The impact of migration on housing requirements

Edited by Richard Bate, Richard Best and Alan Holmans

Population movements within England are uneven. The major cities and the north of England as a whole are losing more people than they are gaining.

This is placing pressure for new housing on rural areas, especially in southern England, and damaging the “urban renaissance”. Superimposed on the pattern of internal migration is international migration, which adds substantially to the population each year, especially in London. If meeting the future housing needs and demands implied by these trends is a problem, so are the alternatives. Should the government step in to change the stimuli to migration, and if so, how? How quickly and on what scale could changes be achieved?

At present, there is not even an official forum for discussing migration, let alone agreement on what should be done. This report arises from a seminar organised by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in September 1999 to discuss migration. It shows broadly who is migrating, where from and where to. It identifies some of the consequences for the housing market and the need for affordable housing provision, for the receiving areas and the losing areas, for employment and for regional development. It asks whether migration should be viewed as a problem and, if so, what the options might be for ‘doing something’. Above all, it offers an interpretation of the current evidence on migration rather than a ‘solution’.

The report includes all the papers presented to the seminar, together with an overview and commentaries arising from the discussion on the day. It offers an accessible introduction to an issue of rising importance for housing supply, economic planning, urban renewal and sustainable development.

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