South of England faces shortfall of 160,000 homes

Latest figures show drop in monthly housebuilding figures although levels still higher than last year
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By 2018 the South of England will face a  shortfall of at least 160,000 homes, according to new figures from Savills  who say that local planning authorities are not planning enough new homes to meet the growing housing need.

it argues that record house price differences between London and the South East will lead to increased demand overflowing into the Home Counties and further afield to Cambridge, Brighton, Reading and Oxford. 

The report says that local planning authorities should form an ‘arc of cooperation’ around London and work across individual local authority boundaries to help the housing crisis.

"Local planning authorities need to act with urgency and in cooperation with neighbouring authorities to plan for the scale of housing delivery now needed right across the South of England," said Savills Planning Director, David Jackson. "Currently planned targets fall well below the projected need, without accounting for the issues of years of undersupply at a local level.  Add to this the projected flows of demand from London and there is a real crisis looming." 

Most estimates suggest that England currently needs 240,000 new homes a year. Savills has identified particular hotspots where planned levels of housing are well below levels required each year including Brighton & Hove (700 homes),  Luton (500), Epping Forest (around 400) and Elmbridge (350).  

"The Chancellor’s recent commitment to a new ‘garden city’ in Ebbsfleet, with an initial 15,000 new homes is welcome, " said Savills Planning Director, Jonathan Steele, "but it is a drop in the ocean, the equivalent of just four months’ requirement for housing in London.  New towns or Garden cities alone are not a panacea."

Figures from the National House-Building Council indicate that house building is still on the up despite a fall in February

The number of new homes registered in the UK increased by 14 per cent between December 2013 and February this year compared to the same period last year, 29,557 compared to 26,004.

However, the February total of 9,484 registrations was slightly down on last February (10,538) which the NHBC say could be a result of the exceptionally bad winter weather.