New analysis reveals extent of housing crisis in North of England


Residents in the North West of England can expect to wait an average of 39 years for council housing because of pressures on supply, new analysis by CIPFA reveals today. This is compared to an average waiting time in the East and West Midlands of between 8 – 10 years.

CIPFA’s new housing analytics tool, Housing 360, also showed that, despite the North West having the highest numbers of households on council waiting lists outside London, the region has also been one of the lowest growth areas for affordable homes over the last six years.

In the North East, the region has seen the highest loss of council-owned social housing stock, with a nearly 19% reduction in council homes since 2013, with the North West having lost just over 12% of its stock over the same period. Other regions have experienced smaller losses, ranging from just over 1% in the South East to just over 6% in the South West.

While the proportion of homeless households has increased across all regions, in the last year the regions with the highest proportion of homeless households on their waiting lists are Yorkshire and the Humber, the South West and the North East, with levels of homelessness greater than London.

CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman said:

“Our analysis shines a light on the regional disparities you can see across the country when it comes to council housing. With COVID-19 impacting differently from region to region, this disparities are only going to become starker.

“CIPFA’s new Housing 360 tools provides councils with both the reflective and predictive data models needed to plan for the medium to long-term as the full impact of coronavirus on the sector becomes apparent.”

Housing 360, from which this analysis derives, is a suite of new tools from CIPFA that pool an extensive range of housing data, allowing both historic and predictive analysis, to support local authorities in addressing and meeting local housing needs and better understanding their housing resilience.

Richard Norris, Senior Finance Manager – Housing, Central Bedfordshire Council, said:

“The main issue with existing benchmarking tools is the dependence on individual authorities submitting their own data, meaning stats can be inflated or supressed to project a certain view of performance.

“In Housing 360, the data can’t be distorted, giving a more reliable view of how we’re performing against similar organisations. It also makes the data accessible, allowing directors and councillors to extract what they need to make vital decisions on housing in our area.”


For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on T: 020 7543 5737 or E:

Our full analysis of regional housing trends can be found here: Regional Housing stats.pdf

In 2018, the government announced it would scrap the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap on council housing investment, with the intention to provide extra borrowing headroom to support local authorities to build more houses, contributing to the 300,000 per annum target.

CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money. 

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