Government Fail To Meet 300,000 New Home Pledge
Despite insisting in the 2017 budget that the government intended to build 300,000 new homes a year to help ease the housing crisis in England, latest figures by the Office for Budget Responsibility have found that hosing stock in England is falling short of the 300,000 pledge by over 20%.
At current levels, the OBR claims that 233,430 new residential properties will be built in 2018, 66,570 dwellings short of the required amount. Further predictions have indicated that within the next five years this figure would rise to around 250,000 new homes per year.
The OBR commented: “While there has been some recovery in the pace of housing starts in recent years, it is difficult to distinguish the effect of changes in the planning system from the more general recovery in housing market activity and housing starts remain below their pre-2008 levels.
“Given this, we have not made any further adjustments to our forecasts at this stage. We will keep these judgements under review as the policies are delivered and new evidence becomes available.”
Although there are certain statistics that will indicate England will struggle to build the accommodation that it desperately needs, there are some that remain optimistic of finding innovative ways to improve the economy whilst also improving housing stock. Some believe that the answer lies in the wasted space above shops on the high street.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “It is estimated that as many as 300,000 to 400,000 new homes alone could be created by making use of empty spaces above shops on our high streets. This is space just waiting to be turned into residential accommodation.
“We would urge councils to take this opportunity to look again at how they can work with local builders and developers to make better use of existing town centre building, and facilitate the development of wasted space above shops.
“This will both boost the supply of new homes and help breathe new life back into our high streets. What we must avoid is perfectly good space lying empty and achieving nothing in terms of boosting the local economy or housing.”
As the ceremonial budget briefcase is placed back under the stairs of number 11 for another year, this huge shortfall will leave many pondering how such a lack of affordable new homes and a depleting housing stock will help to solve the widening issues within the housing market.
What will this mean for the housing market? Can the market flourish without these additional houses?