Published: 24th May 2011

Following the launch of JRF’s housing market taskforce, Mark Stephens explains its vision for a socially sustainable housing market In the post-war decades the British housing system became increasingly centred around home-ownership. At its peak, home-ownership exceeded 70%. But since 1970 there have been four boom/bust cycles in the housing market. House price volatility injects uncertainty throughout the housing system. For individuals there is a temptation to overextend borrowing in a boom. Housebuilding is disrupted by these cycles and for lenders it is unclear whether extending lending during a boom can lead the market to unsustainable levels. Volatility increases risks as the housing market interacts with the economic cycle, the underlying demographics of ownership and available safety nets. Some 850,000 households have experienced repossession since 1980. Volatility inhibits labour mobility, pricing people out of growth areas in booms and locking them in properties in downturns through negative equity. House prices … (To read the full article, subscribe below)