Demise of the NIMBY: changing attitudes to building new homes

New research has found that since 2010, support for building new homes has significantly increased across all demographics, and support is strongest for building homes that local people on average incomes can afford.

3 February 2017

Local opposition to house building is often described as ‘NIMBYism’ – that is, ‘not in my backyard’. This research shows that this opposition is in decline, and that support for building new homes has almost doubled since 2010.

The report is an overview of the main findings of the housing module of the British Social Attitudes survey 2016, carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). The questions from this module were asked in England only.

Key findings

  • Overall support for homes being built in people’s local area almost doubled between 2010 and 2016. Over the same time, opposition dropped to almost half of 2010 levels.
  • People care about the type of homes that are built in their local area, and support is even higher for building homes that local people on average incomes can afford. Almost 3 in 4 (73%) of the English population support affordable homes in their local area.
  • Homes from social landlords have most support, with more than half (51%) saying these homes are most needed.
  • Homeowners and renters both support new affordable homes. This ranges from 68% among homeowners to 81% among private renters and 83% among social renters.
  • People of all ages support building new affordable homes, with support ranging from 70% among those aged 55 or above, up to 76% among 18 to 34 year olds.
  • Support for affordable homes is high amongst voters across the political spectrum. The support for building affordable homes ranges from 64% among Conservative identifiers to 83% among Labour identifiers, with LibDem and UKIP identifiers lying in between.
  • The majority of people in both urban and rural areas support new affordable homes. Almost two thirds of people living in rural areas are supportive (65%), rising to 82% in big cities.

Download the full report.