As with all previous editions, this 26th UK Housing Review draws together key financial and related data about both public and private housing in the United Kingdom and assembles them in a coherent and accessible format. The structure of the Review, and its limited text, aim above all to provide a guide to the data that have been assembled.

Section 1: Contemporary Issues opens this year's Review by discussing three topics of considerable political interest. Peter Williams and Steve Wilcox examine the impact of government efforts to assist first-time buyers and consider what effect they are having on the wider housing market. Mark Stephens looks at how planning policies contribute towards housing supply, and particularly at concerns about delays in implementing planning permissions, issues about how affordable housing requirements are included in schemes of market housing, and how the problems might be tackled. In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, several national reappraisals of the future of social housing are taking place, and John Perry and Mark Stephens offer the Review's contribution to the debate by considering how the purpose of social housing has changed over the past 50 years and is changing currently.

The six chapters of Section 2: Commentary discuss key developments in policy, financial provision and outputs drawn from the main Compendium of Tables. They also provide a reference to other publications and data offering useful insights into current policy issues. Of this year's six Commentary Chapters, Mark Stephens wrote Chapter 1, Steve Wilcox wrote Chapters 2 and 6, Peter Williams wrote Chapter 3 and John Perry wrote Chapter 4. Chapter 5 was a joint effort from the Heriot-Watt University team of Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Beth Watts and Mark Stephens.

As in all previous editions, the Review's Compendium of Tables draws on a wide range of expenditure plans and departmental reports, as well as official or other statistical volumes, survey reports, web portals and publications based on specific research projects. Many of the statistical data presented here can be accessed in a variety of published or publicly available statistical series; sources are acknowledged against each table in the Compendium. A number of tables are constructed from databases not routinely published elsewhere. Gillian Young, Alan Lewis and Paul Cosgrove (the latter also from Heriot-Watt University) have very ably compiled the tables and have introduced some improvements to this year's Compendium.

The Review's updated roll-call of post-war housing ministers in England, compiled by the authors, appears inside the front cover.

A longer perspective

Many of the tables in the Review provide data over a long time-series. Wherever possible they start in 1970, providing data at five-year intervals for the years to 1995 or 2000, with annual data for more recent years. The precise range of the years covered varies from table to table, depending on data availability and the practicality of setting out data in a readable form. Even with its landscape format, there are limits to the number of years' data that the Review can fit onto a single page. Sometimes with modifications, most of the tables have been carried in all previous editions, and readers can consult back copies for data for the individual years between 1981 and 1995 that are no longer published. However, they should exercise care as in some cases data for earlier years may subsequently have been revised, e.g. as a result of changes in definitions. A cross-check of the data for those years still published in the current edition of the Review will generally indicate whether or not this is an issue. A small number of new tables have been introduced and old ones omitted in this edition.


The Review contains several tables covering the regions of England, many for the long-established standard statistical regions (SSRs). For some time, government statistics have been published primarily on the basis of the former government office regions (GORs). This presents difficulties in providing a consistent long run of regional data. Wherever possible, current data for standard regions have been sought. This has not always been possible, and in some cases the Review includes recent data for GORs together with earlier data for SSRs. This is indicated in the tables concerned.

There have been changes in the nomenclature of government office regions in the past; they are now generally shown in the Review under their current names. However, these names are not always used in our source documents or datasets, and we have followed the practice in the latest editions of our sources, rather than impose a uniform usage.

One further point on English regional housing statistics is that, with the idiosyncratic decision by the MHCLG to stop including such figures in its own official statistics, their continued compilation and inclusion (where possible) in the Review has become even more valuable.

Government departments and other bodies

Over the course of time, government departments are restructured or change their names. Over the years of the Review's publication the department responsible for housing in England has had numerous titles, and is now the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. A similar change has taken place in Northern Ireland (to the Department for Communities). The Homes and Communities Agency has now become simply Homes England, and of the main trade bodies the Council of Mortgage Lenders has now joined the British Bankers' Association and others to form UK Finance.

Several of these changes are recent and while they are reflected in the Review's text they have not yet been updated in most of the tables. With this proviso, where data series have been made available continuously over the period covered, the reference given for that data is the current name of the responsible department or agency. Where reference is made to historical data the source is normally the name of the responsible department or agency at the time they were initially published in the Review.

The UK Housing Review website

The whole body of tables in the Review, together with the Commentary Chapters (but not the Contemporary Issues articles), are available on the Review's website (

Comments and suggestions

Finally, the editors would welcome any comments or suggestions on the current and future format and contents of the Review, and they can be contacted by email, phone or letter - see Acknowledgements.