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The UK is in the middle of what many describe as a housing crisis.

Demand for homes has increased, fuelled in part by a rising population, but construction work has failed to keep up with the pace of that demand.

This BBC Briefing estimates that the size of the housing supply gap – the difference between the available stock and the number of homes needed for everyone to have a decent place to live – may be in excess of one million homes.

What to do about it is a question that divides policymakers, economists and the public.

There is no single easy solution – it all depends on your circumstances and where you live.

The situation is made more complicated because responsibility for housing policy is spilt between different bodies. And over the past 40 years, direct government powers to increase housing supply have given way to more private sector involvement.

At the same time, public awareness of housing as an issue is increasing. Homelessness and overcrowding are on the rise, home ownership has been declining and there is a shortage of social homes.

That’s why housing has been chosen as the third topic for the BBC Briefing – a series of in-depth online guides analysing the big issues in the news.

The housing guide aims to provide useful context, reliable data and evidence in one place, which you can read wherever you are.

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