Welsh Housing Survey

We are calling on the Welsh Government and all parties that aspire to form it to introduce a Housing Survey for Wales.

Housing stakeholders in Wales agree that there is a lack of depth and breadth when it comes to key data about the sector. Policymakers need evidence to make the right decisions and get an accurate view of an industry.

As evidenced through the recent legislative process for Welsh housing bills, many of the perceptions formed by actors are influenced by anecdotal evidence. That is because there is no extensive, independent, recurring, government-commissioned research that seeks to measure a range of indicators, upon which all can agree and rely. The Housing Conditions Evidence Programme and National Survey for Wales marked a good start to collect information on the state of housing in Wales, but does not go nearly far enough in capturing other important information.

The English Housing Survey has been running for half a century. It collects information about people’s housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of housing. It’s two component surveys are a household interview and a physical inspection of a sub-sample of the properties. Each year, around 13,300 households take part in the face-to-face interview survey, with about 6,000 of the households also taking part in the physical survey.

The current contract to deliver the English Housing Survey was awarded to the National Centre for Social Research for £19,698,480, and the cost is spread over seven years and covers the delivery of five annual rounds of the survey. Given the difference in population between England and Wales, the Welsh Government would not need to spend as much or conduct as many surveys as in England.

The information the survey collects includes data on the proportion of private rented sector tenancies ended by the tenant, the levels of satisfaction among social renters, and the percentage of owner-occupied homes that are under-occupied.

The survey generates information that would have been invaluable for the several pieces of legislation passed by the Senedd and operational decisions made by the Welsh Government during the devolution era. Indeed, it would contain statistics that would be useful for the on-going possession reform Bill and in deciding how to re-shape Wales after the coronavirus pandemic passes.

Homes for All Cymru have incorporated the need for parties to commit to such a survey in the post-Covid housing plan. The NRLA call has also been backed the Chartered Institute for Housing, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors, Tai Pawb, and Propertymark.

Since the start of the campaign, we're also very pleased to have gained the support of the Welsh Conservatives, the Welsh Labour Chair of the Cross Party Group on Housing, and insurance broker Hamilton Fraser.

We believe that not only is such a means to gather data essential to good policymaking, but in re-asserting that Wales is its own law-making nation.

Therefore, we the undersigned call on all the Welsh Government and all parties that aspire to form the next, to commit themselves to introducing a Welsh Housing Survey, similar to that in place for England. We hope this will lead to more informed and evidence-based policymaking, improving the lives of everyone in Wales.

If you support this campaign, then please share this statement with your local and regional candidates for the Senedd/Welsh Parliament ahead of the election in May 2021.

You can read an article from NRLA Policy Director Chris Norris on the Welsh Housing Quarterly website about the merits of the survey. You can read the annoucement and NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle's comments here.

Read the article from Mike Hedges MS (Lab, Swansea East), Chair of the Cross Party Group for Housing and Laura Jones MS (Con, South Wales East), Shadow Housing Minister, in support of a Welsh Housing Survey.