Analysis of new figures published this morning by the National Housing Federation show that just 118,760 homes were built in England in 2014, more than a 120,000 shortfall on the 245,000 experts predict is needed every year to keep pace with new households forming. Since the last census in 2011, the backlog of unbuilt homes totals 515,340.
Despite growing concern about the housing crisis and sustained population growth, housebuilding hovers below the 125,000 mark for the sixth year in a row – the lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s.
The lack of supply is pricing many people out of owning or privately renting a home in their local area. Experts now warn that 78,500 new affordable homes need to be built per year yet just 25,100 affordable homes were built in 2014, less than a third of what families desperately need. The last ten years saw the birth of 7 million babies, more than were born in the 1950s when England was building an average of 230,000 homes a year.
Failure to build enough homes is already pushing prices up out of the reach; the average first-time buyer today needs £30,000 in today’s money, almost ten times the deposit required in the early 1980s. With soaring housing costs and not enough affordable homes being built, more government money is going into the pockets of private landlords as working people are forced to rely on housing benefit to help pay their rent.
David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said:
“The alarm bells sounded long ago, and yet nothing seems to have changed. For the sixth year a row, new home building is at rock bottom. The public are now thoroughly aware that this country is facing a housing crisis on an unprecedented scale and despite a spate of short-term initiatives there is no grand plan.
“If tackling the housing crisis is about anything, it’s about building more homes. It’s the lack of supply and failure to cater for demand, which pushes up prices and leaves needy people out in the cold.
“Unless we act now and building more housing of all types, but particularly genuinely affordable housing, we are in danger of making today’s housing crisis our children’s problem. That’s why we’re asking that politicians get their heads out the sand and commit to a long-term plan to ending the housing crisis within a generation.”
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