What’s behind the Housing Crisis?

Successive Governments have presided over a fall in England’s housebuilding programme, which has resulted in a chronic shortage of housing. Housing completions over the past few decades have declined dramatically, falling from a peak of around 350,000 per annum in 1968 to just under 125,000 for the year 2014-15, according to the latest Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) figures.

Figure 1: Housing Completions in England [1946 – 2012]

Source: House of Commons Library

Increased demand for housing in England will require 245,000 to 250,000 completions a year from 2011 to 2031, according to the Town and Country Planning Association. This rate of building would merely satisfy future demands for housing. However, housebuilding since 2011 has not kept pace with this minimum requirement, with an estimated under-delivery of 400,000 homes from 2010/11 to 2013/14 – meaning that the building rate is less than half what is required.

If the Government sought to alleviate strains in the housing system, the number of annual completions would need to reach 320,000 homes a year, according to the Home Builders Federation. This level of building has only been achieved in four years since World War Two.

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Daniel Mahoney, Tim Knox - Friday, 20th November, 2015