The forgotten households - Is intermediate housing meeting affordable housing needs?

By: Nicola Hughes  Published: July 2010

In this policy discussion paper we look at the intermediate housing market. Intermediate housing products have grown dramatically in scale and profile since 2005 as part of a drive towards increasing home ownership among those who cannot afford to buy a home outright. The intermediate market aims to bridge the gap between renting and owning, and over the past five years, it has taken up a huge amount of state subsidy and political rhetoric.


There is clearly a group of low-income households currently receiving little or no state support for housing: they are neither in the lowest income bracket and thus able to access housing benefit and/or social housing, nor are they homeowners, who receive a range of tax advantages through their home ownership, nor can they afford or access low-cost home ownership.

By Shelter’s estimates, this group amounts to more than 866,000 working households. Constrained public finances mean that it is unfeasible to extend state-supported housing schemes to everyone in this group, so, Shelter asks, who should be prioritised, why, and what support should they be given?