Housing in Northern Ireland and its implications for living standards
This paper aims to assess the sufficiency and affordability of housing in Northern Ireland and
the implications which housing costs have for living standards. Looking at supply and demand
there does not appear to be any misallocation between the regions of Northern Ireland in
terms of overall housing provision. However, in assessing the sufficiency of different types of
housing the evidence does show that there is a considerable shortage of supply of social
housing in regions where demand is highest.
In terms of affordability, on average, housing in Northern Ireland appears to be relatively
affordable. Yet, this paper shows that the living standards of particular groups at the margins
are significantly impacted by housing costs. This is particularly the case for low income
households in the private rented sector, who face a particularly high housing cost burden and
a high risk of poverty. The evidence suggests that the social rented sector should be expanded
to include these households, rather than seeking to intervene in the private rental market.