The 2021 Reports
Our Editorial Panel will assess each new report and those that they consider have the greatest chance of influencing policy makers are shown in the Must Read section. The Editorial Panel aims to nominate a dozen Must Read reports each year and those reports that have made way for more highly ranked ones are listed in the Highly Commended section. All other reports and those not yet assessed are included in the Further Reports section. To help increase awareness of this resource, please cite Thinkhouse in work that uses sources found on this site. Statistics and Government papers are collected at the bottom of the page.
Selected by our editorial panel as being the most important publications.
When We Work Together – learning the lessons
Based on the evidence received and expertise, this report sends a clear message that the Government must learn from the success of the Covid-19 response and continue the increased investment in homelessness services to avoid a post pandemic surge in rough sleeping.
Past, present and future; Housing policy and poor-quality homes
This report calls for a co-ordinated national strategy to reinstate enforcement of housing standards, the development of local hubs to coordinate holistic home improvement and retrofit, and long term national funding for locally delivered improvements to the quality of homes for the benefit of current and future generations.
High-Rise Residential Development
An international evidence review with particular focus on how high-rise residential buildings are planned, designed, what economic and institutional factors are driving their development, what long-term social, economic and environmental impacts result from high-rise residential buildings, and how they are managed and maintained over the long-term.
Stockpiling Space: How the pandemic has increased housing inequalities between older and younger generations
This report investigates housing inequalities over the last decade and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It investigates the growing inequalities in housing assets and housing space between renters and owners, between rich and poor, and most significantly between older and younger generations, concludes that England now has two housing nations
Housing for people with dementia – are we ready?
There is an urgent need to ensure that housing is ‘dementia-ready’ from the outset. There are excellent examples of housing organisations that have developed dementia-friendly strategies or signed up to become ‘dementia friends’ , across the whole sector progress has been slow. This report sets out the key issues and recommendations.
The Homelessness Monitor: England 2021
This is a longitudinal study providing independent analysis of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments in England. This ninth annual report updates our account of how homelessness stands in England in 2020, or as close to 2020 as data availability allows. It also highlights emerging trends and forecasts some of the likely future changes, identifying the developments likely to have the most significant impacts on homelessness.
Renters on low incomes face a policy black hole: homes for social rent are the answer
The briefing looks at families who are paying private rents they cannot afford, either because they are on low incomes and spend over 30% of their income on rent, or because they have incomes so low that most will find it difficult to cover the rest of their rent after housing benefit despite rents being less than 30% of incomes.
Building Communities: planning for a clean and good growth future
This report outline how genuine community engagement through better neighbourhood plans, the use of new design codes, as well as better digital channels of communication between councils and residents, will be vital to achieving national housing targets.
The Commission into Prosperity and Community Placemaking
This report seeks to identify and develop policy and practice that enables regenerative development in ‘left behind places’. It aims to ensure that the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda is deliverable and meaningful for those who live and work in these places.
What is the role of housing associations in providing intermediate and market rented housing?
There is a growing group of people that cannot access social housing but struggle to pay full market rents or to buy and therefore end up in housing need. Housing associations are playing an important role by providing sub-market accommodation to this group.
The Homelessness Monitor: Scotland 2021
The Homelessness Monitor: Scotland 2021 is the latest edition of a longitudinal study into the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments in Scotland. This year’s Scotland Monitor is an account of how homelessness stands in Scotland in 2021, or as close to 2021 as data availability allows. It also highlights emerging trends and forecasts some of the likely future changes, identifying the developments likely to have the most significant impacts on homelessness.
Lichfields was commissioned by the Land Promoters and Developers Federation (LPDF) and the Home Builders Federation (HBF) to undertake research into how the pipeline of sites for housing development compares with what might be needed to meet the government’s ambitions for 300,000 net additional homes per annum across England.
Good homes for all: A proposal to fix England's housing
This report reveals the findings from the Good Home Inquiry, supported by the Centre for Ageing Better, that was set up in 2020 to investigate the causes of the crisis of poor-quality housing in England and determine potential policy solutions.
Delivering the community led housing pipeline in England
This report estimates that in early 2021, across England, there were around 650 active community led housing projects. These projects are planning an estimated 12,000 homes. Our projections are based on information provided by enabler hubs, using assumptions about the number of projects operating without hub support. Planned homes are focused on tenures supported by the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP), with an estimated 82% of homes planned as Affordable Rent, Shared Ownership or Social Rent.
Rethinking Housing Supply and Design
Housing is fundamental to life, security and wellbeing as well as tackling climate change and working towards a zero-carbon future. It also remains a key site of gender and intersectional inequality, with design that does not accommodate diverse needs or care responsibilities, with mortgages and rents out of reach, and a suburban ideal that requires a car for daily living and can isolate women and children in the home.
Housing in Europe 2021
This report is an opportunity to shed light on young people who, especially when they are poor, are more affected than the rest of the population by poor housing, even before the current health crisis. It also takes stock of the wave of poverty affecting all of Europe, more than a year after the start of the pandemic.
A decent place to live: Homes fit for Key Workers
This report finds, that the role of local councils in directly providing new homes has been systematically undermined for decades, leaving housing supply to a failing market system. The lack of supply and the interface with land values has a direct impact on the numbers of affordable homes available for workers to rent or buy.
Deploying modular housing in the UK: exploring the benefits and risks for the housebuilding industry
The report identifies numerous potential benefits of a shift to offsite housing construction, including the greater speed of onsite operations; higher fabrication quality; safer working conditions; improved material efficiency and reduced waste; less noise and disruption for residents and neighbours; lower labour requirements; and reduced need for onsite reworking. B
Health and wellbeing in the private rented | Enhancing capabilities part 2 | literature review
COVID-19 has exposed how housing operates as one of the key mechanisms through which social inequality translates into inequalities in health and wellbeing. This in turn raises questions on the multiple ways in which living in the private rented sector (PRS) impacts upon tenants’ wellbeing.
Homes in Community Hands: Year Two evaluation report
This evaluation seeks to understand the impact of Power to Change's funding on the community-led housing sector (CLH), and specifically on those organisations receiving grants to support and develop housing schemes. It will focus principally on the five urban areas where Power to Change is concentrating its Homes in Community Hands grant funding.
Health and wellbeing in the private rented sector part 1 | literature review
This report is the first output of a project that explores the relationship between living in the private rented sector and subjective wellbeing. It features an overview of key themes from the literature and from interviews with key experts. The second output will include findings from in-depth interviews with 53 tenants.
Renting during the covid-19 pandemic in Great Britain: the experiences of private tenants
This report examines the renting experiences of 60 private tenants in Great Britain; a related output focuses on their demands to the government. The study focuses on a particular subgroup of private renters, those who were engaged or interested in tenant activism, broadly understood, and who are therefore more vocal and active in enunciating their vision of the future.
Scaling up institutional investment for place-based impact
This research found that across £326 billion of Local Government Pensions Schemes (LGPS) in the UK, there is the potential to mobilise £16bn immediately for place-based investments like affordable housing, SME finance, regeneration, clean energy and infrastructure.
Social rented housing (England): past trends and prospects
Housing policy has focused on overall supply in recent years. There is broad consensus in the sector over this approach and various measures have been introduced to stimulate housebuilding. Commentators, however, highlight the need to deliver housing that is genuinely affordable to improve living standards and address poverty levels.
Home truths: options for reforming residential property taxes in England
This report presents the various options to reform the England’s property taxes, assessing them against both economic and political criteria. It concludes by setting out a new approach to taxing English property to mitigate the regressiveness and distortions of the current system, and help achieve government aims of building more homes, levelling up and delivering net zero.
6th Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe
This report sheds light on young people who are worse affected by housing exclusion than the rest of the population, and were so even before the current health crisis. It also takes stock of the social issues affecting all of Europe, more than a year after the start of the pandemic.
The Renters’ Reform Bill: How can the upcoming Bill best deliver for tenants and landlords? Summary Report of an Onward and Shelter Partnership
This is a summary report of a major Onward and Shelter roundtable partnership held in March 2021. The virtual roundtable event brought together leading parliamentarians and charitable experts to explore how policymakers and politicians can ensure that the
Homelessness and rough sleeping in the time of COVID-19
This study reviews how COVID-19has impacted on the problems of homelessness and rough sleeping; to clarify how policies, implementation and funding have changed; and to ask where we go from here. In particular, we look at how local authorities have changed their approach; the relationship between private renting and homelessness; and the effectiveness of the Everyone In initiative.
Towards a healthy, affordable and sustainable Built Environment
Greening Europe’s homes and public spaces is a crucial element of the EU’s strategy towards climate neutrality, and one of the pillars of the European Green Deal. But to achieve its goals, the EU will need to come up with a comprehensive strategy for energy and resource efficiency while also ensuring that sustainable homes become an affordable solution for all citizens.
Understanding supply, demand and investment in the market for retirement housing communities in England
A 'state of the nation' report for Places for People, Understanding supply, demand and investment in the market for retirement housing communities, explores the current constraints on the market for specialised housing for older people. It calls for national clarity and a government-led vision for the future of retirement housing. In the light of the diversity of needs and preferences of older people, the report also makes recommendations for local authorities, as well as for house builders and developers.
What is affordable housing?
This briefing paper considers how affordable housing is defined in England and looks at key trends in the affordability of different tenure types. It examines the supply of affordable housing and the role of Housing Benefit in enabling households to access and retain affordable housing.
A report into the lived experience of Community-Led Housing (CLH) schemes during the lockdown
This report looks at the experiences of co-operative and community-led housing schemes across Wales during the pandemic. It reveals how schemes have provided a supportive, safe environment for people through these unprecedented times.
Homelessness and Welfare Benefits in London: Practical guidance for people working to improve local responses to homelessness
This report concludes that a lack of available, affordable accommodation will make it difficult to move people on from emergency accommodation after the pandemic. A combination of the frozen Local Housing Allowance and the benefits cap means that people simply cannot afford the property that is available.
Housing with Care Grey Paper
This paper, which features essays and policy recommendations from 14 high-profile authors including politicians from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and SNP, says “the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the urgent need to provide better support for older and more vulnerable people”, and that “we have a duty to transform our housing and care provision so that it provides security, dignity, health and flourishment in later life”.
Fast Growth Cities — 2021 and beyond
This new research looks at the cities’ development within the context of the pandemic and outlines how an increase in investment can unlock their further growth and future success. The report focuses on six key areas: labour markets, skills and education; business and growth; high streets and city centres; housing and planning; transport; and the economic impact of the pandemic.
Investigation into the housing of rough sleepers during the COVID-19 pandemic
This investigation is part of a programme of work undertaking by the NAO to support Parliament’s scrutiny of the government’s response to COVID-19. In this report the NAO sets out the steps taken by the Government in rehousing rough sleepers in England during the pandemic, focusing particularly on the steps taken at the outset of the pandemic.
Resilience in the housing system
This is an interim report outlining the preliminary evidence of a project that seeks to examine the evolution of the housing system between the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the COVID-19 pandemic, and its early impacts. The project seeks to establish whether key market institutions were more resilient going into the COVID-19 pandemic than into the GFC
Housing First: tackling homelessness for those with complex needs
Housing First (HF) is a homelessness intervention strategy, aimed at people with multiple and complex needs, particularly rough sleepers. It provides access to permanent housing as a starting point to help tackle their non-housing needs as well. HF is often contrasted with “linear”, “stairway” and “treatment first” schemes, which proponents argue can result in high rates of attrition and a lack of appropriate service support due to the need for users to meet certain requirements before moving into stable independent housing.
Transforming how we build homes
This report by the Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH), shows encouraging results and key learnings for the construction sector. AIMCH is a three-year research & development project aiming to help tackle the UK housing crisis by building new homes faster, to higher quality and more cost effectively than masonry methods using panelised MMC systems.
What we want: Future-proofing retirement housing in England
This report highlights that the retirement community sector will need substantial growth over the next 20 years just to keep up with age-related growth; with respect to those aged 65+ in England, this means a boost of 37.3% by 2040. Progress should also be urgently made, with an 8.8% increase by 2025 to keep up with trends.
Preventing Homelessness in Scotland
The independent Prevention Review Group (PRG) was set up at the request of Scottish Government to take forward work on preventing homelessness identified by the independent Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group and the subsequent Scottish Government / COSLA Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan published in 2018. The Group’s task was to identify legal duties on local authorities and other public bodies to prevent homelessness.
The covid-19 crisis response to homelessness in Great Britain
This is an interim report into a comparative examination of responses to homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis across England, Scotland and Wales. This report focuses on the period from the start of the initial lockdown in the UK (March 2020), until the end of the year (December 2020), with a particular focus on policy and practice responses during the initial lockdown period
Helping Generation Rent become Generation Buy
This paper’s contribution to the housing policy debate is to outline the policies that are needed on the demand side. Too often, on the demand side, the Government’s policy interventions have resulted in higher house prices, exacerbating the challenge facing buyers. Now, there needs to be a shift away from direct interventions such as help to buy or temporary freezes in stamp duty
Shared Ownership Market Review 2020
The research found most people buying shared ownership homes are in the 20-40 age bracket and single-adult households make up 50% of buyers. In 2018/19 the average market value of shared ownership properties was £265,000, with the average initial stake purchased being 42% and a deposit of £24,000. Demand for shared ownership properties exceeds supply in some instances by as much as 10 to 1.
Older and Wiser - a practical guide to commissioning, developing and operating age friendly homes
This guide looks to address society’s failure to provide suitable homes for the ageing population by setting out a range of practical suggestions with 16 case studies demonstrating diverse solutions and inspired thinking.
Who lives in Build to Rent?
This report suggests that the Build-to-Rent schemes in the capital are attracting a variety of tenants through a combination of high-quality homes, predictable rents, and world-class communal spaces and services, with the sector becoming an increasingly important part of London’s housing market.
Almshouses: a model of community housing for an ageing population
This research takes a future-focused approach to almshouses, looking at recent developments to inform housing provision in the 21st century. It explores their distinct and valuable contribution to housing older people and to inform built environment and housing professionals, including architects and surveyors, funders, local authority housing and planning officers, prospective partner organisations, Homes England and the UK government.