The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Affordable housing

Our research brings together leading researchers, industry experts and public sector stakeholders to provide solutions to the global social challenge of affordable housing.

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Overview | Resources | Events and conferences | People


Housing unaffordability not only leads to segregation and inequality within communities but also is a major obstacle to productivity and economic growth. The supply of housing at affordable levels does in most cases not occur naturally and requires government intervention. There are various affordable housing policies aiming at new supply of owner occupied housing (Help-to-Buy, Shared Ownership) and rental housing at sub-market rents used in the UK.

The rental market is less well understood and heavily depends on the institutional framework of each country. With restrictive public budgets, institutional investors can enter in this market and explore options to finance affordable housing developments. The role of such institutional players for affordable housing funding and financing is less well understood. The Affordable Housing Group at the BSSC brings together academics and industry stakeholders to inform housing policy and enhance public understanding of housing affordability. We organise conferences, workshops and provide policy evaluation and advisory.

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Events and conferences

BSSC Doctoral conference 2019: affordable housing and big data

In June 2019, the second BSSC Doctoral Conference took place, organised by PhD students Yunlong Huang and Thomas Weston. The theme this year was affordable housing and big data. With presentations from both academics and PhD students, a wide variety of topics related to housing and machine learning were covered, exploring areas such as affordable housing, migration and demography, and machine learning methodologies. 

Download the presentations:

The Case of Affordable Housing  - June 2018 symposium

Symposium on affordable housing - UCL, June 2018

On 22 June 2018, The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management hosted a one day symposium - The Case of Affordable Housing: Private Sector Investment in Social Infrastructure - exploring the role of private investment in housing affordability.

The symposium brought together leading academic researchers in public policy, urban planning, real estate and economics, joining representatives from local authorities and government and industry financers to explore alternative solutions to the housing affordability crisis faced by the UK and the role of private sector investment. 

Read our reflections on the symposium and watch films of the sessions.

The Case of Affordable Housing - September 2019 conference

Affordable housing conference

On 12 September, The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management held a one day international conference - The Case of Affordable Housing: a global perspective on financing and institutional ownership

The conference brought together academics and a wide range of industry stakeholders to explore global case studies focused on new tools and models for financing affordable housing, working towards viable solutions for the UK and beyond.

Read our reflections on the conference, watch films of the sessions and download the papers and presentation slides. 

UCL-KTH Symposium Series Towards Net Zero Affordable Housing – Lessons from Sweden and the UK

As part of a collaborative project between University College London (UCL) and KTH Stockholm, The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction (BSSC) hosted two hybrid virtual conferences on the pertinent topic of Net Zero and Affordable Housing. 

The first event “Towards Net Zero Affordable Housing – The Swedish Perspective” was held on Monday 14th June and was chaired by Dr Bertram Steininger (KTH). The second event “Towards Net Zero Affordable Housing – The UK Perspective” was held on Wednesday 23rd June and was chaired by Dr Stanimira Milcheva (UCL).  

The symposiums provided a platform to discuss the topic with prominent experts from academia and industry and aimed to uncover the data needs which can help us understand feasible pathways to achieving net zero in housing. 

Read our reflections on the symposium and watch recordings of the events.


A number of School academics, PhD students and honorary and affiliate staff carry out research in this area.

Professor Stanimira Milcheva

Professor Stani Milcheva's research interests lie in the intersection of housing and finance. Stani’s research is empirical and she uses both micro and macro level data to address questions related to the way housing markets function. She has investigated the linkages between markets as well as individual properties using spatial econometrics. In addition, Stani has explored the role of institutional investors and lenders for housing affordability including the rental market.

Stani is currently working on projects using US and UK data encompassing the rented sector as well as covering schemes such as shared ownership. An important characteristic of her research has been to account for linkages and spillovers of information between assets and markets.

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Nicolas Duran

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Yunlong Huang

Yunlong Huang has a background in financial modeling, advanced statistics and civil engineering, specialising in applied predictive modeling. His research interests lies in the intersection of data science, machine learning and housing. He is developing a system to collect research data and use specialised computational algorithms to combine with multi-source data. This will result in one of the biggest databases of UK housing market studies. Yunlong utilises modern statistical and machine learning methods, industry grade workflow and best practices while developing quantitative academic research methods.

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Dr Nikodem Szumilo

Niko's research is focused on urban economics and finance and affordability is a key issue in both areas. He focuses primarily on empirical research using micro data. This includes housing policy impact evaluations as well as modelling the impact of proposed policy changes. 

Most of Niko's research has a spatial dimension and is driven by his keen interest in spatial economics. The main message of his research on affordability is that affordability is not only a matter of supply measured as the number of housing units but also of demand.

In particular, the distribution of demand over space, across different housing characteristics and from people with different means (income and/or wealth). His current research looks at the relationship between credit and housing markets and develops a structural model of a mismatch between supply and demand for housing in the UK.

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John Kelsey

John Kelsey trained as a surveyor in a London Housing Association learning the technical, financial and tenant relationship side of social housing. He has a long association with affordable housing both in the UK and the Global South. His practical work ranges from site management of post-disaster village reconstruction in South India to UK-based desk review of low-cost sustainable housing designs in Johannesburg for Engineers Without Borders.

He is investigating organisational learning in building design for health and safety. He has taken a particular interest in the Grenfell tragedy. He has done research funded by the UrbanBuzz and Grand Challenges programmes into affordable housing and stakeholder engagement in both inner city and heritage urban regeneration programmes, as well as the conflicting demands of affordable housing and second homes in rural areas.

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Lingshan Xie

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Hang Lai

Hang Lai has experience of working at real estate company as research analyst prior to his academic journey. Now, Hang’s research area lies in the real estate/housing economics and finance and adopt micro level data to do empirical research. Housing affordability is an important topic in his research area and he has done an economics analysis on affordable housing policy — Right to Buy.

Hang’s current research explores the long run discount rate using repeat sales housing in England and Wales to estimate the term structure of discount rate. This can show how households evaluate future cash flows at present value and it is helpful for policy appraisal and investment portfolio decision.

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Professor Yolande Barnes

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Dr. Richard Barkham

Richard is a specialist in macro and real estate economics. He joined CBRE in 2014 as Executive Director and Global Chief Economist. Prior to taking up his position with CBRE, Richard was a Director of Research for the Grosvenor Group an international business with circa $10bn of capital under management in real estate. He was also a non-Executive Director of Grosvenor Fund Management where he was involved in fund strategy, risk analysis and capital raising. Richard is the author of two books and numerous academic and industry papers. In 2012 he published ‘Real Estate and Globalisation’ (Wiley Blackwell, Oxford), which explains the impact on real estate markets of the rise of emerging markets such as China and Brazil. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Reading where he taught, in the Departments of Economics and Land Management, between the years of 1987 and 1998.

Pete Gladwell

Pete is the L&G Group social impact and investment director and was heading the Public Sector Partnerships for LGIM Real Assets prior to that. After an erstwhile life as a Youth Worker, Pete joined Legal & General in 2007, launching a new generation of property funds focussed on liability matching and Defined Contributions pension schemes, and L&G’s joint venture with PGGM, which total over £5bn.  In 2015, Pete moved to lead L&G’s investments with the Public Sector - including the Cabinet Office, Local Authorities, NHS, Housing Associations and Universities - which now total over £4.5bn. 

Pete holds an MA from Brasenose College, Oxford in Computation, the IMC, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and Honorary Professor at UCL.

Pete is heavily involved in local community projects in Harlesden, west London and a Trustee of the Young Foundation, which works to create a more equal and just society through social innovation.

Paul Hackett

Paul is CEO of Optivo, one of the UK’s leading housing associations. Paul is a former chair of G15, representing London’s largest housing associations and a former member of the Homes for Londoners Board. Paul is particularly interested in the funding and delivery of affordable housing and the role of resident engagement in the governance and management of social landlords. 

Paul is an Honorary Professor at the UCL Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction and a member of the RICS Housing Supply Group. He is an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Chartered Institute of Building and the Chartered Institute of Housing.