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Current housing needs and supply

Social housing register backlog

One of the first sources to use when looking at the backlog of housing need is the housing register. It is helpful if a common housing register is in place, although it is still possible to assess multiple housing registers. Housing registers contain useful information on applicant preferences, property types and sizes required which can be used to inform the backlog of housing need.

There are some caveats when looking at housing register data.

Firstly if your housing register contains transfer applications, ensure that your lettings data also contains transfer lets (and vice versa). Your backlog will be heavily skewed if one data source contains transfers and the other doesn’t.

Secondly if you do not have a common housing register, you will need to obtain the waiting list for each Registered Social Landlord. If you are unable to remove double counting between registers, you will need to carry out two assessments; one based on the largest register and one based on the total combined registers. The actual backlog will be somewhere between these two figures.

Thirdly, if possible, split the adapted or accessible housing need into two categories; those requiring minor retrofit applications and those requiring a purpose built adapted property. Incorporate the former into the general needs figures and keep the latter separate.

Finally, although housing registers are a useful source of data, they can include a number of households who are not in housing need. For example, the lowest band or those that have only accumulated waiting time points. It is important that these are removed prior to conducting the calculations.

Depending on your housing register IT system, you may need to remove duplicate entries from your waiting list output. In such cases, there should be a unique reference such as an application number to help you do this. The following tutorials will go through this process. Please note, if your output does not include duplicates or uses first choice area, for example, you will not need to carry out this step.

Step 1 – Removing duplicates

Step 2 – Calculating proportionate demand

Social housing register supply

To offset the existing backlog it is important to consider the number of lets that will come forward from existing housing stock together with newly committed housing supply. This involves two stages, firstly taking an average of the three last years of lets made. It is important to look back over three years to remove any abnormalities such as newly built development or temporary local lettings policies. Secondly, it is important to forecast new developments or other schemes that are due to come forward in the next five years. Both of these sources will need to be broken down by area, tenure and type of property. The next two tutorials show you how to take an average of three years worth of lets and to add in the committed supply.

Step 1 – Averaging lets and adding committed supply

Step 2 – Adding in committed supply

Low cost home ownership/Intermediate housing register data – backlog

As well as the social housing register, you may also record a register of intermediate housing need i.e. Low Cost Home Ownership or intermediate rent. This should include fields such as areas of preference, household income, household size and savings. This is another important source to consider when assessing the backlog of housing need, subject to the caveats below. However, you may skip this step if you do not keep a register of these households.

It is useful to have a first choice area, because this stage requires a more detailed analysis of household affordability in different areas.

Similarly, you need indicative household income and savings data; a re-registration would be necessary if this isn’t held.

It is advisable to ask whether households are also registered on any social housing registers to ensure they aren’t double counted.

It is advisable to ask whether households would be willing to accept intermediate rent in the event that an initial analysis shows they may not be able to afford LCHO at present.

If you do not have a separate allocations policy for LCHO, make a policy decision on the unit type you would class as ‘entry level’ for first time buyers in your authority. i.e. two bedroom terraced house or flat etc.

The next tutorials show how to assess affordability considerations amongst those households in intermediate housing need.

Step 1 – LCHO backlog

Step 2 – Intermediate rent backlog

Low cost home ownership/Intermediate housing register data – supply

As well as assessing the supply of socially rented units, it is also important to consider any LCHO or intermediate rented units due to come forward over the LHMA period. If your authority uses a tenure neutral model, it will be necessary to estimate the ultimate tenure of those units for the purposes of this exercise. Some of the main sources of data to use are the social housing grant programme, section 106 contributions due to come forward, housing association self build programmes and private sector leasing schemes.

As turnover is much lower amongst these unit types it is not necessary to take an average over past years. The following tutorial shows you how to complete this step.

Step 1 – Calculating supply