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Housing: trends in prices, costs and tenure

Chris Belfield, Daniel Chandler and Robert Joyce
Briefing note

This briefing note looks at changes in the cost of housing for different groups, distinguishing between the purchase price of houses, regular spending on housing costs, and concepts of ‘affordability’ with respect to both house purchases and regular housing costs. It then looks at changes in housing circumstances, with a focus on tenure and dwelling size, and considers how these might be related to trends in prices and the balance of demand and supply. It concludes by reflecting on the policy challenges that these trends present.

This briefing note forms part of the IFS election 2015 analysis, funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

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Observation
The UK has witnessed a substantial and sustained increase in house prices since the 1990s. This long-term rise in house prices, and the financial crisis which led to falls in real incomes and reduced availability of high loan-to-value mortgages, are perhaps the main causes of widespread concern ...