Your recent leader points to the growing complexity of the London housing market and offers further acknowledgement that we have reached crisis point.
There is received wisdom that the current crisis is at least in part down to a constraint of development land. Yet, as well-developed as London is, there is no real shortage of available land.
London’s population is set to reach 11 million by 2050 and the current rate of development is worryingly out of step with this projected growth. Given that home ownership is increasingly beyond the reach of many, pressure is mounting on the build-to-rent sector to deliver sufficient new homes.
While large institutions have demonstrated an appetite for investment in the PRS, we have yet to see the level of development required to alleviate the housing shortage. This is where both central and local government must take a proactive stance in encouraging development in the PRS. By any measure, this should sit comfortably with a government that needs to house a growing population in accommodation that is fit for purpose, sustainable and responsibly managed.
If this sounds too tall an order, let us remember that London’s government recently oversaw the Olympic Park Development Corporation, a powerful development corporation with the power to overrule individual boroughs and quickly unlock huge swathes of land to facilitate the London 2012 Olympics. If this could be replicated to ensure the speedy delivery of new homes, that really would be a lasting legacy.
Iain Murray, director of PRS at Criterion Capital