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The influence of economic and social factors in determining housing outcomes in North Devon 2001–2011

Kerry Parr MA and Ian Higgins LLB CMCIEH

The Health and Housing Partnership LLP

Correspondence: Ian Higgins, Partner, The Health and Housing Partnership LLP, St. Nicholas House, 31–34 High Street, Bristol BS1 2AW. Email: ian.higgins@thhp.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)7584 436439


This research study was commissioned in order to provide an evidence-based analysis of housing need in North Devon to assist in identifying key housing priorities and challenges. It examined selected economic, social, housing and health secondary data sources with the aim of identifying key housing and health challenges in the area.

Key findings of the research included:

  • the substantial growth of the private rented sector which is increasingly housing those in greatest need and those who cannot afford to buy – for whom social housing is no longer a realistic option;
  • high tenancy turnover, caused by ending shorthold tenancies, places considerable strain on households and an unsustainable demand for housing advice and options services;
  • persistent problems of poor housing condition and non-decency associated with the private rented stock particularly in the most deprived Middle Super Output Areas (MSOAs) where the highest concentration of privately rented housing is located;
  • an ageing population, rural deprivation and geography contribute to social isolation and an increasing incidence of unpaid care;
  • significant health inequalities between the most and least deprived wards.

This paper suggests that in identifying and influencing complex housing and health deficits, it is important to understand these outcomes in the context of the underlying structure of the economy, income patterns and demographic changes.

Key words:housing need, private rented sector, housing conditions, affordability. 

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