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Key worker housing and the post-crisis housing market

Scanlon, Kathleen (2011) Key worker housing and the post-crisis housing market. In: International Visurf Nordic-Baltic Colloquium: Visions of residential futures: housing in transformation, 2011-09-22 - 2011-09-23, Göteborg, Sweden.

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During the prolonged housing-market boom that began in the 1990s, ‗key workers‘ had increasing difficulty finding affordable housing in major cities. Key workers are usually defined as public-sector employees on standard pay scales which do not reflect differences in local costs of living. Typically the definition encompasses nurses, police officers and teachers at a minimum. Key workers are a subset of the intermediate market—that is, households that cannot afford market housing prices (particularly for owner-occupation) in high-cost areas like London, but earn too much to access social housing. This paper examines the evolution of English policy for housing key workers since 1990. It discusses the various tools employed to increase the provision of such housing including dedicated residential developments (usually relatively small, high-density flats) and the development of shared-equity schemes that allow qualified workers to purchase a proportion of a property while paying rent on the rest. On the one hand these developments increase the diversity of housing provision in affected areas, as they lead to the creation of (relatively) low-cost dwellings in generally high-cost areas. On the other, however, they can result in a kind of housing monoculture where all the residents of a block do the same job. The paper describes some examples of key-worker housing in London. It evaluates evidence about what kind of housing key workers aspire to, and whether the schemes available meet their requirements. Finally, the effects of the global financial crisis and the concurrent housing-market decline are examined. Have house-price falls solved the key-worker housing problem for the moment? Is there still an argument for dedicated key-worker schemes?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Nordic-Baltic Researcher Network VISURF supported by NordForsk
Divisions: LSE London
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2014 10:31
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2021 23:14

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