UK needs to build 340,000 new homes a year until 2031

May 21, 2018 / Isla MacFarlane
UK needs to build 340,000 new homes a year until 2031

New figures that reveal the true scale of the housing crisis in England for the first time have been published by the National Housing Federation and Crisis, the national charity for homeless people.

The research, conducted by Heriot-Watt University, to be published in full this summer, shows that England’s total housing need backlog has reached four million homes.

A new housing settlement is needed to address this shortage, providing a home for everyone who currently needs one, including homeless people, private tenants spending huge amounts on rent, children unable to leave the family home, and even couples delaying having children because they are stuck in unsuitable housing.

To both meet this backlog and provide for future demand, the country needs to build 340,000 homes per year until 2031. This is significantly higher than current estimates (including the government’s target of 300,000 homes annually), which have never before taken into account the true scale of housing need created by both homelessness and high house prices.

However, simply building a total of 340,000 homes each year will not meet this need – they will need to be the right type of homes. 145,000 of these new homes must be affordable homes, compared to previous estimates of the annual affordable housing need of around 78,000. This means that around two-fifths of all new homes built every year must be affordable homes – in 2016/17, only around 23% of the total built were affordable homes.

The new research also goes further than previous studies, breaking down exactly what type of affordable homes are needed:

  • 90,000 should be for social rent;
  • 30,000 should be for intermediate affordable rent;
  • 25,000 should be for shared ownership.

The social housing sector’s leading voices, including the National Housing Federation, Crisis, Shelter, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and the Chartered Institute of Housing, are calling on the government to use this opportunity to urgently redress the shocking shortfall in affordable housing.

This means that the Government must make ambitious, comprehensive reforms to the land market to help deliver more homes and make up this housing shortfall. This must include prioritising the sale of public land for social housing, as well as exploring ways to reduce the cost of private land.

David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said, “The shortfall of homes can’t be met overnight – instead, we need an urgent effort from the government to meet this need, before it publishes its social housing green paper in the summer.

“The government must also totally change the way it sells surplus land. The priority here must be supporting developments that will deliver a public good on public land, rather than simply selling it off to the highest bidder.”

Terrie Alafat CBE, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, added, “What the report also shows is that this isn’t just a numbers game and we have to make sure we build the right homes, in the right places and that people can afford them.”


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