Strategic Housing Market Assessments

The core research services provided by JGC are in the fields of Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMAs), demographic analysis and Housing Needs Surveys/Assessments where Justin Gardner has 20 years experience and has worked on over 500 related projects.


Within an SHMA the key principles of JGC are to ensure compliance with NPPF, CLG guidance and particular requirements of each research brief. By underpinning projects with robust statistical information clients are able to confidently take forward findings and translate these into policy, and ultimately delivery.


The input of stakeholders is crucial for the successful completion of an SHMA. JGC have considerable experience in conducting stakeholder/community workshops and consultation - participants are encouraged to fully engage in each project. The success of stakeholder work is ensured by all key players having a detailed understanding of what the research is about and ultimately how the findings have been arrived at – stakeholders are also given significant opportunity to shape the research and to provide feedback at all stages of the project.


Although not all SHMA projects are the same we recognise that there are a series of core outputs which are required and we have developed an interactive model to assist local authorities to achieve the robust evidence needed and to readily (and cost-effectively) update assessments as the housing market changes. Our approach to SHMAs follows a well-defined and structured series of analysis with inputs from stakeholders and outputs from data modelling exercises being fed into the process throughout.





Demographic analysis (housing requirements)


Most published SHMAs focus largely on affordable housing needs and market requirements and do not assess overall scale of demand. Such studies do not fulfil the requirements set out in paragraph 159 of the NPPF which requires that the SHMA should identify the scale and mix of housing and the range of tenures that the local population is likely to need over the plan period which: – meets household and population projections, taking account of migration and demographic change’.


To ensure compliance with NPPF and drawing on Justin Gardner’s background in demographic analysis we have developed a projection methodology to fulfil the requirements of para 159. Whilst projections are demographically driven we also recognise the importance of aligning housing requirements and economic growth as well as any specific local constraints on housing development that might exist.



Our analysis will addresses the structure of the existing population, fertility rates and death rates. The critical component however is normally assumptions on future migration where we analyse past trends, components of this (in- and out-migration, domestically and internationally) and the age/sex profile of in- and out-migrants. Where we have undertaken similar work for other local authorities recently, the scope of scenarios has included the following:


  • Projection linked to SNPP
  • Trend-based migration
  • Zero net-migration
  • Zero employment growth
  • Employment-led
  • Housing trajectory


Our projections are based on independent local analysis and robust testing of assumptions. We would compare our projections with national projections from ONS and highlight and explain any differences.



The updating of SHMAs is an important part of the process and is one of the tests of soundness within CLG guidance. By providing all data in a user friendly manner and providing training in the use of such data it is possible for clients to update the models provided as part of the SHMA.

Alternatively, JGC can update reports cost-effectively on a regular basis (normally annually). This includes the updating of all demographic data along with taking account of how changes such as property prices and housing supplywill have impacted on affordable housing requirements.

In addition to providing desk-top updates of their own work JGC are able to offer an updating service based on previously conducted assessments by any of the main consultants working in the field of SHMAs. 

Survey data

Whilst we agree with the CLG view that a robust assessment can be carried out using secondary data sources there are some cases where the inclusion of a household survey within the research can help to improve the quality and coverage of a SHMA. 

A properly conducted survey can give a real insight into how different households act and participate in the housing market. A good example of this is to understand the housing aspirations of households claiming Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance) in the private rented sector – specifically finding out if such households are looking for a permanent solution in social rented housing or whether they would be expecting to stay in the private sector.


We have consisderable experience in setting up and running household surveys (through both face-to-face interviews and postal questionnaires) having conducted well in excess of 200 such assessments over the past 15-20 years.