A Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is a study of the way the housing market works in any particular area. It looks into the type of people living in the area, where they work and what sort of houses they need. The government encourages local authorities to work together on SHMA for their area.

Is there a SHMA in Dorset?

In Dorset the original SHMA was commissioned by the Dorset Housing Market Area Partnership. The partnership comprised a working group of housing and planning officers from each of the local authorities in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset (including all six District Councils) as well as representatives of regional government, neighbouring authorities, the Housing Corporation and other interest groups. The assessment was undertaken between 2006 and 2008. In 2015 the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Strategic Housing Group appointed consultants GL Hearn to undertake an update and review of the SHMA and housing needs data.

It was one of three pilot studies in the South West supported by the South West Housing Body. The SHMA identified two Housing Market Areas (HMA) in Dorset - the Bournemouth/Poole HMA which covers the six Local Authorities of Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset and Purbeck and the Dorchester/Weymouth HMA which covers the authorities of West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland.

Who did the work?

Much of the research work was undertaken by officers of Dorset County Council and partner authorities. A new study of housing need and demand was also commissioned. This work was undertaken by Fordham Research Ltd in 2007/8. The outputs can be seen in the suite of reports listed below.

Research compiled by Dorset Housing Market Area Partnership

Research by Fordham Research Ltd

How does the study compare with others in the South West?

The South West Regional Housing Body conducted research into the different SHMAs across the region. The aim of this research was to critically appraise the key findings of the different studies and assess how robust they were; to look at how the SHMAs were being disseminated and used; and to evaluate the quality of the different methods used to draw up the SHMAs and how these related to government guidance. One report gives a  detailed breakdown of each SHMA and another provides an  overview of the regional findings. Generally the Dorset SHMA came out well in the assessment.