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Exploring the Impact of the Recession on British Volume Housebuilders: A Behavioural Analysis

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The 2008/2009 recession had a pronounced impact on the financial performance, stability and output of Britain's volume housebuilders, leading to a historic decline in new housing supply. Whereas current policy ambitions signal the need for a substantial increase in speculative housing provision, little is known about how the recession affected the attitudes and motivations of Britain's volume housebuilders or what such behavioural legacies might mean for post-recession housing delivery. Indeed, whilst the British economy and housing market are showing positive signs of recovery and growth, speculative housebuilding completions remain well below policy ambitions. It is therefore unclear whether Britain's volume housebuilders, in light of their recessionary experiences, have the capacity to deliver such a step change in housing supply. In addressing this gap in knowledge, this paper examines the recessionary attitudes and motivations of Britain's biggest housebuilders and, in doing so, outlines a number of key challenges that may confront policy-makers and the housebuilders themselves in their attempts to meet the housing needs of a post-recession Britain.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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