Housing Needs Surveys

A Housing Needs Survey (HNS) is one of the building blocks for most rural exception schemes. Local Plan rural exception policies require evidence that there is a need for affordable housing within the community.

Our HNS has two objectives:

  1. to quantify the scale and nature of need for affordable housing (and market housing) within the community; and,
  2. to canvas opinion from the community on the benefits of providing affordable housing for local people.

Our standard approach is to send a postal questionnaire to every residential address in the parish. We typically achieve response rates of about 25-30%. Our findings are integrated with the Housing Register data to provide a more comprehensive understanding of local need. We also review a wider range of published data to enable our findings to sit within the wider context of the local housing market.

A typical HNS questionnaire and results report can be downloaded below:

We undertake our surveys in line with national good practice.

You can read about our approach to handling the information we collect through our HNS’s


Our surveys are usually sponsored by one of our Housing Association partners. However, we also undertake surveys on a  full-cost recovery basis for other Housing Associations and private developers. In all cases, Cambridgeshire ACRE retains full editorial control of the report and we are also clear with the community who is funding the survey.

Communities interested in having a Housing Needs Survey undertaken for their parish should contact Cambridgeshire ACRE.

3 thoughts on “Housing Needs Surveys

  1. young people are struggling having to live at home with their parents, loving as they are, once they become adults there is a conflict of wanting to live their own lives their way and living in parents homes with their rules etc. It leads to tensions and rows but they don’t have ‘points’ built up and can’t afford their own homes


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