Voters back rise in house building as NIMBY attitudes change

The not-in-my-backyard-attitude (NIMBY) of people to housing developments in their backyards has undergone a radical change in the UK.

A new poll that measured the impact of the current housing crisis on public attitudes shows that British people have gone from being anti-housing to being pro.

ComRes carried out the research on behalf of the Centre for Policy Studies, quizzing 2,036 adults on how they feel about potential housing developments in their area. By 48 percent to 33 percent, those polled said they would support more houses being built locally.

Those in favour of more development crossed all ages, social classes and political persuasions, but the only area where people polled were against more housing being built was in the south-east.

Developing green belt still unpopular

Meanwhile, 69 percent of voters agreed that house prices close to them were too high, from 79 percent of Londoners to 45 percent of those polled in the north-east.

But while voters are keen to see more homes built, they are less sure of where those developments should be. Using the green belt around railway stations and other existing infrastructure or allowing construction on the least attractive land within the green belt were both unpopular suggestions.

What voters did say if that they’d support housing developments if local communities got more of the benefits and if the homes were high quality.

Home ownership remains popular with a majority of those quizzed, no matter their age, backing buying a house as preferable to renting.

Fixing the housing crisis a priority

Robert Colvile, director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: “Unsurprisingly, this polling backs up the assumption that people want houses they can afford and think that house price inflation has gone way too far.

“What’s interesting about this poll is that a significant majority, 48 percent of voters, support more homes being built in their local area. This is a huge shift from attitudes even a few years ago where NIMBYism was the clear winner.

“It’s clear from this polling that if this Government is to win over ordinary working people, fixing the housing crisis should be top of ministers’ to-do list.”