There has been a significant rise in public support for the building of new homes in England, with it more than doubling since 2010, according to a new report issued by the National Housing Federation (NHF). Whereas Nimbyism was once the prevalent sentiment across the country, now a larger proportion of people in England support the building of new homes where they are.
Using data from the latest British Social Attitudes survey, carried out by NatCen, the NHF found that 57% of people now backed building new homes in their local area or ‘backyard’ compared to just 27% who were asked the same question back in 2010. The support rises to 73% if the new homes are described as affordable to those on average incomes. With just 18% against the building of affordable homes in their local area, the results dispel the traditional idea that many interest groups oppose local housebuilding.
Labour supporters were found to be the most supportive of all, with 83% in favour of affordable new homes being built, with 75% of Lib Dems, 72% of UKIP supporters and 64% of Conservative voters also agreeing with the idea.
There was widespread support geographically too. Two-thirds of survey respondents in all of the nine main regions in England were behind the idea of building more new affordable homes, including 65% of those who lived in more rural locations such as a ‘country village’ agreeing with the sentiment.
73% of respondents also said the government should give financial help to those on low incomes to help deal with ever rising rental costs. Many thought the government should directly intervene in the housing market in order to support the building of new homes.
There was also strong support for public land sold by the government to be prioritised for the construction of new affordable homes to rent or buy (86%) rather than the construction of new homes being put on sale at full market value (9%).
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said that Britain was entering a new age of the ‘yimby’. He said: “More people are saying ‘yes, in my back yard!’ and this was across the political and geographical spectrum as well as all age groups.
“There is also a growing opinion that the government should intervene in the housing market. The public want affordable homes built. These types of new homes the public want can only be built by housing associations on the scale of construction the nation needs.
Or added that Westminster has yet to catch up with what the general public wants, saying: “We need to build what the public wants, affordable new homes across the country.”