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This report looks at whether higher 'affordable rents', pegged to market rents, for social housing will be affordable to different households in different locations. It discusses definitions of affordability, and recommends and employs a combined residual-income and rent-income-ratio measure. It draws on administrative data from CORE to describe recent trends in affordability measures in new social housing lettings.

The latter part of the report describes a modelling approach that brings together data on current and future rents with new estimates of household net income to evaluate the affordability of possible new rent levels in different districts. It find there are considerable numbers of working households who cannot afford an open-market rent but who would find a rent at 80, 70 or 60% of market rents affordable. It also looks at the interaction of potential new higher rent levels with the total benefit cap proposed by the government, and notes that for many larger households, the new rents risk putting them over this limit.


Alex Fenton

Connie Tang

Christine Whitehead

Publication Date

July 2011