House builders must treble build rates to dent 1m homes shortfall

Aaron Morby 8 years ago
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England is now one million homes short of the number needed to sufficiently house its population, the Home Builders Federation has revealed.

The housing shortage is now equal to the number of homes in Birmingham and its surrounding areas, a decade on from the Barker review of housing supply.

Since the report warned of the need for a step change in house building to avoid a crisis, an average of just 115,000 homes a year have been built.

This level is nearly half the 210,000 called for by Barker.

The HBF said today that if 1 million additional homes were built over the next 10 years, the programme would sustain 350,000 jobs a year and more than halve the social housing waiting list.

Based on Kate Barker’s original estimates and population changes since then, annual private housing starts need to soar to 260,000 to begin to tackle the shortfall.

To achieve Barker’s most ambitious objective of ‘Improving the housing market’ will require 320,000 private sector starts per year.

This is three times the number completed last year and a figure achieved in only four years since World War II.

To just slow down the rate at which households are priced out of the market, would require more than 200,000 private starts per year – a figure last achieved in 1973.

Speaking at HBF’s Policy Conference, alongside report author Kate Barker, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of HBF, said: “The Barker Review was a seminal report for housing and starkly illustrated the scale of the emerging crisis.

“Since then successive Governments have failed to pay heed and develop policies to deliver the homes the country needs.

“Whilst the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is finally starting to drive demand and significantly increase supply, we start from a very low base and the shortfall is huge.

He said “As we approach a general election, we now need to see all parties committing to policies that lead to a sustained increase in house-building.

“We have to build our way out of the crisis. Building the homes the country needs will provide the decent homes people deserve and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

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