The hidden housing market: a new perspective on the market case for accessible homes

This research report by Habinteg and Papworth Trust highlights the hidden The Hidden Housing Market Report housing market for 1.8m disabled people. The new findings clearly show the demand for accessible housing to rent and buy.

Conducted by teams at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Ipsos Mori, this research uncovers a fresh view that challenges assumptions about the potential for disabled people to buy their own home.

The report also sheds light on the wider appeal of homes that deliver higher quality accessible features.

Key findings

  • 1.8 million disabled people have an accessible housing need – 580,000 of whom are of working age (there are 11.6 million disabled people in the UK)
  • Of the 1.8 million disabled people needing accessible homes, 56% are home owners with 39% having incomes in the top half of the income distribution
  • 19% of the British public would most favour moving to a different property specifically designed or adapted to enable them to live independently in later life
  • Impact of unmet housing need for accessible housing – disabled people living in inaccessible homes are four times more likely to be unemployed.

The research used in the report uses a mix of analysis of government data, in-depth telephone surveys and interviews with disabled people and opinion polling conducted by teams at the LSE and Ipsos Mori, as part of a programme overseen by independent researcher and adviser Martin Wheatley.

The Hidden Housing Market report includes four priority recommendations

  • Developers should look again at their target markets and products. Are they missing out on a significant market opportunity?
  • Developers, planners and health and social care commissioners should take note of the desire of the public to maintain independence in mainstream housing and communities as they age or develop needs for care and support.
  • Government departments should collaborate to investigate the relationship between unmet need for accessible housing and being out of work. As part of the government drive to reduce the employment gap for disabled people, understanding the fundamental role that appropriate housing play will be crucial.
  • Improving our national data resources is critical if we are to respond effectively to the nation’s housing needs. Disregarding the needs of families with disabled children from the official statistics is a missed opportunity to match housing need with accurate, evidence based plans.


The hidden housing market report [pdf] 2MB
Ipsos MORI research survey findings report [pdf] 2MB
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) research report [pdf] 2MB