Abstract for: London’s Housing Crisis

One does not need to be an expert in housing to be concerned about the severity of the current housing crisis in London. An overwhelming majority of the city’s population face the predicament of deteriorating housing affordability. Median house prices are now more than ten times median incomes, additions to the stock are insufficient, and prices are volatile. In the search for remedies, well-intended solutions emerging from fragmented analyses of the problem inevitably lead to unintended consequences. The incapacity of the human mind to correctly infer the behaviour of complex systems presents a case for System Dynamics. This paper, the result of the first year of a PhD, describes the underlying socio-economic structure responsible for the Housing crisis in London. We have built a causal loop diagram of London’s housing situation which demonstrates how the interlocking of numerous reinforcing feedback loops have contributed to the house price inflation, and how the potential for a future crash is essentially built into the system. We contend that this type of conceptualisation can help prevent the typical ‘blame game’ going on in various circles, and focus resources on overhauling the broken system via designing and implementing a concerted package of transformative policies.