England facing homes shortage on ‘epic scale’

England is facing an “epic” shortage of four million homes, the largest on record, according to a new report.

Terraced housing in the UK
Research conducted by Heriot-Watt University for the National Housing Federation (NHF) and the housing charity Crisis, concluded that England alone needed to build 340,000 homes a year from now until 2031 to overcome the current backlog and to meet future demand.

Housing shortfall in the England

The report said that the figure was higher than the government target of building 300,000 new homes a year, saying Whitehall’s estimates had failed to take into account the true scale of housing need.It also called for 40 per cent of new homes to be affordable with 90,000 of the annual build being for social rent, 30,000 for intermediate affordable rent, and 25,000 for shared ownership.“This ground-breaking new research shows the epic scale of the housing crisis in England,” said David Orr, chief executive of the NHF. “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 green paper will set out the Government’s approach to tackling a number of key issues, like stigma of social housing tenants. However, it is clear that many of these stem from a chronic underinvestment in affordable housing. Fixing this should be the government’s top priority. As a first step, ministers should make the £2bn they promised for social rent available immediately.”The research took into account homeless people, the ‘boomerang’ generation of adults still living with their parents, couples who would otherwise have separated and people in flat shares. Data was based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) population statistics, the English Housing Survey and other reports.Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said, “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.”James Prestwich, head of policy at the NHF, added, “Most calculations of how many homes we need to build are based on what we expect the population to look in the future. It’s a calculation that weighs up how many ‘extra’ people will need a home that doesn’t already exist. But if we only look at future demand, we won’t have any impact on this pre-existing backlog. This is why we have also calculated how many homes we would need to build to meet both future need and this existing backlog.
Related stories:

Government funding for housing

“Last year, the prime minister promised to provide £2 billion of funding, which she said could deliver about 25,000 homes for social rent over three years. That’s an average of about 8,000 homes per year – or less than 10 per cent of the amount we now know we need to build. As yet, the government has not released this funding, so we would urge them to do so immediately. “Then, ministers should talk to us about how to support the other 82,000 social rented homes we need each year. Obviously, funding alone cannot meet the scale of this problem, so we are also calling on the government to make big changes to the way it sells land.“At the moment, any surplus public land must be sold to the highest bidder, meaning that housing associations are often outgunned by for-profit private developers. The government should change the rules to make sure that public land is used for public good, prioritising affordable housing development.”A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said, “This government is committed to building a housing market fit for the future, with the homes our communities need.“We have a comprehensive plan to deliver this, including reforming planning rules and investing £9 billion in affordable homes. We are also allowing councils to borrow more and providing them with increased certainty over rents so they can build more homes.”For related news and features, visit our Residential Property section. Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

Related Articles