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England’s ‘Broken’ Housing Market is Missing a Key Type of Property

Campaigners and government officials are pushing for a greater embrace of a style of ownership common in many other major markets.

Residential developments in the Wood Wharf area of the Canary Wharf district of London

Residential developments in the Wood Wharf area of the Canary Wharf district of London

Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Its residential skyscrapers stretch as high as Singapore’s, its prewar apartment blocks stand on par with those of New York and its row houses fetch prices that rival San Francisco’s. But there is something conspicuously missing from London’s red-hot housing market.

This missing piece has various names across the English-speaking world — from “condominium” in some markets to “strata title” in others.  The properties are known as “commonhold” in England and policymakers and advocates think filling the gap could fix a number of problems.