Strategic Housing Market Assessments

Housing Estate ORS has been undertaking whole-market housing assessments for over 15-years, and our long-standing approach fits well with the requirements of Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMAs) set out in the CLG Practice Guidance (August 2007) and Local Housing Market Assessments (LHMAs) set out in the WAG Practice Guidance (March 2006).

We have extensive experience having worked on over 30 assessments and provided evidence to over 75 local planning authorities, as well as the Greater London Authority to inform the London Plan.

ORS has also undertaken three region-wide SHMA reviews – covering the East of England, South East and East Midlands regions – which evaluated the local and sub-regional work undertaken. The reviews have shaped our perceptions about what constitutes good practice in SHMAs and a range of issues have emerged which may help practitioners when they update their local assessment.


The ORS SHMA Approach

Our typical approach is based on extensive use of our databases of secondary data sources – including licenced data not typically published. We also recognise the importance of the use of primary data surveys – but only where there is a clear business case to show this is necessary.

In order to maximise the value of the available data, we use our Housing Mix Model (informed exclusively by secondary data sources) or alternatively the Housing Market Model (a well-established micro simulation model for analysing survey data). Both models were developed by ORS, and our models have withstood scrutiny at numerous planning inquiries.

These extensive data resources are then coupled with a proven methodology for actively engaging with stakeholders that relates their feedback to the wider evidence base.

A recent South West Regional Assembly review of the ORS work for the Exeter and Torbay sub-regions concluded that:

  • the SHMAs clearly satisfied the relevant criteria
  • the SHMAs delivered good practice and innovation in relation to affordable housing strategy, migration and older persons issues
  • elements could be “used as best practice examples”

What are the key building blocks for a successful SHMA?

Be clear on your approach and what you hope to deliver: Adapting a traditional Housing Needs Survey methodology often provides a less robust evidence base.

Focus on producing the Core Outputs: Data needs to be used wisely to avoid overwhelming the process with too much detailed information.

Consider the wider strategic landscape of housing: Many studies still do not embrace the wider housing market strategy issues expected by Guidance.

Look beyond your home boundaries: Data is not typically restricted to housing market boundaries, so information is also available about neighbouring areas which can provide wider strategic context about your area.

Practice Guidance emphasises the use of secondary data: Contextual data can be gathered from a range of sources, but you will also need to have analytical expertise to derive the Core Outputs. External support can really help here.

Practice Guidance sets out the need for a clear business case before gathering primary data: SHMAs based on extensive surveys can be costly (especially where done properly) and have limitations in terms of read across and time series.

Primary data is still very useful for understanding some changes, such as the growth of the private rented sector: Consider if you already have a corporate survey where these questions could be asked cost effectively.

Secondary data is updated often: Use this to monitor and update key SHMA indicators and wider market features to get a faster strategic response.

Don’t get lost in the detail: Make sure that you focus on the key messages particularly relevant to your area and where policies might help.


Evaluative Reviews

South East England Regional Partnership Board
SEEPB logo Working in partnership with Three Dragons and Roger Tym and Partners, ORS undertook a detailed review of Strategic Housing Market Assessments and Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments undertaken by housing market partnerships across the South East region.

Government Office East Midlands and the East Midlands Regional Assembly
GOEM logo A project jointly completed by Savills and ORS on behalf of Government Office East Midlands and other regional bodies in the East Midlands to review the development and use of sub-regional Strategic Housing Market Assessments by housing market partnerships across the region.

East of England Regional Assembly
EERA logo A quality assesssment undertaken by Savills and ORS to identify innovation and good practice in Strategic Housing Market Assessments that had been conducted across the East of England region, including the production of a toolkit to assist local authorities involved in delivering future SHMAs.


Strategic Housing Market Assessments

Greater London SHMA
GLA logo An important all-London assessment commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) to identify the number and mix of dwellings necessary to meet current and future housing requirements across the region. The study builds on the previous Greater London Housing Requirements Study successfully completed by ORS in 2004. Read more...

South East London SHMA
SE London Housing Partnership logo This project involved producing a sub-regional SHMA for five boroughs across South East London. The study was primarily underwritten by 7,350 face-to-face interviews undertaken across Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark. Each borough received a local Housing Requirements Study and then the combined dataset was used to inform an integrated sub-regional SHMA.

Birmingham City SHMA
Birmingham CC logo A Strategic Housing Market Assessment for the City of Birmingham and its six sub-markets, which is fully compliant with all aspects of the August 2007 CLG Guidance. ORS has subsequently been appointed to undertake three detailed Local Housing Market Assessments to profile selected localities across the city.

Exeter SHMA and Torbay SHMA
Devon CC logo Strategic Housing Market Assessments for the housing market areas of Exeter and Torbay which cover five local authorities and Dartmoor National Park Authority. The studies were based on a combined sample of 3,740 personal interviews and were fully compliant with all aspects of the August 2007 CLG Practice Guidance. Read more...

Neath Port Talbot SHMA
Neath Port Talbot CBC logo This study was a comprehensive and integrated SHMA undertaken to inform local policies, in particular relating to the housing strategy and investment programme and planning policies surrounding affordable housing provision. Alongside the primary study, we also undertook more detailed analysis of the housing needs of people with support needs, older persons, BME communities, migrant workers and Key Workers.

Milton Keynes SHMA
Milton Keynes Council logo A unique project commissioned by Milton Keynes Council and jointly sponsored by English Partnerships to actively monitor the constantly evolving Milton Keynes housing market. 2,400 personal interviews were completed in early 2006 as a base sample for the study, with a further 800 personal interviews are being conducted each subsequent year to accurately monitor annual changes in the housing market. Read more...


Project Portfolio

ORS has undertaken all of the following regional, sub-regional and local Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMAs), Housing Market Assessments (HMAs) and Local Housing Market Assessments (LHMAs) since the relevant Practice Guidance was published.

  • Bath and North East Somerset SHMA
  • Bedfordshire and Luton SHMA - Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton
  • Bexley HMA
  • Birmingham City SHMA
  • Bromley HMA
  • Central Lincolnshire SHMA - Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey
  • Ceredigion LHMA (Evidence Base)
  • Coastal Lincolnshire SHMA - Boston and East Lindsey
  • Croydon HMA
  • East London SHMA - Barking & Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest
  • Exeter SHMA - Devon County, East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, Teignbridge and Dartmoor National Park
  • Greater London SHMA - Greater London Authority
  • Greater Norwich SHMA (Evidence Base) - Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk
  • Greenwich HMA
  • Ladyport HMA - Birmingham
  • Lewisham SHMA
  • London Commuter Belt (East) SHMA - Brentwood, Broxbourne, East Hertfordshire, Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford
  • London Commuter Belt (West) SHMA - Dacorum, Hertfordshire County, Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers, Watford and Welwyn Hatfield
  • Longbridge HMA - Birmingham
  • Merton HMA
  • Milton Keynes SHMA
  • Neath Port Talbot LHMA
  • Newham SHMA
  • North Kent SHMA - Gravesham, Medway and Swale
  • North London SHMA - Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Westminster
  • North Hertfordshire SHMA
  • Redbridge HMA
  • South East London SHMA - Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark
  • South East Wales LHMA - Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen
  • Southwark HMA
  • Swansea Bay LHMA - Neath Port Talbot and Swansea
  • Thames Gateway South Essex SHMA - Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend and Thurrock
  • Torbay SHMA
  • West Cornwall SHMA (Evidence Base) - Carrick, Kerrier, Penwith and Restormel former local authorities
  • West London SHMA - Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Kensington & Chelsea
  • West Northamptonshire SHMA - Northampton, South Northamptonshire and Wellingborough