Estate Renewal

Estate renewal provide housing and amenity benefits. However, their economic impacts are limited.

Evidence review

Summary

The review considered almost 1,050 policy evaluations and evidence reviews from the UK and other OECD countries. It found 21 impact evaluations that met the Centre’s minimum standards.

Evidence on impact and effectiveness is a crucial input to good policy making. In the case of estate renewal, of course, the main aims are to improve the quality of housing, rather than to grow the local economy. But policy makers often claim economic benefits for these interventions and so economic impact evaluation is important to understand if these claims are justified. The finding of little local economic impact should not overshadow the other housing and amenity benefits that come from estate renewal.

What the evidence showed

  • Estate renewal programmes lead to increases in property and land prices and rents, although not necessarily for nearby properties that do not directly benefit from improvements.
  • Estate renewal programmes tend to have a limited impact on the local economy in terms of improving income or employment.
  • Estate renewal programmes tend to have a limited impact on the local area in terms of reducing crime, improving health, wellbeing or education.

Where there was lack of evidence

  • We found no impact evaluations that isolated effects for existing residents. This means that the impacts above may be explained by changes in the composition of the neighbourhood (perhaps area level incomes increase because richer households move in).
  • There is little evidence on characteristics of schemes that might improve effectiveness or influence particular aspects of the local economy.

Below are some key points for policymakers to consider. You can also learn about our methodology and how to get the most out of our reviews by reading our guide.

Lessons

  • Economic benefits are not the prime justification for estate renewal programmes, but they are often cited as a benefit in the policy-making process.
  • As would be expected, investment does increase property prices. However, the impact on the wider economy tends to be small or zero.
  • It’s also important to distinguish carefully between effects on the local area and benefits to existing residents (who may be temporarily or permanently displaced as a result of estate renewal)

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