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Keywords:

  • development;
  • housing costs;
  • localism;
  • planning controls;
  • National Planning Policy Framework;
  • NIMBYism

Housing costs in the UK have exploded in recent decades. Contrary to what is often claimed, this has nothing to do with population density, demographics or a lack of public housing. A review of the empirical literature shows that the key determinant of housing costs is the severity of planning restrictions. Faced with a well-organised NIMBY opposition, the coalition failed in its attempt to make the planning system more development-friendly. This is not surprising, because the current system provides incentives which make NIMBYism a rational option. The coalition ought to address these incentives rather than trying to sidestep them.