A globally desirable city with high immigration and growth and not enough housing supply: London provides a cautionary example of what happens when supply shortages become chronic.

From PropertyWire.com, Here’s the perspective of London Homebuilders as they call on the next mayor of Greater London to help them increase housing supply. Its an indication of the scale of London’s crisis – still producing only half of what is needed.  Makes you appreciate Vancouver’s relatively balanced supply numbers relative to demand (actual “fit” and affordability vs demand is another challenge!).

I think the UK authors could have covered many other systemic issues. The UK could learn from Canada and adopt specific legal performance (binding purchasers to complete on their contracts) and simplified purchase and sale agreements (the UK is notoriously complex and open to last minute negotiations [“Gazumping”]). These legal changes would create a better pre-sale culture and give developers enough confidence to build in larger quantums. On  the design side, I think there is room for much cross cultural exchange – Vancouver’s contribution being compact mid and high rise models. London is developing some interesting mid-rise buildings that I’ll feature later.

UK Homebuilders want next mayor of London to create new policies to meet chronic housing shortage

(article here, reprinted below)

The organisation that represents house builders in the UK has issued a blueprint for London’s future housing supply which hopes that politicians in the city will take it on board when forming policy. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) says that its 10 point blueprint, Capitalising on Growth, should be taken into account by this year’s candidate in the London mayoral election when declaring their policies for housing in the city which is desperately short of new homes.


“Current London mayor Boris Johnson is regarded as having done a lot to boost housing supply and put in place a number of measures to continue his vision but he is not standing for mayor this time.

The HBF wants the candidates to adopt ‘tangible, workable and realistic’ policies to deliver the increases in housing supply and build on the significant increases in the number of new homes being built over the last two years.

The document includes recommendations that the next mayor of London ensures sites are viable and deliverable by introducing realistic levels of affordable housing and supporting the delivery of specialist private rented housing.

It also calls on the next mayor to make better use of and improve London’s existing estates while working with authorities in the wider South East to create a strategic approach to delivering homes that can support London’s growth.

The blueprint says that the mayor neds to act as a hub to coordinate efforts by all the public bodies with land holdings in London so that more land actually comes forward for house building and it calls for more underused commercial spaces to be turned into homes.

‘We welcome the very vocal commitments of candidates to increase housing supply in London. We now need to see realistic, workable policies to be developed that will allow these homes to be built,’ said HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley.

‘If London is to maintain its status as the world’s capital city and keep on powering the national economy, it must continue to attract people, businesses and investment. The capital’s chronic housing shortage and resultant affordability crisis now threatens London’s status as a global powerhouse and can only be solved by a sustained increase in supply,’ he explained.

‘In just two years, housing supply has increased by over 25% but we are still only delivering around half the number of homes needed. We need to maintain a strong investment environment for developers, keep sites deliverable and ensure that planning resources are in place so that builders can obtain planning permission and get on site as quickly as possible,’ he added.”


Michael Mortensen, MA MCIP, RPP – a Vancouver Developer & Planner Abroad m4mortensen@gmail.com | www.plan-tlc.com