Report also disproves claim that social housing drags down value of private homes - as long as it is well-designed

House prices in new developments are not diminished by the presence of social housing – as long as it is well-designed, according to new research.

Pepper-potting good-quality social units throughout a mixed-tenure scheme – rather than segregating social and private homes – do not reduce property prices and also improves an area’s social cohesion, it found.

The study, a review of existing literature, was carried out by the NHBC Foundation (the research arm of the National House-Building Council), with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The researchers found that developments which separate social and private housing suffer from higher rates of “negative feelings and division”.

They also found that high levels of privately rented properties can damage community cohesion because of the faster turnover of residents and poor maintenance record of absentee landlords.

The report’s authors argue that house builders and social landlords should consider a wider range of house types and sizes to stabilise neighbourhoods. This would encourage tenants to buy or those in apartments to move into family housing without leaving the area, they said.

Jane Briginshaw, head of design and sustainability at the HCA said she was pleased to be able to shed light on an important issue “and on some of the myths that surround it”.

“The report shows how integrated housing can increase social cohesion and does not negatively affect house prices when associated with high standards,” she said.

Nick Raynsford, chairman of the NHBC Foundation and a former housing minister, said the “unsound” assumption that people of different economic or social status should be housed in separate locations had led to extensive problems of deprivation and social exclusion on “sink estates”.

“The evidence does not suggest that there are immovable barriers to successful mixed-tenure developments, and demonstrates that fears that such developments will threaten the value of owner-occupied housing are not substantiated,” he said.

“It does point to the need for careful planning and good design to ensure the creation of successful communities and reinforces the case for high-quality management.”