A report published by Network Homes shows dissatisfaction with being locked out of the housing market was a major factor in the vote swing to Labour in the recent election.
The report, ‘The Tipping Point: Housing and the 2017 Election’ analyses the relationship between average house prices and the way people vote, shows that current house prices and price growth both had a significant relationship with the swing to Labour.
Opinion polls have indicated housing as one of the top three issues for just 15% of voters, but our research evidence suggests this has changed.
Other key findings of the report include:
- The swing to Labour was greatest when combined with other factors in an area, such as change in age demographics and a preference for ‘remain’ in the Brexit vote.
- The absence of access to housing and home ownership has a greater impact on wellbeing than its presence; as a sector that affects all sections of society, the more ‘losers’ housing policy creates the more potential it has to become a political issue.
- The argument is not that housing policy necessarily caused Labour’s increased vote share, but that access to housing is fundamental to giving people a sense their life is on an upwards trajectory. Soaring house prices, by creating a sense of stasis, make certain sections of society ripe for electoral targeting, which the Labour campaign better achieved.
- All parties should note that access to housing is key to giving voters a stake in society. The greater the number of people excluded from housing, the greater the potential for protest votes.
- Until now dissent about housing has been kept largely out of the ballot booth, but it appears we may now have reached the tipping point.
Simon Graham, Director of Strategy and External Affairs said: “Access to good quality affordable housing is vital to giving people a sense their life is heading in the right direction. The more people who are locked out of the opportunities that come with a good home, the more it creates the sense they are unrepresented.
“Even if housing polls as a lower priority issue, it is an important factor to giving people a stake in society, which has a knock-on effect in how they vote. And our research shows it goes some way towards explaining the election result”.