Figures released today by the Department for Communities and Local Government report the UK is building not even half the homes needed to ease the country’s housing shortage, even as millions of people are still in need of a home.
Annual housing starts to December 2011 reached less than 100,000, down by 4 per cent compared to a year ago – this despite the formation of about 240,000 new UK households a year.
David Orr, National Housing Federation chief executive, said:
‘These disappointing figures show we’re missing a real opportunity. Building new homes would tackle the housing crisis and, with rising unemployment and living costs, spur economic growth by creating jobs and supporting small businesses.
‘Affordable housing can also play a role in kick-starting the economy. As well as providing homes for people stuck on waiting lists at the lowest cost to the public purse, it also helps to tackle social deprivation and builds stronger communities. It’s a win/win for the taxpayer.’
Modelling by the National Housing Federation has shown that a public investment of £1bn - matched by £8bn from housing associations - would build 66,000 shared ownership homes for people on low to middle incomes.
This would create 400,000 jobs and, in doing so, save the taxpayer £700m in job seeker's allowance – including added savings from housing benefit and increased tax revenues.
Homeownership in England is expected to slump to 63% over the next decade - the lowest level since the mid-80s - and the average house price will rise to £260,000 in the next five years.
Currently there are 4.5 million people stuck on housing waiting lists and over a million children living in overcrowded conditions – all fuelled by the chronic under-supply of homes.
David Orr said: ‘The fact is the UK is building fewer homes than at any time since the Second World War. Housing must be treated as a top political priority.’
NOTES TO EDITORS
According to DCLG’s report, House Building: December Quarter 2011, England:
Annual housing starts reached 98,250 in the 12 months to December 2011, down by 4 per cent compared with the 12 months to December 2010.
For a summary of the report, click here.
Home Truths 2011, the National Housing Federation’s independently-commissioned report, forecasts that:
In England, the proportion of people living in owner occupied homes will fall from a peak of 72.5% in 2001 to 63.8% in 2021.
The average house price in England will meanwhile rise by 21.3% over the next five years from £214,647 in 2011, to £260,304 in 2016, according to Oxford Economics, who were commissioned to produce the forecasts.
To download the full report, click here.
The National Housing Federation is the voice of affordable housing in England. We believe that everyone should have the home they need at a price they can afford. That’s why we represent the work of housing associations and campaign for better housing.
Our members provide two and a half million homes for more than five million people. And each year they invest in a diverse range of neighbourhood projects that help create strong, vibrant communities.
For more information, contact Rob Szmigielski, National Housing Federation press officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org, or 0207 067 1146.
National Housing Federation
Tel: 020 7067 1146
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