However, despite the severity of the shortfall, which is approaching 1 million homes, it seems many do not feel it is an issue that is being taken seriously by politicians: only 48% expected the new government to treat housing as a priority.
Furthermore, only half of developers say they are building more new homes in 2010 than they did in 2009, a year which saw housebuilding rates at their lowest level since the Second World War. Of all the housebuilders polled, 94% feel that the authorities need to deliver more brownfield land for development, while 63% even feel it is time for the government to consider releasing greenbelt sites.
The industry is agreed that the bureaucratic planning system is in large part responsible. The Conservative party has proposed devolving responsibility for planning decisions to local communities. However the SmartNewHomes.com poll showed that, although 60% of people believe there is a shortage of new homes, only 50% would support new developments in their area. This indicates that the Not-in-my-back-yard attitude would prove a significant stumbling block to progress if the Tory proposals were implemented.
Dave Bexon, Managing Director of SmartNewHomes.com, comments:
“The SmartNewHomes.com consumer and developer polls show that while awareness of the housing crisis among the public is strong, the gap between the housebuilding industry and any new government is potentially set to get even wider.
“Housebuilders are desperately trying to meet public demand for new homes, but are being prevented by a politically-led planning system that is fraught with delays and red tape. We would encourage everyone to question their local candidates on their housing policies before casting their vote on May 6. We need new homes and we need to see every political party taking the industry seriously to prevent an already desperate situation worsening.”
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