summary
This is the Executive Summary of the 30th edition of the UK Housing Review, an essential encyclopaedia of housing data . The full review sits behind the CIH paywall but this link takes you to the Summary and other publically available elements. https://www.ukhousingreview.org.uk/ukhr23/index.html
Home advantage: a new centre-right vision for housing
This collection of essays offers a glimmer of hope by presenting radical new ideas from leading decision makers and thought leaders in four key areas: security, community, stewardship and conservation. The hope is that this becomes a first step to a clear centre-right vision for providing Britain with the homes it needs.
Homelessness in the Countryside: a hidden crisis
Housing costs in affluent rural areas are driving an unseen crisis, where the “shame and stigma” of homelessness keep countless vulnerable individuals out of official statistics. This study brings to light the true scale of the problem, which is far worse than anyone could have imagined.
Home is the Foundation: perspectives on prevention from people with experience of homelessness
This report is based on focus groups with people with experience of homelessness in six areas across Scotland. It explores their experiences of housing crisis and what was (or was not) done to prevent them from becoming homeless.
Research into the Right to Buy within the Housing Revenue Account
This report estimates that 100,000 homes are likely to be sold through the RTB scheme by 2030, with just 43,000 replaced as significant discounts leave councils without funding to replace the much-needed homes on a like-for-like basis.
Homes In Community Hands Evaluation - final report
This evaluation sought to understand the impact of Power to Change's funding which was imed at boosting the development of community led housing (CLH) in England. Focused on five urban areas, it provided funding to plan and develop affordable housing projects and to establish enabler organisations.
Homes for Growth
This paper argues that the government urgently needs to restore trust in the planning system by giving businesses greater certainty about the availability of land for development, and by demonstrating to residents that housebuilding in their local area will be beautiful and of high quality.
Greater and greener homes: more homes, ready for net zero
This report outlines and examines the key changes in government policy since 2010 to increase housing supply and reduce carbon emissions from new homes, before proposing new policies to achieve two core policy objectives. First, to speed up the delivery of new homes where development is most sustainable, such as near workplaces, shops and sustainable transport links. Second, to ensure new homes are compliant with reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Making retirement living affordable: the role of shared ownership housing for older people
This report is based on evidence sessions and written submissions to promote discussion and set the agenda for developing better, more joined up housing and care for older people, promising greater choices in later life.
Experiences of homelessness during a cost of living crisis
This research shows how the 2022 cost of living crisis is increasing homelessness. Unaffordable housing and other rising costs are forcing people to lose their homes and many people are trapped in homelessness as it becomes harder to cover the living costs of a new home.