Optimising socially owned land to boost the supply of social homes

Housing Beige house
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
ProjectsMarch 20th, 2024

Unlocking the supply of affordable land is key to increasing the supply of homes at a fair and affordable rent

The Welsh Government has a target to build 20,000 social homes between 2021 and 2026. However, progress towards the target is slow with figures suggesting 5,775 properties delivered since 2021, for rent in the social sector across Wales (although this also includes intermediate rentals and shared ownership)This is around half the delivery rate needed to achieve the target.  

One of the main barriers to the construction of social and community homes is the cost and availability of land. Unlocking the supply of affordable land is therefore key to increasing the supply of homes at a fair and affordable rent.

Housing Justice Cymru has been identifying land in faith organisation ownership that is suitable for development for these purposes and brokering arrangements with registered social landlords and community groups to develop it. Cwmpas offer support and advice to organisations looking to develop community-led housing schemes. There is considerable potential to develop and scale up this work, including the use of land held by other socially owned organisations and a more strategic approach being taken for the disposal of publicly owned land.  


Working with Housing Justice Cymru and Cwmpas, we aim to: 

  • Understand why land supply is a significant barrier to the development of new social and community-led homes
  • Show the potential of land held by different types of social and public owners to enable development
  • Encourage the Welsh Government to recognise the benefits of the development of socially- and publicly owned land for social and community-led housing and to adopt a more strategic approach.

What we’re doing

  • Exploring the human cost of land shortages, increasing homelessness levels and use of temporary accommodation
  • Analysing existing data to demonstrate the shortfall in social housing delivery and make estimates on the potential of social and publicly owned land
  • Holding conversations with key stakeholders involved in housing development including social landlords, local authority planners, professional bodies and agents
  • Making recommendations on the actions required to release land, shift public policy, legislation funding and practice.

Planned Outputs 

  • A briefing paper on the need for intervention
  • A research report and launch event
  • Active dissemination and raising of awareness.


The project is funded by the Nationwide Foundation.


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