Department of Real Estate and Construction

REC Research Seminar – Build More, or Else? Exploring the Power Relationship between the State and Volume Housebuilders in England

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Housing is a critical part of every state’s infrastructure, but in most advanced economies the state no longer builds very much of it, leaving it instead to private house builders. Through exerting control over the supply of land and housing, private house builders have potentially major structural power over the state. At the same time though, private house builders are also tied to their land, limiting their ability to relocate capital elsewhere. Drawing on a range of secondary data sources, such as policy documents and annual reports, the purpose of this paper is to theorise and empirically document the power relationship between the ‘state’ and ‘house builders’. Spatially, our focus is on England, where housebuilding is increasingly dominated by a handful of publicly listed volume house builders (VHB’s). Temporally, our focus is on the decade from 2007 – 2017. Adopting this scope of analysis allows us to explore how the power of the state vis a vis house builders varies across different scales of government (e.g. central vs local government) and across different periods in the housing cycle.


Chris Foye is a Lecturer in Housing Economics at Henley Business School, University of Reading. His research interests are interdisciplinary cutting across economics, politics and geography, and drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods.

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2022-09-28 @ 04:30 PM to
2022-09-28 @ 06:00 PM

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