News

Caution urged on government’s upbeat housing claims as figures show 2% growth

Government’s lofty ambitions of ensuring the UK is building 300,000 new homes every year by the mid-2020s is at least 15 years away, according to a housing expert.

This is despite housing secretary James Brokenshire welcoming the fact that 222,000 new homes had been delivered over the past year as figures show this only represents a 2% annual growth in new homes constructed. 

The latest comments by government have been labelled as misleading as of the 222,190 homes, only 195,290 are new homes with the rest coming in the form of conversions such as office to residential or houses that have been turned into flats.

Commenting on the figures, Russell Quirk, property expert and founder of estate agency Emoov.co.uk, "Whilst the increase in new homes delivered is of course welcomed, there is a huge dose of caution needed here before the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government reaches for the Bollinger in celebration. Year on year growth in supply has dwindled to just a whimper at just 2% and at this rate of growth the government target of 300,000 new dwellings delivered each year will take 15 years to reach"

However, the government has defended its outlook and said the number of homes built represents the highest level of new homes delivered across England in all but one of the last 31 years and brings the total number of additional homes delivered since 2010 to 1.3 million.

The government claims that targeted investment and planning reforms like removing the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap is freeing up councils to deliver a new generation of council housing – up to an estimated 10,000 homes a year.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “Today’s figures are great news and show another yearly increase in the number of new homes delivered, but we are determined to do more to keep us on track to deliver the homes communities need. That’s why we have set out an ambitious package of measures to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. This includes over £44bn investment, rewriting the planning rules and scrapping the borrowing cap so councils can deliver a new generation of council housing.”