What countries have broadly succeeded in removing the gap between supply and demand?
Ill give you three
What do all three have in common?
They have set up powerful national agencies to purchase land, drive procurement and undertake housebuilding.
By contrast is a funder and regulator which arguably in periods in the past had funding policies which drove up land prices.
In England we have a large independent HA sector which has many benefits but which has not had a primary political goal of building, and it has had to live through a period where various government policies discouraged it building such as HA RTB.
The lessons from the three agencies set up in Turkey, Korea and Singapore are:
- In undertaking very large scale land purchases they can drive land prices down and undertake projects at the new town scale.
- They can drive innovative methods of construction
- They can take advantage of economies of scale
- They can promote very high density housing across whole quarters and cities which only very large entities would be able to bear the risk of
Unfortunately they have also suffered in design terms from mass production , as can be seen in the monotony of product in these three countries (less so in Korea where the second generation new towns has some of the best housing in the world.)
A good model which I would like to see in the Housing White paper is for a beefed up HCA (Stripped of its regulatory role to avoid conflicts of interest) taking on the kind of role that its predecessor body the Commission for New Towns did. It would but land and lead procurement, promoting modern proactive such as modular construction and form based zoning, but would not directly design and operate housing, this being devolved to local development corporations formed as partnerships between housing associations, landowners and local authorities – ensuring land value capture for infrastructure and social facilities.
Other countries are looking at the example of these three countries, 29 countries internationally are partnering with Turkey for example on modern methods of contruction. The Koreans are building the New Towns for Kuwait.