Housing shortage hits one million mark

Homes shortfall equivalent to the size of Birmingham says new report

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The Independent Online

Around 260,000 new homes need to be built every year to reduce the shortage trend, according to new figures from the Home Builders Federation.

Its report comes exactly 10 years since thel Barker Review of Housing Supply warned 210,000 homes a year were needed in England to prevent a housing crisis. Since then, an average of 115,000 a year have been built and the HBF now estimates the country is one million homes short of what is needed to adequately house the population.

The HBF argues that to actually improve the housing market situation, work needs to start on 320,000 homes a year, a figure reached only four times in the last 70 years.

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of HBF, said that delivering hundreds of thousands of additional homes over the next decade would also have a significant positive effect on jobs within the construction industry.

"Successive Governments have failed to develop policies to deliver the homes the country needs," he said. "While 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.

"As we approach a general election, we now need to see all parties committing to policies that lead to a sustained increase in housebuilding. We have to build our way out of the crisis."

Shelter’s Chief Executive Campbell Robb said: "The budget ignored business leaders, economists and even government ministers who have been calling for radical action to kick-start our economy by building more homes.

"Instead, the Government chose to extend existing schemes for first time buyers which have so far failed to deliver on any scale. House building is currently at its lowest levels for almost a century. The budget was a huge missed opportunity to build enough homes to make sure our children will have a stable and affordable place of their own."

Figures from the Office for National Statistics released today show that UK house prices rose nearly seven per cent in January 2014 compared to a year earlier, with prices paid by first-time buyers were 7.6 per cent higher.