THE agenda item by Professor Kenneth Gibb (“Working together to help pinpoint long-term solutions for housing”, The Herald, April 14) is both timely and excellent in provoking consideration about the supply of housing. I think it is widely understood that the demand and supply balance in the housing market has been unstable since the late 2000s. In particular it is in the starter homes market that most imbalance is evident.
There is a particular element to this which I believe needs careful thought. In the late 1980s I worked for Irvine Development Corporation, and my main responsibility was to market land for new housing development. One of the reasons new development progressed, even in tough market conditions, was that the development corporation continued developing new housing for rent. This meant that even when interest rates increased and the housing market fell flat, there was still movement in the housing supply.
Like any other growing town, the results in Irvine are not perfect but progress never stalled, and through the mix of rental and owned housing, demand was met. One of the features missing now is that the supply of new rented housing is virtually non-existent and it is my belief that this only adds to the frustration in the housing supply.
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It's fine to require house builders to provide a proportion of "affordable housing", but the numbers involved are tiny. Perhaps it's time for national and local government to take responsibility by getting involved in finding solutions and build new housing for rent.
Kenneth HW Campbell,
15 Calder Avenue, Troon.