New publication: Innovative financing of affordable housing

Public funding cuts and scarce mortgage credit have made it much more difficult to finance the supply of new affordable housing. This new study by the Joseph Rowntree foundation, co-authored by Professor Mark Stephens, highlights promising policies from the UK and abroad that provide innovative funding ideas to increase the supply of below-market-price housing.

Download JRF paper

Innovative financing of affordable housing

Kenneth Gibb, Duncan Maclennan and Mark Stephens

Key points

  • The general shift upmarket to supply shallower subsidy and affordable rather than social housing means higher rents and more limited security of tenure. This will have profound consequences for people on low incomes.
  • This movement, amplified by innovations found elsewhere, suggests a number of emerging themes. On the one hand, there is a desire to use more state-backed guarantees, encourage competition among providers, sweat existing assets and encourage alternative sources of provider income. On the other hand, opportunities also exist to ‘blend’ different subsidies creatively and encourage solidarity-based co-operation among providers.
  • In the longer term, fundamental market failures such as in the land and credit markets will need addressing, and funding programmes for social housing prioritised if rising housing need is to be met. This will need to be part of a clear, overarching policy vision identifying the overall mix of policies, which would also need to include how they are to be delivered and by whom.