Housing Land Availability Assessment – Data Constraints

It is widely acknowledged that an inadequate supply of housing land is a constraint on increasing the number of new dwellings for a growing population – a priority for the public and, therefore, all political parties in the United Kingdom. Lack of supply is a strong contributory factor to the current housing affordability crisis.

The exam question Government and Local Authorities must address to construct a coherent plan for the supply of new homes is: Where should new housing be built? Getting the answer to this question right is hampered by a lack of coherent information on building land availability.

This is confirmed by the number of house builders who advertise on billboards, television and through other media for “housing land wanted”. Other organisations such as the BBC have run campaigns to crowd source information on “wasted land” which could be used for house building or other beneficial purposes.

This raises the questions: Do we, as a nation, really not know what land is available for building more houses? or, Do we know but have a defective information infrastructure that prevents the necessary information from being brought together as an open resource? I argue that it is the second of these. All the information necessary to prioritise potential house building sites nationally exists in different places, however our current information policy prevents it from being brought together and used for this purpose.

This document is referenced in a blog -